Fans Are Calling The Film Ageist Due To Casting Choices
Fans have noted that a 35-year-old Mulligan, who steps into the role of Edith Pretty, was chosen by Netflix to play a 56-year-old woman. Expressing their disappointment at the casting, fans rightfully suggested that this situation is an example where the industry still relies on ageism to make its money.
Originally, Nicole Kidman, who is 53-years-old was cast to play the role of Edith. However, Mulligan was brought in as a replacement after Kidman pulled out. Many fans have commented on how Kidman would have been a more accurate portrayal, and that replacing her with Mulligan reinforces the idea that the film industry tends to abandon women after they reach their forties.
On the other hand, others pointed out that the film includes Ben Chaplin, who is 51-years-old, to play Stuart Piggott, a 27-year-old man—which leads others to assume that the same ageism issue in the film industry clearly does not apply to men.
The Dig’s director, Simon Stone, has previously commented on the controversy during an interview with the BBC. He claimed that the original novel departs from the truth and that gave them the chance to depart from historical accuracy.
"John Preston's novel departs from the truth in a lot of aspects and doesn't purport to be absolutely accurate, so the scope for departing from historical accuracy was already there."
Even Mulligan herself addressed the ageist approach, saying:
“I suppose there is an age disparity between me and the real-life character, but then the sense of her I think was the most important thing.”
Adding, "I was aged-up slightly with make-up to try and split the difference a little bit. But it was more important to honour Edith's character and the humble, generous, extraordinary woman she was."
WATCH BELOW: The Dig Trailer
Others Are Calling Out The Film’s Inaccurate Portrayal Of Peggy Piggott
The Times’ writer, Mark Bridge, publicly noted that archaeologists have found issues with the film’s portrayal of Peggy Piggott, played in the film by Lily James. Throughout the film, Piggott is made out to be inexperienced and was only hired for the dig because her light weight would not impact the delicate archaeological site.
However, by 1939—when the film is set—Piggott was an extremely experienced archaeologist. In fact, the film also portrayed the historical figure as being married to an older, more experienced man, when in reality, she was only two years younger than her husband, Stuart Piggott.
And if that wasn’t enough, Mercie Lack and Barbara Wagstaff, two female teachers who photographed the site, were completely left out of the film as to make way for a romantic storyline between Edith Pretty’s cousin, Rory Lomax, and Piggott herself.
With the above controversies in mind, opinions can only be formed through personal experience.
In other words, go forth, and check out Netflix’s The Dig on Netflix here.