Ben Affleck criticised for playing whitewashed Mexican-American character in Argo

From Digital Spy

Blade Runner star Edward James Olmos has taken aim at the whitewashing of Argo lead character Tony Mendez.

Portrayed by Ben Affleck in the 2012 movie – which he also directed – Mexican-American Mendez should've been brought to life by the likes of Ant-Man's Michael Peña or Andy Garcia, according to Olmos.

He recently sat down with Deadline to discuss Hollywood's approach to Latino heroes.

Photo credit: FilmMagic / Jason LaVeris - Getty Images
Photo credit: FilmMagic / Jason LaVeris - Getty Images

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"He should never have played Tony Mendez," said Olmos of Affleck. "He was the director and he should've either gotten Michael Peña or Andy Garcia, or myself, Jimmy Smits, any one of a multitude of people that can handle those roles.

"He said, 'Well, they wouldn't have made the movie if I wasn't playing the role'. Bulls**t. He was directing it, he wrote it. It won the best film of the year Academy Award, so what are you talking about?".

Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

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He continued: "Tony Mendez was a Chicano, a Mexican-American, born and raised in El Paso, Texas. Now, 99% of the people don't even know that. They have no idea that there was a Latino that did that [helped six Americans escape from Iranian capture 30 years ago], not even a little bit."

Bouncing ideas around for how Argo could've incorporated Mendez's heritage, Olmos suggested: "Just do one scene where somebody says, 'Hey man, let's go get some tacos, Tony,' and he's just looking at the guy and they start laughing. That's all you had to do."

Digital Spy has reached out to Affleck's representatives for comment.

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