In Leigh Bardugo’s opinion an inclusive or diverse cast doesn’t look artificial, in Shadow and Bone it just adds more layers to the fantasy world – she told the members of the press ahead of the series’ April 23 premiere.
In the “Shadow and Bone” adaptation, Netflix was focusing on creating a more inclusive world that reflects on the modern audience. There is no surprise about that, since the company announced that they will spend $100 million over the next five years to fund organizations that help underrepresented communities to find jobs in TV and film. However, there is still a misconception about an inclusive or diverse cast, is somehow artificial or contrived.
Leigh Bardugo, the executive producer on the series quickly defended Netflix’s casting decision, and told the press that she finds that very weird because our world does not look black and white, and there’s no reason that a fantasy world should look that way.
This diverse casting strategy could favor “Shadow and Bone”. According to a new study conducted by UCLA, U.S. audiences prefer films comprised of diverse casts. UCLA’s annual Hollywood Diversity Report, this year subtitled “Pandemic in Progress,” reports that in 2020, films with casts that were made up of 41% to 50% minorities took home the highest median gross at the box office, while films with casts that were less than 11% minority performed the worst.
The eight-episode series centers on a lowly soldier and orphan Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) with newfound powers who tries to save her home from a powerful, evil force. With the threat of the Shadow Fold on the horizon, she must train with an elite army of magical soldiers known as Grisha to hone her powers. The series also stars Freddy Carter, Ben Barnes, Archie Renaux and Amita Suman.
Shadow and Bone was based at Origo Studios and was also filmed on various locations in and around Budapest in 2020.
The series premiered on April 23rd.