When it comes to diversity, Hollywood has a rather poor track record. The entertainment industry has made a major push to cast more inclusive talent both on- and off-screen, and audiences have taken note. Most recently, Lucasfilm took up the issue with ease with their release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The sci-fi standalone featured a large ensemble cast with talent spanning all across the globe, and one of the stars is sharing how important representation is to audiences.
Over on Twitter, Diego Luna shared a touching post that a fan shared online. The Tumblr response was screen-captured and posted to Luna’s social media account where he told his followers he “got emotional reading” the story.
The story is a tear-jerking one. Tumblr user @riveralwaysknew wrote that she took her father to see Rogue One. Her father was off Mexican heritage and retains a thick accent, and the writer said she wanted him to hear Luna’s accent on-screen. After the movie ended, the netizen recounted that her father asked about Luna and why he chose to keep his accent. Afraid the movie may not earn much because of Luna’s presence, the father asked how much Rogue One earned, and he was stunned to hear its box office totals. The two then rode home as the father told his daughter about other Mexican actors who could do well in America. And, to finish, the post ended succinctly with “representation matters.”
Luna has spoken about his desire to bring more inclusive faces to Hollywood’s blockbuster, and he intentionally chose to keep his accent for Rogue One. Speaking to Variety last year, the actor said it is fans who have the power to encourage studios on matters regarding representation.
“I think these films that get screened at Sundance celebrate freedom and also the freedom of audiences to choose and to shape the industry. I think we have a responsibility as audiences; when we buy a ticket, we allow something to exist, we allow a voice to exist,” he said, nodding to films debuted at the Sundance Film Festival.
“I think it’s time for audiences to shape the industry we need and it’s always asking for the stories we want to see portrayed in cinema. Awards are always very subjective. You cannot take that as a reference of anything, but you can go and take as a reference what’s happening in the industry, where are people going and what films are being supported by audiences and that tells you a lot. And if we don’t like that, then as audiences we have to speak up.”
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set between the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and shortly before the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. In the film, resistance fighters embark on a daring mission to steal the Empire's plans for the Death Star.
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters today.