Sanaa Lathan will be appearing in Lionsgate’s upcoming heist film Now You See Me 2, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the poster.
She’s the only one who didn’t make the cut.
Forbes film writer Scott Mendelson noticed Lathan’s absence and wondered why.
I don’t know how big of a role Sanaa Lathan plays in Now You See Me 2. For all I know, she has a glorified cameo in the upcoming sequel to Lionsgate’s Now You See Me. Yet she is listed among the ten main cast on the studio’s official web page. She even has a first and last name, Natalie Austin, which is more than you can say for Lizzy Caplan (Lulu) and Jay Chou (Li). I bring this up because when Lions Gate Entertainment dropped their splashy character posters for Now You See Me 2 yesterday, they only dropped nine portraits. Guess who was missing?
It’s not just that the marketing departments, for reasons that may be totally benign or research-focused, didn’t make a character poster for the only woman of color with a major role in the film. It’s that Ms. Lathan is the only actress in the ten-person ensemble cast who didn’t get a poster…
…And, in what is an unfortunate coincidence, for reasons that I will not speculate upon, the one major character who is played by a black actress has been left out of the first round of marketing. I am not here to draw any conclusions or cast aspersions. But I will merely argue that if Ms. Lathan was important enough to be on the official website as a featured cast member and important enough to be listed in the official plot synopsis that went out with said posters yesterday, then she was probably important enough to merit her own character poster.
Given the hubbub over Hollywood’s diversity problem, it seems strange Lionsgate would make such an error and leave Lathan out of its marketing materials, especially since she’s coming off a win at the NAACP Awards and has a series coming to FOX later in the year.
“She’s not a nobody,” says film and TV critic ReBecca Theodore-Vachon. “It is odd not to include Sanaa. She is very popular among Black moviegoers and her movie, ‘The Perfect Guy,’ opened at number one when it came out last year.”
Theodore-Vachon added: “I don’t know what her role is exactly but she shares billing with 9 other actors who all have posters,” Lathan should have one too.
Perhaps Lionsgate will realize the error of its ways and release a poster for Lathan’s character, but we won’t hold our breath.