Jamie Foxx voiced Joe Gardner, the main character in the English-language original ‘Soul’, which focuses on the music culture of the black.
But Joe Gardner was voiced by the white actor Nikolaj Lie Kaas in the Danish-language version.
Scholars and activists condemned the casting as an example of structural racism in an interview with the Danish national newspaper Berlingske.
The controversy that erupted over the casting of Lie Kaas, prompted him to defend himself.
“My position with regards to any job is very simple,” Lie Kaas wrote on Facebook. “Let the man or woman who can perform the work in the best possible way get the job.”
Asta Selloane Sekamane, one of the activists who decried the casting, refuted the claim that there wasn’t enough Black talent to fill the protagonists, saying actors of color were hired to lend their voices to some of the minor parts.
“It can’t be the constant excuse, this idea that we can’t find people who live up to our standards,” she said, adding “That’s an invisible bar that ties qualification to whiteness.”
Many other European-language versions of ‘Soul’ were also dubbed primarily by white actors.
In Portugal, over 17,000 have signed a petition calling on Disney-owned Pixar computer animation studio to remake the local edition with actors of color.
“This movie is not just another movie, and representation matters,” the petition reads.