Let’s talk about a director you may know from a pop culture film he didn’t direct, Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas. Tim Burton may be ‘a really great guy’ as put by Samuel L. Jackson himself, but there is an issue with his movies.
There’s barely any diversity in his films, and trust me I watched nearly all of them in a marathon looking. The only two black actors in supporting roles were Billy Dee Williams in 1989’s Batman and Michael Clarke Duncan was in 2001’s Planet of the Apes. Indeed, this makes Samuel L. Jackson in 2016’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children the only black lead actor in a Burton film since Ken Page in 1993 as Oogie Boogie. Which again, he served as producer, so he wasn’t in charge of the cast… but there is a pattern, all of them play villains (except for Billy Dee because he was replaced by Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever, before his character became Two Face, after Burton was let go as director and transitioned to producer).
The most featured time by a person of color may be Deep Roy as the Oompa Loompas in 2005’s Charlie and he Chocolate Factory. Deep Roy also holds the title as the only person of color to play more than one supporting role in Burton films.
Of course, we should hear his own justification from a recent interview, which differs from director Ridley Scott’s hiring ‘Mohammad so-and-so’ doesn’t make money.
Update: Here’s an Open Letter to Tim Burton from a Black Fangirl: “Nothing is more boring, more common, more bland and expected than an old white guy who acts like people wanting to see themselves reflected in media is an nuisance.”
Now he is in the line of fire by fans in Twitter, but before you think of defending how he casts ask yourself:
Can you recall ever seeing a Latino/a in one of the 23 films he has directed?