Have you heard about this one?
So Mae Whitman played the President’s Daughter in Independence Day. In 1996. She was 8. Now they’re making Independence Day 2 to come out next year, a full 20 years later. All bets should be off, cast-wise, 20 years later. Who knows who will be available or alive? But in this case, just about everyone is coming back.
Except Mae Whitman. She will not be playing the President’s daughter Patricia. Usually I wouldn’t blink as someone recasting a kid as an adult, but in this case, Whitman is a working actress. A successful current actress. But not the actress who’s going to play the role.
And it wasn’t scheduling, and it wasn’t budgetary. We know because who wouldn’t make room for a big summer blockbuster, and because if there’s any film that doesn’t have budgetary restrictions, it’s the aforementioned Big Summer Blockbuster.
Mae Whitman isn’t playing the role because the character is (allegedly) supposed to have a romance with Liam Hemsworth, and someone thinks Mae Whitman isn’t ‘traditionally attractive’ enough to play opposite him. And I know this because when Hitfix.com wrote an article speculating about this very thing, Whitman retweeted it. That’s complicity. She’s confirming this is what went down.
Here’s why this is bullsh*t. Even if this were a legitimate reason not to cast Whitman, which it definitively is not, because she’s an amazing dynamic actress who people love, she’s an actress who people love. With their dollars. The DUFF did big business for a tiny little teen movie, and people were not going to see that movie because of the box office draw that is Bella Thorne. There’s zero indication that the box office of Independence Day 2 would suffer because Mae Whitman isn’t tall or blonde.
Conventional wisdom says this sucks and it’s how things are and what can she do? But she’s doing what she can do. She’s not being quiet and sad in a corner, she’s making noise about it. Retweeting the article is noise. Anna Kendrick tweeted about the fact that it is complete bullsh*t, which is noise.
When stuff happens to you, and it’s not cool, and you know it’s not cool? The most feminist thing you can do is to make noise about it. Speak up. Use the power you have to get the power you want.
Attached - Mae at Forever Forward at the 2015 Digital Content New Fronts event last night with Mamie Gummer.