The typical hero of the silver screen is a male and Caucasian and heterosexual. And while there’s nothing wrong with creating a hero to this mold it isn’t exactly progressive either. The big problem with this is that the world is not 100% male and Caucasian and heterosexual. We are more than one gender. We are more than one race. We are more than one sexuality. Films and shows that do have characters living outside the mold tend to adhere to group specific agendas. Once again, this isn’t progressive.
Female characters are always a woman first. Many movies with female characters adhere to a female agenda. Movies about a woman being a woman with woman problems, not a very relate-able character to a full audience. Why not make women main characters to a full audience? Researchers in suits say that it’s just not possible. The TV show Legend of Korra is a children’s action cartoon with a female main character. This TV show blew up the cartoon industry. It was ridiculously successful. Yet this show may have never existed if it weren’t for the fact that the creators were already well established in the TV industry for the sole fact that there was a female character. The film Hunger Games also proves that you can have a female lead that would appeal to both genders. It’s because these movies/shows didn’t go for the “woman problems” but the human problems that men and women can relate to.
While Hunger Games is progressive for women it takes another step backwards with whitewashing. Whitewashing is a term used to describe selecting Caucasians to play what were racially diverse roles. The main character of the Hunger Games, Catniss, was described by the writer as “olive skinned with straight black hair.” The person that played Catniss in the film was Jennifer Lawrence. But Hollywood did not merely choose the white actor over the olive one it only allowed for a white character. For the casting of Catniss the studio advertised only looking for Caucasian women to audition. They might as well have put “Colored need not apply.” The movie 21 was based off the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team. The actual team was mostly Asian but in the film version the team was mostly white. They even changed the main main, Jeff Ma, to Ben Campbell. There is reverse whitewashing but it’s extremely rare in comparison. It seems like the only actors that have proved that the main protagonist doesn’t need to be Caucasian to appeal to all audiences are Will Smith and Dwayne Johnson. Other main characters tend to fall into the Black agenda, the Asian agenda, the Latino agenda, etc. There are exceptions but it is still ridiculously rare. It is still an enormous taboo to show interracial couples in film (for some reason more tolerated on television.)
Even more taboo is showing gay couples, unless the movie is all about “being gay.” Movies with gay characters are almost always about the gay agenda. The film Brokeback Mountain was fantastic but it was about being gay and prejudice the character suffered. Though it was an excellent film audiences are going to want more than that. People will want to see a character that saves the town, but is also gay. A character that slays the dragon, but is also gay. Very few movies have done this. Beating the gay agenda is a more common thing in television. A gay character might follow the gay agenda in a series but the writers know they can only take it for so many episodes before the writing becomes stale.