Question of the week: should casting be colour-blind?

Thor

So this week, we have in the cinemas a movie called Thor, all about (Marvel’s version of) the eponymous Norse god of Thunder. It’s already got a lot of people worked up. We have the pagans who don’t think it’s a proper depiction of their gods for starters. But we also have the comics fans who are annoyed that Idris Elba is in it.

Now quite how you could object to Idris Elba being in anything, even Luther, I don’t know, because he’s awesome. But people are objecting that he’s playing a character who’s white in the comics.

Idris Elba as Heimdall


Heimdall in Marvel comics

So today’s not at all explosive question is

Should casting be colour-blind? Should you cast the best actor for a role or the best actor who also looks the part for the role?

For those of you who want to go to advanced classes, let’s consider the movie Suture in which Michael Harris…

Michael Harris in Suture

…and Dennis Haysbert…

Dennis Haysbert in Suture

…played identical twin (half-)brothers.

UPDATE: I’ve now included a clip of Suture so you can see what I mean:

As always, answers below or on your own blog

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