Ari Handel, co-screenwriter of the movie “Noah,” on why the cast was all-white:
From the beginning, we were concerned about casting, the issue of race. What we realized is that this story is functioning at the level of myth, and as a mythical story, the race of the individuals doesn’t matter. They’re supposed to be stand-ins for all people. Either you end up with a Bennetton ad or the crew of the Starship Enterprise.
You either try to put everything in there, which just calls attention to it, or you just say, “Let’s make that not a factor, because we’re trying to deal with everyman.” Looking at this story through that kind of lens is the same as saying, “Would the ark float and is it big enough to get all the species in there?” That’s irrelevant to the questions because the questions are operating on a different plane than that; they’re operating on the mythical plane.
Because white people are “stand-ins for all people.” White people are “everyman.” Whereas people of color or a mixed-race cast “calls attention” to race.
He actually said this. In words.
Jesus. Fucking. Christ.
In case you were in any doubt about how whiteness is seen as normal and default, and non-whiteness is seen as other: This.
You know what? If the issue of race “doesn’t matter” and is “irrelevant,” then why not make a mixed-race cast? If it doesn’t matter, then how about not being a racist douchebag?
And the thing that really gets to me — well, a thing that really gets to me — is that they actually thought about this. This wasn’t just generic, unconscious, reflexive racism of thoughtless omission. They actually considered this question carefully — and after this careful consideration, decided to make white people the mythical, iconic stand-ins for all of humanity.
Oh, and for the record: There are, in fact, people who find mixed casts to be, you know, representative of humanity, and who find all-white casts distracting and weird.