The actual facts of the story do not support the headline and opening paragraph of this Sony leak report in The Independent. My reading of the actual story is that Sony should be applauded for its decision to cast Denzel Washington in “The Equalizer,” despite the apparent belief that black stars in big films cost studios money at the international box office.
Sony leak: Denzel Washington should not star in lead roles overseas because the world is ‘racist’
Denzel Washington has emerged as the latest target of the Sony Pictures hack, with executives saying he should not get lead roles in international films because he is black.
According to the actual story, it wasn’t “executives” saying Washington shouldn’t get these roles because of his skin color, it was a single unidentified producer emailing Sony chairman Michael Lynton.
The Oscar-winning actor was the subject of emails sent shortly after the release of his film The Equalizer, with an unnamed producer telling Sony chairman Michael Lynton that they hoped the shocking comment was not “inappropriate or provocative”.
“I am not saying The Equalizer should not have been made or that African American actors should not have been used (I personally think Denzel Washington is the best actor of his generation),” wrote the producer. […]
“I believe that the international motion picture audience is racist – in general pictures with an African American lead don’t play well overseas,” the producer continued.
“But Sony sometimes seems to disregard that a picture must work well internationally to both maximise returns and reduce risk, especially pictures with decent size budgets.”
Radar Online is also blowing the story up but has no more information.
Whoever sent the email to the Sony chairman isn’t identified. For some reason, his or her name was scrubbed from the leaked emails.
Regardless, if black stars cost a studio money overseas and Sony went ahead with Denzel Washington anyway, this leak is good news for Sony. And after Sony chair Amy Pascal’s racist jokes about Barack Obama were revealed, Sony could use some good news.
Of course, if the “producer” who sent the warning to Sony ends up being a Sony big shot, that could turn into more bad news for the embattled studio.