The J. Michael Straczynski Message Archive


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by J. Michael Straczynski (JMS).

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    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: B5 FAQL / Minorities in B5
    Date: 12/27/1993 12:22:00 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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I agree strongly with the points you raise. And that's something we
have been working toward in the series. We try to fill out background,
security details, business folks, travelers, and all the other divisions on
B5 with an equal measure of ethnic backgrounds, and we strive to make the
show 50/50 male/female. If you also look at our roster of regular and
recurring characters, that too is about 50/50 male/female. We've also
worked to keep that ratio *behind* the scenes as well...50% of our writers,
directors and crew are female, many in the latter category holding jobs
not traditionally open to women. And it's only served to make the show
better. Our casting director has strict marching orders that, unless a
script specifically calls for a particular ethnic background for a part,
that part is to be open to *all* backgrounds. So we see a mix for just
about every major and minor role.

And yes, there are some people with hot-buttons about caucasian male/
ethnic female relationships, and some with hot-buttons about ethnic male/
caucasian female relationships. I say a pox on *both* their houses. So
we're doing both. The Sinclair/Sakai relationship is an example of the
former, and we cast a dynamite black actor in a relationship story
opposite Andrea Thompson. The only thing a responsible producer can do,
I believe, is cast what's right for the story, for whoever is the best
performer, and if somebody doesn't like it, screw 'em. As someone at the
BBC once said, "There are some people we *want* to offend."

What astonishes me most is that, 25-30 years after Trek gave us the
first inter-racial kiss on TV, we're still discussing this and working on
this. We're headed for the 21st century in 6 years (well, 7 if you count
2001 as actually the first year of the 21st century) people...*deal* with

    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: B5 FAQL / Minorities in B5
    Date: 12/30/1993 9:53:00 AM  

Message 2 in thread 

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We're working on the variations within each race, not as throughly or
consistently as I'd like, but we're working on it.

As for the commander...I could answer your question in more detail,
but I can't without blowing a lot of what's being prepared. He isn't just
male by default, or by auctorial preference (though certainly I will be
putting in a lot of my own background into him, and into Garibaldi); there
is a very specific reason why he has to be male. As for being caucasian,
we auditioned from every group looking for the right person who did the
best job in the audition. He was the best for that part. That's really
about as deep as it goes. We were prepared to cast whowever walked in the
door and nailed the part. That was Michael.


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