Defaults Are Boring By Default

I guess I've been working myself up to this for a pretty long time.

Obligatory Disclaimer: I have nothing against straight white dudes. Some of my best friends are straight white dudes.

However, I'm honestly sick of seeing straight white dudes in the movies.

I think it's an established fact that main characters in movies aren't white, straight, and male out of any obligation to the plot in films that are not about race, sexuality, or gender.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

These two films were originally set to star white men, Tom Cruise as Agent Salt and Arnold Schwarzenegger  as Doctor Robert Neville respectively. With Angelina Jolie and Will Smith in these roles instead, very little changed. The movies still made a lot of money at box office, which is not surprising at all seeing as Smith and Jolie are two of the top box-office earners in Hollywood.

Heck, it could be argued that casting someone who's different from the gingerbread man starring in mainstream popcorn flicks might actually make the movie stand out from the crowd. I personally think that the reason Think Like a Man is presently out-performing The Five Year Engagement is because the former's predominantly black cast makes the pretty paint-by-numbers rom-com seem unique compared to a cinema's usual offerings. Movie tickets are expensive nowadays, and people will generally only pay up for something they haven't seen before.

Yet for whatever reason, Hollywood execs seem to prefer to stick to their default, which in their mind is unambiguously the straight white male.

Why am I bitching about this, though? I mean, aren't action movies supposed to be the lowest common denominator of cinematic fare?

In an action movie, does it really matter who stops the bad guys from taking over the world, walks away from a few explosions, and then gets the girl? Does it matter if the protagonist is white, male, and straight? Is it really so confusing if Spider-Man is played by an African-American? Does it matter if Chris Pine and Tom Hardy are both dating Ryan Gosling instead of Reese Witherspoon in This Means War?

Fun Fact: Hardy and Pine had way more chemistry with each other than either had with Witherspoon in this movie.
Short answer is yes.

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