She’s not black ENOUGH.
There’s a lot of buzz around The Harder They Fall, Netflix‘s upcoming Western movie with an all-Black cast. This star-studded film includes Idris Elba, Jonathan Majors, and Lakeith Stanfield, playing real historical outlaws and cowboys from 19th century America. However, one casting choice is proving controversial: Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2; Joker) as Stagecoach Mary.
Born in 1832, Mary Fields is famous for a career she adopted late in life. At the age of 60, she became a stagecoach mail carrier, a dangerous job that involved defending the mail against bandits while driving across the U.S. She became an iconic figure both due to her adventurous lifestyle and her role as the first Black woman to take on this perilous job.
Beetz (who is 30) is obviously playing a heavily fictionalized version of Stagecoach Mary in The Harder They Fall, and while fictional historical dramas are nothing new, this casting choice prompted a specific criticism. Fields was a dark-skinned Black woman, while Beetz is biracial and has a much lighter skin tone. This led some viewers to accuse Netflix of colorism.