Project Greenlight and Its Problem With Diversity

This past Sunday, the new season of PROJECT GREENLIGHT aired and much controversy was created over a conversation between series creator Matt Damon and successful African American film producer Effie Brown. Their conversation launches about the portrayal of the only black person in the script of the film that they are making – a hooker who is beat by her white pimp. Matt Damon shuts her down, commenting that the diversity should be shown in the “casting of the film, not the casting of the show.” (The show being, of course, PROJECT GREENLIGHT.)

So let’s step back for a second. There is zero diversity in the television show at this point, minus Effie. Every finalist but one is a white male (the other finalist is a white female). Also, it’s kind of alarming that they’re saying that there shouldn’t be someone diverse in the making of the movie being the way that Hollywood politics have been playing out in the last few years. There is a reason why FURIOUS 7 and STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON have been big money makers and a lot of it has to do with an increased ethnic audience through the participation of a diverse cast. Just this past Sunday, THE PERFECT GUY, a film made mostly by African American actors and written by an African American screenwriter, grossed 25 million dollars off of its miniscule 12 million dollar budget. And if we are looking at films where females are being represented in a much better, more developed light, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, INSIDE OUT, and THE HUNGER GAMES series is evidence that more audience want to see females with a greater purpose than just objects for males. We need to start viewing diversity in film as a bigger issue.

Also, I don’t think no one in the television show really likes the script of the film that they are making anyway, so this may just be making for some better trash television.