Wednesday, April 17, 2024

#HollywoodSoWhite: “The Intern” Doesn’t Have One Black Actor Except Robert De Niro’s Stepdaughter


Well, I just finally watched Nancy Meyers’ charming all-white fantasy, “The Intern.” Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway are lovely, Rene Russo was a welcome surprise. Anders Holm is fine as Anne’s house husband.

But if you want to know why #Oscarsowhite exists, “The Intern” is the reason. There isn’t a single black person in it except for Drena De Niro, Robert De Niro’s stepdaughter — and in a minor role.

The movie is set in Brooklyn, where I am sure I have seen black people in the past. Anne Hathaway runs a big internet company that sells some kind of clothes– they fit you, I don’t know. She has 216 people working for her in this company and not one of them is black– not her assistant, or the three other “interns” who come in with DeNiro, not the Andrew Rannells character who’s her second in command, not even her driver, whom De Niro dismisses.

Why are black actors fed up? “The Intern” is why. I’ve worked in a few offices in New York City in the last couple of decades. I have never seen an office as white as Anne Hathaway’s in that movie. It’s not unrealistic, it’s insulting. I know Nancy Meyers is famous for constructing these upper middle class Anglo fantasies. But really.

If Hollywood is going to change, then it’s not when the movies get to Oscar season. It’s when they are made. Casting directors, studio executives, directors, must make an effort to integrate their movies. And don’t tell me there are black actors for these roles. I will send you five for each of those supporting roles right now.

PS. Good lord: Anne and Anders live in a $5 million townhouse. So does Robert De Niro’s character, a retired middle manager who used to sell ads for the Yellow Pages. And his house looks like it was decorated by Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn. LOL. They should have called it “Miracle on Montague Street.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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