I recently read The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey, liked it a lot, and learned that a film adaptation called “She Who Brings Gifts” would be coming out this year. Needless to say, I was very excited.
HOWEVER. When I looked up some more details about the film today, I discovered that Gemma Arterton has been cast to play Miss Justineau.
Now, while I'm sure that Gemma Arterton is a great actress and a lot of other things besides, there's one thing she's decidedly not, and that's black. Helen Justineau, on the other hand, is a woman of colour. And not in a "she might be black because it doesn't explicitly say she's white" (a.k.a. Hermione) kind of way, but in an extremely obvious, canonical way:
"Although Miss Justineau's face stands out anyway because it's such a wonderful, wonderful colour. It's dark brown, like the wood of the trees in Melanie's rainforest picture whose seeds only grow out of the ashes of a bushfire, or like the coffee that Miss Justineau pours out of her flask into her cup at break time. "
Can we please stop doing this?
Yes, I'm aware that Sennia Nanua has been cast as canonically white (ghostly pale, even) Melanie, and while I think that's cool, it doesn't really change my opinion on the Arterton/Justineau situation. It's almost as if the casting directors went "oh, OK, we have one POC in the cast now - that should do it!".
Not cool. Representation is important.