Sharon Duncan-Brewster, who figures prominently in the newly released sci-fi picture ‘Dune,’ was featured alongside other cast members in the film’s posters. However, the actress is not featured in the new poster created for the Chinese market. The Trinidadian actress was born in the United Kingdom. Sharon stars as Dr. Liet Kynes, an ecologist-turned-diplomat in Denis Villeneuve’s latest film, which is based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel. The actress is prominently featured on the film’s UK and US billboards, but she has been omitted from Chinese promotion, as per reports.
The China Africa Project, a US-based initiative that strives to investigate “all facets of China’s connection with Africa,” pointed out Sharon’s removal from the billboard. The image has been ‘airbrushed’ to remove Sharon Duncan-Brewster, according to a tweet. The new move was termed a “smear” by Chinese state media.
It’s unclear whether the new poster was created by Warner Bros. or Legendary East, the Chinese distribution company. Both companies have yet to reply to the situation. This isn’t the first time Hollywood has made racist changes to Chinese posters. John Boyega, a black actor, was substantially reduced in size in a Chinese advertisement six years ago in the film, ‘Star Wars The Force Awakens.
Boyega, who played the main role of Finn in the upcoming Star Wars film, was featured in the Chinese poster far less prominently in 2015. Racism has been leveled at the move. Other characters such as Chewbacca and Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron were also absent, and the Chinese version’s droid BB-8 was substantially larger. In fact, Hollywood has been accused of altering its films to appease Chinese officials.
Marvel was accused of ‘whitewashing’ a Tibetan figure from its 2016 film ‘Dr. Strange’ in 2020, allegedly due to concerns that it would hinder the film’s chances in China. Tilda Swinton, a British actress, was cast as the character.