Like it or not, Paramount Pictures and director/producer Michael Bay are planning more Transformer movies, and they have assembled a team of notable writers to script the films (yes, people actually write scripts for these things).
However, when Bay asked college buddy and Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman to head up and build the writing team for the franchise, the writers he added were all white males, including Robert Kirkman (“The Walking Dead”), Zak Penn (“Pacific Rim 2”), Jeff Pinkner (“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”) and Art Marcum and Matt Holloway (“Iron Man”). According to TheWrap.com, that move didn’t sit well with some in Hollywood, who want more minorities hired for a movie franchise whose key demographic is white guys. Even though the Wrap writer (a white guy himself) admits to having a problem with the proposed reverse discrimination, his white liberal guilt seems to win over in the end:
One high-level agent who represents writers with a wide range of backgrounds expressed his disappointment to TheWrap about the current group’s lack of diversity: “I think it’s lame. Basically they hired four guys that are exactly the same, with the same point of view. What’s the point?”
Now, white males (like myself) have just as much of a right to earn a living as the next guy. To begrudge any of these writers the color of their skin would simply be reverse-racism.
However, it is concerning that with five opportunities, Goldsman didn’t go out of his way to look outside the box, even as complaints multiply about Hollywood’s lack of racial and gender diversity.
While diversity to correct obvious oversights is admirable, it seems the Transformers writing team is not the place to make this argument. First of all, every writer that was named is over-qualified to write for the film. I might argue it is beneath them to write for Transformers. They hardly displaced a more-qualified minority or female writer.
Second, exactly which minority screenwriter should they try to hire? Will Tyler Perry, Tim Story, The Hughes Brothers, John Singleton, Antoine Fuqua, Steve McQueen, or Spike Lee even want to write the films? Of course not.
Then again, perhaps there is cause for concern that there aren’t minority writers in the Transformers production offices. After all, the films did give us two robots (Skids and Mudflap) with characteristics most would find racially insensitive. They talked like urban black guys, and one even sported a gold tooth. Reno Wilson, who is black, voiced one of the characters. Tom Kenney, who is super-white, voiced the other. Remember these guys?
Paramount Pictures has announced that more writers will join the team, and word is those under consideration include a woman and at least one minority.
H/T: The Wrap