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Old 06-18-2019, 02:38 PM
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Because that's a difference that would have been relevant in the time and place where the movie is set.

Like, I don't know what Jim Lovell's real hair color was, off the top of my head. But it doesn't matter. NASA, at the time, would have treated a brown-haired astronaut the same as they treated a blond-haired astronaut. So you can cast an actor with any hair color in the role, and not worry about it being authentic.

But NASA, at the time, would have treated a black astronaut very differently than they treated the white astronauts. So that is relevant, and so it's much more difficult to work around casting an actor of a different skin color. And it's not my assumption; it's historical truth.

Nowadays, or in the near future when The Martian is set, NASA does treat black and white astronauts in the same way, and so for a film set now or in the near future, the skin color of an actor playing an astronaut is as irrelevant as their hair color.