Disney and Pixar are continuing to weather the storm of hiring white actors to do the dubs for Soul‘s international releases.
As we recently reported, a group of Black Portuguese actors and creators rallied together to write an open letter to Disney, protesting the use of white Portuguese actors for Soul‘s Portuguese dub. Now, according to Indiewire, more actors are voicing their frustration with Black actors in other countries being overlooked. The outlet reports that according to The New York Times, the hiring of Danish actor Nikolaj Lie Kaas to voice Jamie Foxx’s Joe Gardner has led to Danish activists and scholars calling the casting “an example of structural racism.”
The group of activists and scholars were interviewed for an article from Danish newspaper Berlingske, prompting Lie Kaas to respond as to why he took the role. According to Lie Kaas’ response on Facebook, he took the role because he believes “the man or woman who can perform the work in the best possible way [gets] the job.”
This response goes against what Danish activist Asta Selloane Sekamane told Berlingske, saying, “[N]o one can claim there wasn’t enough Black talent to fill the main roles, because actors of color were hired to voice some of the minor parts. It can’t be the constant excuse, this idea that we can’t find people who live up to our standards. That’s an invisible bar that ties qualification to whiteness.”
Germany is also facing its own controversy with white actors dubbing Soul‘s Black characters, with German dubbing artist Charles Rettinghaus playing Joe. According to Indiewire, Rettinghaus said, “It doesn’t matter if you are Black, you should be and are allowed to dub anything. Why shouldn’t you play a white actor or an Indian actor?”
Rettinghaus’ fellow Soul castmember, Kaze Uzumaki, a Black voice actor who is playing Daveed Diggs’ character Paul, told The Times that the idea that actors of any race can dub characters of other races is okay in theory, racial discrimination often plays a part in who gets cast. He said while he is always hired to play other characters of color, he never gets the opportunity to play white characters.