Even before successfully reinvigorating perhaps the two most celebrated sci-fi franchises of all time — Star Trek and Star Wars — J.J. Abrams was a very well-respected figure in Hollywood. Since the first new Star Trek film landed in 2009, his profile has risen significantly, reaching a peak in the months before and after The Force Awakens took the world by storm. So when paired with a talent for making purely enjoyable entertainment, his hiring of diverse casts for recent projects makes him a solid authority on Hollywood's longstanding minority representation issues.
Speaking at The New York Times' New Work Summit recently, Abrams said changes that need to be made in the wake of #OscarsSoWhite should follow "a systematic approach." That is to say, while having the Academy take measures to diversify its membership is a smart move, in order to actually get fair representation across the industry, the work needs to start at the beginning of the production line.
"The Oscar issue was symptomatic of a problem; it wasn't the problem," said Abrams. "The Oscars is the last stop on the train. The first stop is what gets made."
To that end, he apparently sent a memo to studios and agents last week announcing a new policy at his production company, Bad Robot. It stated that any lists of writers, directors, actors, and other positions in consideration for a project must "be at the very least representative of the country we live in. Which roughly breaks down to: 50 percent women, 12 percent black, 18 percent Hispanic, 6 percent Asian."
With this new policy, Abrams anticipates the result to be something of a win-win: the right moral choice as well as a situation that leads to more creative possibilities. It's all in an effort to make sure "the pool of talent we choose from is as rich and representative as possible," he explained. "I think the better stories are going to come from the more inclusive voices."
(H/T: The Wrap)
Cover image: Wikimedia