Typecasting is when the audience strongly identifies an actor with playing a certain role. It continues to become an ongoing issue in Hollywood among actors from different ethnicities. It is harder for black, Hispanic, Asian, and Middle Eastern actors to receive good quality roles because the film going audience wants to see them portrayed a certain way on screen. When an actor portrays a role that the audience can relate to, studio executives will offer them similar roles. One breakout role can work to their advantage and open up other opportunities to expand their range as an actor. However, at the same time, it can severely limit them to playing certain roles. As a result, it perpetuates stereotypes among a certain group of people that continues to this very day.
Let’s start off with black people. In the film industry, most of the roles that are offered among black actors are drug dealers, pimps, maids, butlers, slaves, and being “the angry black man” or “the angry black woman.” Hispanic actors are typecast as gang members, drug dealers, and day laborers. Asian actors are cast as convenience store clerks, computer geeks, or martial artists. Finally, Middle Eastern actors tend to be typecast as terrorists and villains since the September 11th attacks. One major similarity among these groups is that they continue to encounter racial discrimination in Hollywood.
Despite these challenges, they should unite and create their own opportunities among people that share similar struggles. The only way to break the typecasting process is for actors of color to invest their money and form their own production companies. Cooperative economics is the most effective way that actors of other ethnicities can overcome typecasting in Hollywood. Instead of waiting for the film industry to offer them quality roles, these actors should learn how to write, direct, produce and distribute their own stories. Though easier said than done, having ownership is one of the most important factors to creating longevity in Hollywood. If more actors of color learn about other aspects of the film industry, then they will never have to worry about becoming unemployed anymore.
Watch this YouTube clip below discussing the struggles for actors of color that remains prevalent in Hollywood: