The blonde swift-footed Greek hero of the Trojan War — Achilles of Phthia.
In the Iliad he was a prominent Greek prince from Thessaly, born in the ancient city of Phthia. But somehow in the Netflix TV-series “Troy: Fall of a City” he was portrayed by David Gyasi, a British actor of Ghanian origin.
Yes! Let me begin by saying that I know that most of what Achilles is in Greek literature is most likely legend. But, he is still a Greek prince from Thessaly in these legends and epics.
And let me say this as well. I have nothing against David Gyasi on a personal level nor his acting. This post is not about him, nor about black actors in general, or about Africa and its diverse and beautiful people.
No. This has to do with all the race-baiting and unnecessary racial and cultural changes in historical and fictional characters to fit a modern “inclusive” Hollywood cast.
Why was Achilles, the main Greek hero of the Iliad, portrayed by an actor of Ghanian descent? People may say “the actor is great”, and that’s fine. Look, he could be the greatest actor in this world. But he’s still not fit to play Achilles however good he is. Because he clearly does not look ethnically Greek from Thessaly in any way shape or form. And yes, that matters. That matters in this very much.
Achilles bandages the arm of Patroclus, his most loyal companion
It’s like if I—an ethnic Persian—was to play Martin Luther King or Malcolm X in a historical film… Okay, maybe not me. I may fill in some weird politically correct “quota” somehow, because of the fact that I’m “Middle Eastern”, and the world needs to “pity” me.
Hmm. Well… Let’s instead assume some northern European actor plays a specific African historical or a legendary character with detailed African homeland, culture, traditions and city of birth. How would that play out on social media, amongst celebrities and the general sensitive outraged public, I wonder?
Where did this double standard come from? What are all these unnecessary quotas doing in arts, literature and cinema? This unprovoked race-baiting is honestly disgusting and has turned many people away from many TV-series, films and even books nowadays.
We could have Hollywood making great films, historical, drama, sci-fi, comedies, etc., in African settings and with characters of African culture and descent. But why take already existing characters and turn them something they are not? Especially when it’s only one-sided.
And no, don’t come at me with all that “Cleopatra was black, Hollywood is whitewashing African history”. No, Cleopatra was actually also of Greek descent. People need to brush up on their history. The same goes for Jesus Christ in film, Jesus of Nazareth was an ethnic Jew from the Roman province Syria Palestina who spoke Aramaic, he was not of African descent nor was his mother.
Africa as a continent is very diverse and magnificent in so many ways, with so many great cultures and countries, why not pick a great film idea from Africa instead of rewriting history. You have so much to choose from. Africa has plenty of untold stories that can be told and already-told stories that be dramatized on screen. There are plenty of good legends, myths and heroes in Africa, one can just pick one those and do it epically.
So why steal and change what needs not be reshaped? Hollywood is doing no one a favor, not actors and not the viewers. All these “outrages” taking place… I mean, it’s just comical at this point. I hope people wake up back to sanity again and we can all just be normal like we always been.