If you saw the trailer for Annihilation, you got a sneak peak at the Area X parameters. But maybe you didn’t notice the lack of diversity among the cast.
Director Alex Garland has received some backlash from certain groups, who have said that the cast has been whitewashed, as the characters in the book explicitly feature Asian and American Indian characters. The Media Action Network for Asian Americans felt that the story was portrayed well, but the true identities of the characters were muddled.
In the second book in the Annihilation series, author Jeff VanderMeer talks about the main character (portrayed by Natalie Portman in the film) having cheekbones that are evident of her Asian heritage. When interviewed by Nerdist in December, Alex Garland claimed he didn’t whitewash the cast, he simply based them off the first book of the series. He said it would not be in his nature to whitewash, and that he merely adapted it.
Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh are the evidence supporting the claims, and it isn’t boding well for the director. We’ll have to see how the casting goes for the sequel, if we get there.