Star of All White ‘Fargo’ Demands ‘Inclusion Rider’ for Hollywood Films

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Francis McDormand has great timing. In early March, after winning an Academy Award for Best Actress for "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," McDormand took the stage and called for an “inclusion rider." It's a clause allowing famous actors to demand diversity with the cast and crew of their films.

Inclusion riders are now the talk of Hollywood. According to the Hollywood Reporter, “an increasing number of production companies are saying they will adopt inclusion riders.”

It’s a good thing the idea didn’t inspire McDormand in 1996, when she won the Best Actress Oscar for “Fargo," a film comprised of an almost entirely white cast. Set mostly in Minnesota, with some scenes shot in Fargo, North Dakota, the film dramatizes a kipnapping and crime that is solved by a sheriff played by McDormand.

There is exacly one minority in "Fargo" -  an asian man whose pathetic character is used for comic relief.

There's another twist. “Fargo” was directed by Joel and Ethan Cohen. Joel Cohen is McDormand’s husband, and in a 2016 interview he blasted the idea of diversity in film just for its own sake.

When The Daily Beast asked Coen there weren’t more minorities in the cast of 2016's "Hail, Caesar!", Coen fired back with, “Why would there be?”

He went on: “I don’t understand the question. No—I understand that you’re asking the question, I don’t understand where the question comes from. Not why people want more diversity—why they would single out a particular movie and say, ‘Why aren’t there black or Chinese or Martians in this movie? What’s going on?’ That’s the question I don’t understand. The person who asks that question has to come in the room and explain it to me.”

The Coens were then asked, "As filmmakers, is it important or not important to consciously factor in concerns like diversity?"

“Not in the least!” Ethan Coen answered. “It’s important to tell the story you’re telling in the right way, which might involve black people or people of whatever heritage or ethnicity—or it might not.”


 

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