Tim Burton offered a vague explanation of the lack of people of color in the ensemble cast of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” the adaptation of Ransom Riggs’ best-seller of the same name that hits theaters this weekend.
“Nowadays, people are talking about it more,” Burton told Bustle in response to a question about the lack of diversity. “Things either call for things, or they don’t. I remember back when I was a child watching ‘The Brady Bunch’ and they started to get all politically correct, like, ‘Okay, let’s have an Asian child and a black’ – I used to get more offended by that than just – I grew up watching blaxploitation movies, right? And I said, that’s great. I didn’t go like, ‘Okay, there should be more white people in these movies.'”
Samuel L. Jackson stars in the movie, and is perhaps the most predominately featured person of color in all of the 36 Burton-directed films. As Bustle notes, Billy Dee Williams was featured in 1989’s “Batman” and Michael Clarke Duncan was in 2001’s “Planet of the Apes,” both only in supporting roles. Jackson told the publication that he did indeed “notice” the lack of diversity in “Miss Peregrine,” but it obviously didn’t keep him from taking the role.
“I had to go back in my head and go, how many black characters have been in Tim Burton movies?” he said. “And I may have been the first, I don’t know, or the most prominent in that particular way, but it happens the way it happens. I don’t think it’s any fault of his or his method of storytelling, it’s just how it’s played out. Tim’s a really great guy.”
Reviews for Burton’s next outing have been mixed. In his review, Variety‘s Peter Debruge said, “There’s nothing forced about the coupling of Ransom Riggs’ surprise best-seller with Burton’s playfully nonthreatening goth aesthetic and outsider sensibility, which should put the director back on the blockbuster charts.” Indeed, the fantasy is tracking to open at No. 1 at the box office, topping fellow newcomer “Deepwater Horizon.”
“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” which also stars Eva Green, Judi Dench, and Asa Butterfield, will be released on Friday.