Apu may not have had a line in more than a year The Simpsons, but that does not prevent a Hollywood producer from trying to solve the much debated problem with Apu.
The producer Adi Shankar, known for CastlevaniaHe told IndieWire that he has found a perfect story that he believes will resolve the problematic representation of the American Indian character Apu in The Simpsons, after he launched an open contest for people to write a spec script that would evolve into Apu "in a way that takes a petty mockery and transforms it into a core of truth wrapped in a funny vision".
Speaking with EW on Friday, Shankar explains what he hoped to achieve with his contest.
"Apu is offensive because it's a by-product of the writers' room of a white man who makes fun of what they think that a billion people sound and act," says Shankar. "They call it satire, but it's not, the jokes around Apu have no truth, they're a mockery."
The debate over Apu came on when The Simpsons He found himself at the center of a controversy last season after the documentary TruTV. The problem with Apu by comedian Hari Kondabolu argued that Apu is a harmful stereotype of the people of South Asia. In an episode of April The SimpsonsLisa said: "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive now is politically incorrect. What can you do? ", Before the shot reached his nightstand, where there is a signed framed photo of Apu, with the inscription" I do not have a cow ", which many, including Kondabolu, interpreted as a dismissal of the problem. (Marge then he said: "Some things will be discussed at a later date", to which Lisa added: "In any case").
Shankar says that three people close to the production told him recently, two of whom work for The Simpsons, that Apu is being eliminated from the show. A representative of Fox did not comment by email to EW if Apu would be removed, but sent a statement of The Simpsons Executive producer Al Jean: "Apu appeared on the episode of 10/14/18" My Way or the Highway to Heaven ".
In that episode, Apu was shown on a broad plane standing next to God with dozens of other characters. Apu has not spoken a line on the show in more than a year.
In an interview with EW last month, Jean was vague when asked about the program's plans for Apu. The Simpsons creator Matt Groening said earlier: "I love the character, and it makes me feel bad that makes other people feel bad." But, on the other hand, it's tainted now, the conversation has no nuance in the conversation now. "Hank Azaria, who expresses the character's voice, said he would be willing to give up and allow an Indian actor to express Apu.
Shankar says his contest received hundreds of entries and was judged by himself and eight other people from South Asia, most of whom work in the film industry. The winning entry was written by an Indian-American physician from Maryland, Vishaal Buch, who presented a story about Apu expanding his business empire, and featured appearances by many other Indian-Americans in the world of business and technology.
"One of the problems with Apu was that it was really a flawed plane that had a domino effect that was quite broad," says Shankar. "The way to solve the problem is not just take the plane, destroy it and start over … you can not do it because it exists in people's minds. Vishaal was able to modify the [Apu] create a plan and improve it by adding authenticity ".
Shankar noticed that the contest and the resulting script were an "olive branch" for The Simpsons, offering them at least one solution that could help evolve the character of Apu. But yes The Simpsons The team is not interested in collaborating, Shankar adds that he will only do the episode next year, as part of his Bootleg Universe, which produces short and punctual episodes of popular franchises. He says he would approach the Indian-American personalities that Buch incorporated into his script to see if they were expressing themselves, and he also wants a prominent musician, like his good friend Kanye West (who tweeted his support for the contest), to possibly spin his own turn in The Simpsons theme song.
Shankar offered an idea of how the episode would look and feel in a short clip that he created of himself in an animated way when confronting Apu about his stereotypical interpretation when he launched the screenplay contest.
The goal, Shankar hopes, is "simply to be recognized." "We want to have a conversation and be part of that conversation, there are a billion of us [South Asians] on the planet, do not fire us, "he says.