Someone Edited The "Harry Potter" Movies So That Only People Of Colour Speak
BuzzFeed News spoke to Dylan Marron, who's highlighting Hollywood's problem with people of colour.
Marron recently edited the entire Harry Potter film series to further illustrate the lack of speaking roles for people of colour in Hollywood.
The entire Harry Potter film series is over 20 hours long, yet people of colour speak within it for an average of 28.33 seconds each.
In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), there are only four speaking parts for people of colour, making up 99 seconds of the entire movie.
"J.K. Rowling doesn't specify race for many of her main characters ... so why was every main character, the ones with true character arcs, played by white actors?" he said to BuzzFeed News.
There are only two speaking parts for people of colour in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), totalling just 17 seconds of footage.
Marron chose the Harry Potter series because he believes that the fantasy genre in movies is particularly appropriate for his Every Single Word project.
"[Fantasy] is not beholden to historical accuracy, so the argument that casting people of colour would be 'unrealistic' is rendered moot," he said. "I choose movies with universal themes that cast white people by default. And what is more universal than Harry Potter?"
If only people of colour spoke in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), the entire movie would be only 71 seconds.
The general reaction towards the project has been positive, although Marron said his Harry Potter series had "struck a nerve", and that some of the comments he's received are "even more defensive than before".
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) would be just over 60 seconds long if only people of colour spoke.
Marron told BuzzFeed News that commenters have accused him of calling J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series racist and are upset that the series is now "problematic".
Commenters have even gone as far as citing 1990s census data to suggest that there weren't that many people of colour then in the UK, he said, and that therefore the films should reflect that.
If only people of colour spoke in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), it would be a 38-second movie made up of Elarica Gallacher as Waitress and Isabella Laughland as Leanne.
"If we are making leaps to believe in magic, spells, potions, a train platform that exists only if you disappear into a brick pillar, wands, a sorting hat, dragons, Horcruxes, and Quidditch, then we can make the leap to believe that a person of colour could be part of such a story," he said.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2010) would be just under a minute long if only people of colour spoke.
"Also, as the films progress, there are more and more background students of colour at Hogwarts," he said. "The films present a racially diverse Hogwarts student body, they just don't speak that much or have any direct involvement in the story."
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010) would be 22 seconds long if only people of colour spoke.
"I love the series and I'm not hyperbolising when I say that I think the books have made the world a better place," he said.
"Through the universal story of Harry Potter and his adventures we are all able to understand more about ourselves and the world we live in. Why, then, when we watch the film adaptations, do only some of us see reflections of ourselves?"
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011) there are only three speaking roles for people of colour
Overall, Marron emphasised that it's OK to love something and still understand the problems with certain aspects of it.
He has edited many other films, including American Hustle, in which the speaking parts for people of colour make up 40 seconds of the entire movie, (500) Days of Summer, which would last less than 30 seconds if only people of colour spoke, and the biblical epic Noah, where there are no speaking roles at all for people of colour.
As he mentioned in a previous interview with BuzzFeed, he hopes that his Every Single Word project will continue to create important conversations about the representation of people of colour in Hollywood movies.