"Nowadays, people are talking about it more," Burton told Bustle of onscreen diversity

By Michael Miller
September 29, 2016 03:30 PM
Jim Spellman/WireImage

Tim Burton is speaking out about his decision to cast predominantly white actors in his new film, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children.

“Nowadays, people are talking about it more,” he told Bustle in regards to onscreen diversity. “Things either call for things, or they don’t. I remember back when I was a child watching The Brady Bunch and they started to get all politically correct, like, Okay, let’s have an Asian child and a black – I used to get more offended by that than just – I grew up watching blaxploitation movies, right? And I said, that’s great. I didn’t go like, Okay, there should be more white people in these movies.”

The film, based on Ransom Riggs’ 2011 best-seller of the same name, tells the story of an orphanage for supernaturally gifted children, and features a large ensemble cast of both children and adults. The only actor of color in a notable role is Samuel L. Jackson, who plays the film’s villain.

While Jackson told Bustle he “noticed” the lack of diversity, it did not deter him from participating in the film. “I had to go back in my head and go, how many black characters have been in Tim Burton movies?” Jackson said.

“And I may have been the first, I don’t know, or the most prominent in that particular way, but it happens the way it happens. I don’t think it’s any fault of his or his method of storytelling, it’s just how it’s played out. Tim’s a really great guy,” he added.

Out of Burton’s 36 directing credits, Jackson is seemingly the only African-American actor cast in a notable role. Bustle notes that Billy Dee Williams’ Harvey Dent in 1989’s Batman and Michael Clarke Duncan’s Colonel Attar in 2001’s Planet of the Apes were both listed as supporting parts.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, and Judi Dench, hits theaters Friday.

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