|Directed by||:||Alex Garland||Produced by||:||Andrew Macdonald||Screenplay by||:||Alex Garland||Based on||:||Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer||Starring||:||Natalie Portman Jennifer, Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson||Cinematography||:||Rob Hardy||Production company||:||Skydance Media DNA Films|
People Have Accused Annihilation of Whitewashing. Here's How Its Director and Stars Responded
On Feb. 23, the sci-fi movie Annihilation, about a group of scientists exploring a dangerous area where the laws of nature have been mysteriously suspended, hits theaters. An adaptation of the first novel in Jeff VanderMeer’s bestselling Southern Reach trilogy, the film stars Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tuva Novotny.
Anticipation for the movie has been high since the release of the first trailer last fall. But recently, some, including the advocacy group Media Action Network for Asian Americans, have accused the film of whitewashing the roles played by Portman’s and Leigh’s characters, saying the characters on which they are based are of Asian descent and Native American descent, respectively, in the trilogy. In a statement, Alieesa Badreshia, an MANAA board member, said that writer-director Alex Garland “exploits the story but fails to take advantage of the true identities of each character.”
Others have pointed out that revelations of the two characters’ ethnic backgrounds are not made until subsequent books in the series.