I thought of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” this week when it was announced that Scarlett Johansson would be playing the part of a transgender man, Dante Gill, in a film called “Rub and Tug.” There has been a heartfelt cry of protest from the trans community.
I once watched a play set in 19th-century where a Russian slave-owner was played by a black actor. It was a completely realist rendering otherwise, and I’ve got to say, it felt bizarre given that the play was about the consequences of abolishing serfdom in tsarist Russia. But people explained that this was a convention in American theater. People get hired for roles irrespective of their identity as human beings.
Nobody is hiring the multitude of struggling Russian actors in the US – some of them incredibly talented – to play in renderings of Chekhov, for instance. And there’s no outcry and no weepy pieces in NYTIMES.
Shit, we, the Russian-speakers, can never sell ourselves as convincing victims. We are failures even at this nifty little cottage industry.