The film’s ugly story of portraying evil characters with visible differences

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The activist said No Time To Die, which opened in theaters Thursday, is the latest in a long line of blockbusters that use facial and bodily disfigurements as a shortcut for evil – a trope that may have adverse effects on people with visible differences.

Rory McGuire, ambassador for the Changing Faces charity, told Scotland on Sunday: “Once this was pointed out to you, there seems to be a very noticeable trend in a lot of ‘the bad guy’ movies having some sort of visible difference. “

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No Time To Die, he added, does nothing to break that mold.

The film‘s main villain, Lyutsifer Safin – played by Rami Malek – is a soft-spoken poison expert with a marbled complexion and pronounced lameness.

Christoph Waltz also makes an appearance, reprising his role as the evil leader of Specter Ernst Stavro Blofeld – with prominent facial scars and an empty, open eye socket.

But it does not stop there.

Some of the most iconic villains in the long history of the Bond franchise have been portrayed with visible differences.

Charity Changing Faces’ latest #IAmNotYourVillain campaign is fighting to increase the positive portrayal of visible differences in film and television.

Characters like Jaws, and his set of steel teeth, and Le Chiffre, which cries blood, are largely identifiable simply by the wounds inflicted on them by the writers.

“I guess a theory would be that it boils down to a fear of the unknown,” said Rory, who has a venous malformation on his upper lip and right cheek.

“If he’s a bad character in a movie, people might think they must be involved in really bad things to get that hurt – to make them look like this.”

The 27-year-old, from Ayr, said the Changing Faces #IAmNotYourVillain campaign put his “overworked” mind on the damaging effects of the movie trope.

Some of the most iconic villains in the long history of the Bond franchise have been portrayed with visible differences. (Photo by Danjaq / Eon / Ua / Kobal / Shutterstock)

A new study commissioned by the charity, which supports the disfigured across the UK, found that only one in five people (20%) had ever seen a character who looked like him or her as the hero in a movie or television.

A third of those polled said the trope contributed to low levels of confidence, and a quarter (24%) said it affected their mental health.

Catherine Deakin, Deputy CEO of Changing Faces, said: “Living life with disfigurement can be difficult, with people reporting a daily routine of stares, comments and even abuse, just because of the way they look.

“This is why we are calling on the creative industries, from filmmakers to television writers, as well as brands, to join our Pledge To Be Seen movement.

No Time To Die’s main villain, Lyutsifer Safin – played by Rami Malek – is a soft-spoken poison expert with a marbled complexion and pronounced lameness. (Photo by MGM / Eon / Danjaq / UPI / Kobal / Shutterstock)

She added, “It’s important that we all see more diverse and inclusive images and representations of people, including those with visible differences. “

Rory, meanwhile, has quiet hope for the future of cinema, citing the film Wonder (2017) as progress.

It follows the story of Auggie, a boy born with facial differences who becomes an unlikely hero when he joins his local school.

“If there was a heroic character with a visible difference in a big blockbuster when I was growing up,” he said, “it would have given me the inspiration that I can still“ be the hero ”no matter what. what do I look like. “

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Rory McGuire, who has a venous malformation on his upper lip and right cheek, cites the movie Wonder (2017) as a step in the right direction. (Photo: Sophie Mayanne)

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Characters like Jaws, played by Richard Kiel (right), are largely identifiable simply by the wounds inflicted on them by the writers. (Photo by Danjaq / Eon / Ua / Kobal / Shutterstock)


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