Minority actors in Hollywood are used to and most likely annoyed by stereotypical typecasting by now. Scandal star Kerry Washington and star and executive producer of “Master of None,” Aziz Ansari sat down and swapped their own typecasting stories in Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series, where Washington remembers being passed up for two roles for not being “urban” enough.
“Before ‘Scandal’ I was actually cast in two other pilots. Both went to series, but I was fired and recast. For both, it was because they wanted me to sound more ‘girlfriend,’ more like ‘hood,’ more ‘urban.'”
Obviously, the casting agents of the unnamed shows never saw Save the Last Dance or Washington’s first film, Our Song. Anyway, Washington says a few of her gay friends have experienced similar typecasting issues.
“I’ve had friends of mine say like they’re tired of ‘gayface’ and I was like, ‘What’s gayface?’ They were like, ‘It’s the gay version of blackface, like come in and be more effeminate.'”
Ansari addressed typecasting during auditions in an episode of “Master of None” called “Indians on TV.” He says he works to bring a level of authenticity to the cast on his show and he’s okay with the characters being themselves and dressing how they normally do in real life.
“A lot of other minority actors have told me, ‘Oh, this so rings a bell’ when you go into an audition room and you see a bunch of people that look like you and you just start feeling like, ‘Oh I’m not here [for me], I’m here because I fit what looks like the person they want in here.'”
Washington is no stranger to speaking out on issues in Hollywood. Earlier this year she fired back at Adweek for photoshopping her image on their cover. The full episode of the Washington and Ansari interview airs on June 12 and June 19 on PBS SoCal.