Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been a television staple for going on eight seasons now, and the cop comedy has such dedicated fans that when it was cancelled by Fox in 2018, it only took a couple of days for the series to be picked up by NBC. Now, that popularity has led to a Canadian remake of the show for French-speaking audiences in Quebec (titled Escouade 99), but original series star Melissa Fumero, who plays Amy, has some very blunt thoughts on the new project.
Considering how many remakes of our own shows we've seen stateside, we all know that they can sometimes change up the story or characters quite a lot. But, when the trailer dropped for Escouade 99 recently, it was obvious to any fan that it would, at least at the beginning, pretty much be a shot-for-shot remake of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Even if you have no more French in your repertoire than, well, repertoire, you can watch the trailer and easily pick out Captain Holt, Jake, Terry, Hitchcock, Gina and all of our favorite characters.
When Melissa Fumero settled her eyes on the new versions of Amy and Rosa, though, she noticed something she really wasn't fond of, and took to Twitter to explain her thoughts. After noting that watching the trailer was "like peeking through another dimension," here's what she had to say:
That's right, everyone. For the Quebec-based remake of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, rule-follower Amy Santiago and tough as nails Rosa Diaz have been changed to Fanny and Rosalie, respectively, and are being played by white actresses. And, it's obvious from Melissa Fumero's tweets that she was immediately disappointed by the choice of the new show to reframe those characters as non-Latina. One thing I really like about what Fumero did, though, is take some time to do some research before coming back with additional thoughts on the matter.
Looking at her tweet thread, you'll see that Fumero took about a day to actually look into the Latin population of Quebec and then return to share the rest of her feelings on seeing Amy and Rosa as white characters. In the end, it didn't really matter for Fumero that there aren't significant numbers of Latinas in the province (not to mention the even lower number who might be actresses who are also funny), because to her, any black, indigenous or person of color could have taken on those roles, instead of the producers automatically going for white actors in those parts.
As of this writing, the producers of the remake don't appear to have responded to Melissa Fumero's comments, but a big question would be whether or not they did attempt to cast Latina actresses in those roles, or if they simply assumed they wouldn't find anyone and defaulted to white performers. They didn't have a problem casting Holt and Terry with black actors, so it would be nice to hear whether or not the attempt was made.
Speaking about the production, Melissa Fumero also wanted to make it clear that she bears no ill will against the actresses who were cast, and also feels like Escouade 99 still has the opportunity to increase diversity going forward:
Furthermore, I love actors so I do not mean to shame these actresses, it’s not their fault... it’s up to the decision makers. Also, you guyssssss Amy is not sexy ON PURPOSE. So that bums me out too. Lastly, if the show is successful I hope the creators take that opportunity to hire more BIPOC in supporting and guest roles.
Melissa Fumero wrapped that up with both a kissy face and peace sign emojis, so even Amy being too sexy on purpose in the trailer wasn't enough to make her write the whole production off, and it's clear she wishes them well. While I'm sure that many fans doubt we needed a direct remake of Brooklyn Nine-Nine at all (I watch foreign language shows with subtitles on all the time), hopefully the show will get a chance to represent more of Quebec's diversity as time goes on.