Shortly after announcing his plans to direct a movie about first U.S. president George Washington, acclaimed director Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave, Shame) revealed that he intended to cast Idris Elba, known for his roles in Pacific Rim, Thor, and the BBC program Luther, in the starring role.
The film, Washington, will chronicle the titular president’s life over the course of his eight years as President of the United States.
“I’m very excited for this project,” McQueen told us. “It goes without saying, this was a monumentally significant period in history, and George Washington was, and continues to be, a very significant figure. I hope I can do it justice.”
Following the announcement, the Twittersphere immediately went abuzz in confusion, outrage, and controversy. One person tweeted, “how can you cast a black man? washington was white #smh”. Another said, “damn hollywood. how u gonna change someone’s race? what if we did that 2 other races? they’d riot #hypocrisy”.
However, McQueen responded to this controversy, saying, “I understand it looks like an unusual decision. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t about casting someone who was the right race. We went with the person who was the most talented, the most qualified, and that just happened to be Idris [Elba]. I think people will agree when they watch the movie, he truly captures who Washington was on the inside.”
Washington is scheduled to release December 11, 2015.
I’m standing in front of my bed, laying out things on the sheet methodically. The rest of the room is chaotic – clothes have been thrown about to make space for my mini-clinic, banana peels flop like sad memorials to my effort to consume enough potassium, plastic seals from bottled water litter the bed, as do emptied sachets of rehydration salt, winking brightly with their orange wrappers. Propped up against a pillow is my phone, bearer of all-important internet-sourced knowledge, and the comfort of my husband’s voice. I am on the verge of laughing hysterically, because this situation seems utterly implausible. And yet it is not, and I am now sitting on my bed with latex gloves on, breaking apart a glass vial, filling up a syringe with medication, swabbing my skin with cotton turned purple by methyl alcohol solution. Tiny bits of glass explode, and I see a miniscule tear in the latex covering my left ring finger. My worried spouse has just been youtubing videos of how to give yourself an injection. I think wryly about all the times that the internet has really, truly come in handy. The syringe has bubbles in it, and suddenly I have a flashback to a random childhood memory, perhaps related to a cinematic moment, when my father told me that air bubbles can kill you if they are injected. I panic a little, but then realize that I won’t be giving myself an intravenous injection, and tap the bubbles carefully, squinting at the syringe until its contents squirt out like a line of pencil lead, hiccupping. I find the middle third of my right thigh, – the vascus lateralis muscle –stretch my skin, and take a deep breath. I have to push the needle all the way into my thigh, all one and a half inches of it, so that I can give myself an intramuscular injection. The plunger has to be drawn back so I know I haven’t hit a vein, but no blood comes up so I slowly inject the medication, pull out the needle, and let my head hang back. It is Wednesday morning, and when I open my eyes to let the sunlight bring me back to the room, my lover’s voice comes back into focus.
Fuck male privilege!!!! Fuck sexism!! Fuck that guy who asked me to name three players when I told him I was a Liverpool fan. Fuck the guy who kept telling me how I was turning him on by speaking his language. Fuck the guy who was antagonizing me with questions about my origin and called me rude when I didn’t want to answer. Fuck the guy who kept touching my hair without my permission. Fuck last night. I am so angry and upset right now.
Jumma Cricket. On Fridays,
the boys who go to madrasas to study roll up their sleeves, pile up the rocks to make wickets and play cricket before it gets too hot. #playgroundsofmumbai (at slumdogpauper khabootar biryani)
After my qualifying exams were over I just felt invisible all the time. Like no matter what I did, no one could see me.
Not much has changed.