*The Hollywood Reporter has explained that there are no actresses of color on its Actress Roundtable cover because there are none “in genuine contention for an Oscar this year,” unlike Will Smith and Samuel L. Jackson, both landed roles worthy of the elite’s praise.
Smith will play Dr. Bennet Omalu in the much buzzed about “Concussion,” while Jackson is being recognized for his role in Quentin Tarantino’s forthcoming “The Hateful Eight.”
The men appear on THR’s Actors Roundtable cover, along with Benecio Del Toro, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine and Joel Edgerton, in which they talk aging and racism in Hollywood.
Asked whether prejudice has affected their careers, Del Toro, who hails from Puerto Rico said:
“One of the first things that they said to me when I came here was, ‘Change your name.’ Maybe that’s one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever done, not changing my name.”
“My wife and I were just having this conversation, and we were going to the dictionary for ‘prejudice’ versus ‘racism.’ Everybody is prejudiced. Everybody has their life experiences that make them prefer one thing over another — it makes them prefer blond hair over a brunette; if you see somebody with dark skin walking down the street, you have a different reaction than you have [with] someone who is 5-foot-1 and white.”
“But there is a connotation with racism of superiority: You feel that your race generally is superior. And I have to say, I live with constant prejudice, but racism is actually rare — someone who thinks their race is superior. I don’t want to work for them. I don’t want to work at that company. And the times I have come in contact with it, you get away from those people.”
Jackson said that Tarantino’s admiration and overuse of the N-word in his films does not give him pause because, as he explained:
“It’s a movie. But, I mean, life is what life is, and in my world, it’s a pretty common word.”
Read more from their discussion here.