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The Albino Code
Images © 2006 Emre
Used by Permission
When May 19, 2006, rolls around, Ron
Da Vinci Code will hit theaters (well, barring any legal
difficulties). For those of you who haven't read the novel, there's
a heavily featured character named Silas, who's not only an Opus
Dei monk and an assassin, he's also an albino. As someone
I can tell you that albinism affects the pigment of the eyes,
skin, and hair; vision problems are a key part of the conditionprobably
the most important part. In The
Da Vinci Code
novel, Silas has red eyes, shoots people from far distances,
and drives in a high-speed car chase at night. Putting aside the
fact that people with albinism do not have red eyes, the activities
that Silas engages in are nearly impossible for someone with albinism
(at least for any that I've met, and I've met a lot of folks with
our trademark paler-than-pale skin).
Brown supposedly did his research in the area of religion,
but he seemed to skip the albinism research entirely when he created
Silas. Silas is a full, rich character in the book, I admit, but
he bears no resemblance to a real-life person with albinism. As
a result, Mr. Brown perpetuates the negative and fictional stereotypes
of the evil albino with red eyes and/or supernatural powers that
Hollywood has perpetuated for years (e.g. End
of Days, The
Matrix Reloaded, Powder).
Admittedly, I did try my best to audition for the role of Silas,
not to further the stereotype, but to bring my own sense of realism
to the role (not to mention, landing a part in a Ron Howard film
would have been a pretty big break for a struggling actor). Of
course, that plum of a role went to Paul
Beautiful Mind, Wimbledon)
a non-albino from Brooklyn.
So, instead of complaining endlessly, I wrote a short film parody,
entitled The Albino Code, with the following premise: "What
if the story of The Da Vinci Code could be told from Silas's
point of view? And what if Silas were an actual person with albinism
thrust into a world of secret codes, mystery, and assassination?"
The film will be shot in early April, and will be available here
on May 11, 2006 (one week before the release of The Da Vinci
In closing, I'd like to discuss my worry about the upcoming release
of The Da Vinci Code. When it debuts, its portrayal of
albinism is sure to have a negative impact. No doubt, children
and adults with albinism will be harassed by insensitive people
who see the movie and decide to make fun of people with albinism.
For those of you who think I'm overreacting, let me just say that
when both Powder and Me,
Myself & Irene were released, it was often an adventure
for me to walk down the street.
The Albino Code is my way of mocking certain novelists
and Hollywood filmmakers who continue to spread stereotypes of
all kinds. At the same time, I want my film to give movie-lovers
some insight into what having albinism is really like.
To learn more about albinism, as well as the upcoming theatre
in the Rough (an albinism awareness benefit) visit www.albinism.org
Don't let this picture fool you. Dennis
really is an "evil albino."
Image © 2006 Emre
Director Aaron Howland hires "Alyssa
the Albino Slayer."
Warning: "albino" actors will
often use black-and-white head shots to conceal their true nature.