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Beyond black & white

Reese, NOAH want H'w'd to stop portraying albinos as killers

Vail Reese says he’s not interested in censoring Hollywood, he just wants Sony and Imagine Entertainment to understand why “The Da Vinci Code” might offend certain groups.

Reese isn’t from the Catholic Church, or Opus Dei. He’s a dermatologist in the Bay Area who wishes the movie biz would stop portraying albinos as vicious killers, as with the albino monk Silas in “Da Vinci,” played by Paul Bettany.

Reese, who maintains a Web site charting the history of albinos in cinema, keeps in close touch with the National Organization of Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH), which asked “Da Vinci” producers to consider diverging from Dan Brown‘s bestseller and not make Silas an albino.

Imagine wouldn’t go that far, but NOAH was happy when producers decided not to make Bettany wear colored contact lenses to make his eyes appear blood red.

“In movies, they are always these ghostly, freakish characters,” Reese says.

Sony, which will release the pic May 19, declined comment on the concerns raised.

While albinos almost never played nice guys in films, thing took a turn for the worse in the mid-’70s, according to Reese, when an albino was an assassin in the Chevy Chase comedy “Foul Play.” Pic marked the first of a whole new generation of albino villains, in pics such as “The Firm,” “The Matrix Reloaded” and “Cold Mountain.”

Alas, the bar is going to be lowered even further later this year with horror-thriller “The Descent,” which features a group of albino humanoids who are cannibals.

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