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Bullock and McCarthy turn up “The Heat” on Albinism


Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy: Standing up for albinos?

For decades, a stock character made the movie rounds:  The vicious sharp-shooting trope of the Evil Albino.  With “The Da Vinci Code,” things changed.  A media campaign mounted by the albinism support group NOAH successfully conveyed the message that people with this genetic lack of pigmentation were actually not cold blooded killers.  For a time, viewers got a break from white-skinned, anachronistically red-eyed bad guys. 


He's baaaaaaack: The Movie Albino

“The Heat” returns a pale stereotype to the silver screen.  This buddy cop flick starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy brings us two steps forward and one step back.  As played by normally pigmented actor, Dan Bakkedahl, this character is actually one of the good guys, a DEA agent.  The film also specifically addresses the cinematic cliché. When Bullock and McCarthy are confronted with the character, he actually explains that despite appearances, he is not evil!  He doesn’t physically torture our heroines, play assassin or flog his own nude back. Unlike his movie predecessors, he doesn't dress entirely in white. There are no glowing scarlet pupils. His name is "Craig," not "Whitey,", "Snow" or "Powder." To quote the theme song to TV’s “The Jeffersons,” we’re moving on up! 

The movie’s producers are not off the hook, however.  The character, though not villainous, is a jerk and does little to help the “Heat’s” hotties.  He is also the butt of a series of McCarthy’s jokes at the expense of the albinism community.  She says he looks “a little pale,”  calls him “Snowcone,” says he has “Chalk-balls” and likens his wife to a sack of flour, among many, many more insults.  ***Spoiler alert: Following the informal rules of movie albinos, Bakkedahl’s character doesn’t make it to the end credits.

Finally, an actor without albinism was cast for the role, requiring white-face makeup and a frosted wig that seems left over from the 1980's "Lethal Weapon" series.  This casting might be justifiable if there were no albino actors with dramatic and comedic chops.



Victor Varnado

Dennis Hurley

  For your consideration, Hollywood, next time contact actor/film makers Victor Varnado or Dennis Hurley, both of whom actually have albinism.  These guys could handle the character, reduce controversy and save the cost of the extra makeup!

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