If the #MeToo movement, Time’s Up, and the recent BLM protests have proven anything over the past several years, it’s that society can be a pretty terrible place for those who are women and People of Color. And in the case of Thandie Newton, a Golden Globe-nominated actress, she’s apparently had to face issues due to both her ethnicity and her gender, as she revealed in a new, incredible interview over at Vulture. If nothing else, her stories make the already cringeworthy “Charlie’s Angels” film from 2000 even worse, in retrospect.
Speaking to Vulture, Newton discussed how being a Black woman in Hollywood has been difficult, despite her seemingly having quite a bit of popularity and immense talent. Particularly, she told a story about a meeting for “Charlie’s Angels,” the 2000 reboot of the classic TV series. She explained that the meeting would have gone fine if not for one studio executive, Amy Pascal, insisting Newton should play up the racial aspects of the character.
Newton explained the “Charlie’s Angels” meeting:
“I had a meeting with her, and she said, ‘Look, I don’t mean to be politically incorrect, but the character as written and you playing the role, I just feel like we’ve got to make sure that it’s believable.’ I was like, ‘What do you mean? What changes would you have to make?’ She’s like, ‘Well, you know, the character, as written, she’s been to university and is educated.’ I’m like, ‘I’ve been to university. I went to Cambridge.’ She went, ‘Yeah, but you’re different.’ She’s like, ‘Maybe there could be a scene where you’re in a bar and she gets up on a table and starts shaking her booty.’ She’s basically reeling off these stereotypes of how to be more convincing as a Black character. Everything she said, I was like, ‘Nah, I wouldn’t do that.’ She’s like, ‘Yeah, but you’re different. You’re different.’ That was Amy Pascal. That’s not really a surprise, is it? Let’s face it: I didn’t do the movie as a result.”
Vulture spoke with Pascal about the description of the meeting by Newton and the former studio head said she was “horrified to hear” the story and said, “While I take her words seriously, I have no recollection of the events she describes, nor do any of her representatives who were present at that casting session. I’ve long considered Thandie a friend; I’m thankful that I’ve had the chance to make movies with her; and I hope to work with her again in the future.”
Of course, as we know, “Charlie’s Angels” would go on to star Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu. It’s assumed that Newton would have played Liu’s character in the film. And as is clear from the finished product, Liu would use Asian stereotypes in the feature.
The film would go on to be a big hit, spawning an even worse sequel. The “Charlie’s Angels” franchise would then later be rebooted last year with a whole new cast.