Chris Rock, Idris Elba, and Jamie Foxx are allegedly competing for the leading role in an American remake of the hit French movie The Intouchables, which will be directed by Paul Feig.
Buzz has been circulating about who will be cast for the role that was originally played by black actor Omar Sy, who won the French equivalent of a best actor Oscar. Jessica Chastain and Michelle Williams are also rumored to be competing for the female lead in the Weinstein Company film.
Although the French film was hailed as a smash internationally and broke numerous box office records, many criticized the film for being racially insensitive. Variety writer Jay Weissberg argued the film dabbled in the worst sorts of stereotypes.
“Driss [the main character] is treated as nothing but a performing monkey (with all the racist associations of such a term), teaching the stuck-up white folk how to get “down” by replacing Vivaldi with “Boogie Wonderland” and showing off his moves on the dance floor. It’s painful to see Sy, a joyfully charismatic performer, in a role barely removed from the jolly house slave of yore, entertaining the master while embodying all the usual stereotypes about class and race,” Weissberg wrote.
Devorah Lauter of the Los Angeles Times adds, “This film dates to the 1930s, when it was thought the black man has no culture and spends his time laughing at everything,” philosopher Jean-Jacques Delfour said after reviewing the film for the French daily Liberation.”