Last week, the big story was the “Native American Cultural Advisor” walking off the set of Adam Sandler’s latest movie for Netflix (The Ridiculous Six), allegedly because the film’s producers refused to address concerns that the movie was offensive to Native Americans. Netflix responded, saying the film was intended “to be a satire of Westerns and the stereotypes popularized in the genre.” And it’d be much easier to give them the benefit of the doubt on that if Happy Madison had ever done satire before.
Since then, a video (taken by Goldie Tom and broken by Indian Country Today) has surfaced (above) of a producer confronting a group of actors, at one point saying “if you’re overly sensitive you should probably leave” and “I appreciate [your concerns], but we’re not going to change ‘Beaver Breath.’ That’s going in the movie.”
Not having read the entire script, you have to sympathize with both groups here. The actors want assurances that they’re not going to look like redface caricatures in the movie (all actors have to put an inordinate amount of trust in their filmmakers, but especially ones who have to represent a minority community), and the producers can’t exactly let extras try to rewrite their script by committee (the manatee union would be pissed). It’s hard to get much out of the video, which mostly consists of a bunch of people talking at the same time, but it sounds like the film’s cultural advisor walked (whether because of genuine offense or personal slight, hard to say) and the actors are trying to figure out why. Meanwhile, the producers, who most likely just handle logistics and couldn’t give two sh*ts about the actual content of the film, are trying not to lose a day of shooting.
Incidentally, Gawker has a few excerpts from the script, and nothing about it sounds remotely like “satire.”
Character Will Patch says to Sits-on-Face in the script, “Say honey: how about after this, we go someplace and I put my peepee in your teepee?”
In a dialogue between characters Cicero and Sits-On-Face, Cicero begins, “So why don’t you give me the money you stoled, and we’ll be on our way,” to which Sits-on-Face replies, “You go now!” Cicero then tells her to sit down and calls her “Strawberry Tits.” Sits-On-Face replies, “My name not Strawberry Tits. I am Sits-on-Face,” and Cicero says back, “Well then I’m Stiff-in-Pants!” [THR]
Yep. Whatever the case, the way Hollywood Reporter introduces Vanilla Ice into the story should be in a museum:
Rapper Vanilla Ice, who is part Choctaw Indian and plays Mark Twain in the film, defended the film, telling TMZ…
That’s so beautiful. Here’s what he said:
“It’s a comedy,” he said. “I don’t think anybody really had any ill feeling or any intent or anything. This movie isn’t [Dances] With Wolves — it’s a comedy. They’re not there to showcase anything about anybody — they’re just making a funny movie.”
“I am part Choctaw Indian, so I see both sides,” he added.
See, we all just need to calm down and listen to Vanilla Ice. He’s wise, because he plays Mark Twain in an Adam Sandler movie, and sensitive to the plight of the downtrodden, because he’s also 1/16th Choctaw. He is… Vanilla Ice: Unlikely Cultural Ambassador.
I’m surprised no one has bothered asking Nick Nolte about his, who’s also in the film. He’s not Native American, but he does wear a necklace made of boar tusks. Most of them he found embedded in his skin after nights of drinking.