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Thread: yellow face/white washing.

  1. #61
    Greetings Jimbo,

    I do understand what you are saying and I agree. What Hollywood is not understanding is that the public is ready for change and it will quickly start showing up in ticket sales. I know that I am not the only one who has had enough and I do believe that number is growing. It comes down to what people are willing to put their money towards. I would not even think to put my money down on a movie that causes groups of people discomfort because of stereotyping, unnecessary exclusion, or even inaccurate portrayals. It all starts and ends with the dollar. That is what Hollywood tricks for.

    mickey

  2. #62
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    More whitewashing discussion


    © MARIO ANZUONI / REUTERS

    DIVERSITY
    ‘Doctor Strange’ Director Owns Up to Whitewashing Controversy
    Filmmaker Scott Derrickson opens up about the MCU’s trippiest film yet, and the ****storm surrounding his decision to erase The Ancient One’s Asianness.
    JEN YAMATO
    11.02.16 2:14 AM ET

    In Marvel’s Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch’s brilliant neurosurgeon damages his million-dollar hands in a fateful accident, exhausts all known Western medicine in search of a cure, then goes careening across the world into the mountains of Kathmandu to give Eastern treatments a shot. What he learns there from The Ancient One, a powerful mystic occupying the Caucasian female form of Tilda Swinton, is far more than he bargained for.
    “It comes down to two lines from The Ancient One in her meetings with Strange,” offered director Scott Derrickson, whose eye-popping visuals and cracking pace drew praise from early critics. “In the first one, on that magical mystery mind-trip, she says, ‘Who are you in this vast universe, Doctor Strange?’” And then: “‘It’s not about you.’ Somewhere in that question and statement is the whole of the film.”
    Doctor Strange cracks open the door to infinite new possibilities and spiritual questions—for example, what does the introduction of godlike powers and secret dimensions say about the existence of God in the MCU? “That’s a very compelling question,” pondered Derrickson, who makes his Marvel debut after helming The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Sinister, and Deliver Us From Evil. “It confirms the existence of a complex spiritual plane, and it doesn’t give closure to that. Does God exist in all of it, or beyond all of it?” He paused. “To me, yes. But not to everyone who reads [the comics]—nor does it need to.”

    Derrickson co-wrote Doctor Strange, the 14th film in Marvel’s expansive superhero playground, with his Sinister collaborator C. Robert Cargill, filling the picture with expansive, dazzling dimensions hidden beneath the surface of the MCU’s earthbound and galaxy-tripping worlds. But the pair had a trickier road to travel to bring the Doctor Strange of Marvel’s 1960s comics into the 21st century—gifted with a charismatic hero in the vein of the MCU’s brilliant egocentric fave Tony Stark, yet hampered by the problematic streak of Orientalist cultural appropriation that looms over his origin story.
    In the comics, Swinton’s character, known as The Ancient One, was a powerful Tibetan mystic who introduced jerky American Stephen Strange to a new life filled with magical powers and an Asian-influenced aesthetic. He was originally written as an Asian man, and a dated stereotype at that. Another character central to the mystical stronghold of Kamar-Taj was Wong, a descendant in a long line of Chinese servants loyal to the Ancient One. Derrickson knew he had an issue on his hands that would have to be addressed.


    Tilda Swinton and Benedict Cumberbatch in 'Doctor Strange.'
    MARVEL

    “It was a challenge from the beginning that I knew I was facing with both Wong and the Ancient One being pretty bad racial stereotypes—1960s versions of what Western white people thought Asians were like,” he said. “We weren’t going to have the Ancient One as the Fu Manchu magical Asian on the hill being the mentor to the white hero. I knew that we had a long way to go to get away from that stereotype and cliché.”
    Derrickson first chose to change the gender of The Ancient One, making her a wise and powerful female magician in charge of the sorcerer-warriors in training at Kamar-Taj (now transplanted from Tibet to the more China censors-friendly Nepal). The move instantly multiplied the presence of significant female characters in Doctor Strange, which include Rachel McAdams as the ex-flame and fellow doctor who tethers Strange to his old life in a strong but still rather thankless supporting turn.
    Thankfully, Swinton’s Ancient One has far more to do, and more on her mind, than just help Strange realize his super-powered potential—although yes, she also does that. She battles, she leads, she ponders the mystery of life and beyond with a complexity that belies the sparse details of her background. Thanks to Swinton’s androgynous tranquility and effortless sense of strength, the character takes on its own new intriguing magic, and she stands out as one of the highlights of the film’s cast. (If only Doctor Strange actually passed the Bechdel test.)
    The move at least marks an overdue step toward progress for Marvel, which has earned scrutiny for its glaring lack of strong female roles in over a dozen feature films and counting. The company has shortchanged the female heroes it does have when it comes to selling toys, and has yet to give a non-male leading superheroine her own standalone adventure within the vast and fantastical MCU, where playboys and aliens with magical hammers and talking raccoons keep saving the world, but audiences will have to wait until 2018’s Black Panther for a black hero to get his due—and even longer to see a woman claim top billing.
    “The first decision that I made was to make it a woman, before we ever went to draft, before we ever had a script,” said Derrickson. “I thought it was interesting to not only make it a woman, but let’s find a woman with some maturity—not a 26-year-old leather-clad fanboy dream girl. Let’s get a real female actor in here. There was a desire for diversity in making that decision."
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  3. #63
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    Continued from previous post



    However, although writing The Ancient One as a woman was a step forward for gender representation, it presented a new cultural predicament, Derrickson says. He and Marvel discussed casting an Asian actress in the role before making another major change to the character—in order to avoid playing into yet another Asian stereotype.
    “As we started to work on it, my assumption was that it would be an Asian character, that it would be an Asian woman,” he said. “We talked about Asian actors who could do it, as we were working on the script, every iteration of it—including the one that Tilda played—but when I envisioned that character being played by an Asian actress, it was a straight-up Dragon Lady.”
    “I know the history of cinema and the portrayal of the Dragon Lady in Anna May Wong films, and the continued stereotype throughout film history and even more in television,” he continued. “I just didn’t feel like there was any way to get around that because the Dragon Lady, by definition, is a domineering, powerful, secretive, mysterious, Asian woman of age with duplicitous motives—and I just described Tilda’s character. I really felt like I was going to be contributing to a bad stereotype.”
    In order to avoid one offensive stereotype, Derrickson and Co. effectively erased The Ancient One’s Asianness. Along with it disappeared any discernable debt the character might have represented to the place and people and culture the film’s setting, costumes, and multicultural spiritual mishmash still borrows. In trying to be one kind of woke, Doctor Strange became most unfortunately unwoke—and that’s a lesson Marvel, Disney, and other Hollywood studios should learn from.
    In the process, the director says, he learned a lot about the term ‘whitewashing’ from the irate Asian community that took to the internet to take him and Marvel to task. “At the time when casting was happening there was a lot of anger circulating about female representation, but the term ‘whitewashing’ wasn’t even a term that I knew in the way that it’s used now,” he explained. “I knew it in the classical sense of yellowface, of white actors playing Asian characters. So I wasn’t as sensitive to that issue—but I was aware that I was erasing a potential Asian role.”
    To counterbalance the shift away from an Asian Ancient One, Derrickson and Cargill reinvented the character of Wong, played in the film by Benedict Wong. “I inverted everything about him from the comics,” he explained. “Instead of a manservant, he’s a librarian. Instead of a sidekick, he’s Strange’s intellectual mentor. He’s a master of the mystic arts. He’s a very different kind of presence, and I felt like that was required.”



    Wong most certainly comes off better in the film as a sage librarian warrior than he would have as a subservient house Asian. But all of this will still sound deeply unsatisfying to many of the fans and cultural critics who have rightfully taken issue with Doctor Strange’s high-profile racebending.
    Give credit to Derrickson for acknowledging that the very community he was trying to avoid offending is the one most justifiably upset at the erasure—and that trading one underrepresented onscreen minority for another is far from an ideal solution to correcting entrenched racism, in any property being given the blockbuster treatment.
    “Diversity is the responsibility of directors, and I took that as seriously as I could,” he said. “Whitewashing, if you use the term the way it’s used now—it’s what I did with the role. But it also implies racial insensitivity and it implies racist motives and I don’t think I had either. I was really acting out of what I still feel is the best possible choice. But it’s like I chose the lesser evil—and just because you choose the lesser evil it doesn’t mean you’re not choosing an evil.”
    To the vocal opponents upset over Swinton’s casting, Derrickson lends his support. “I don’t feel that they’re wrong,” he said, sympathetic. “I was very aware of the racial issues that I was dealing with. But I didn’t really understand the level of pain that’s out there, for people who grew up with movies like I did but didn’t see their own faces up there.”
    He offered an antidote to the evasiveness that greets most complaints when studio products are hit with critiques of cultural appropriation: Ownership of the creative choices he made and the negative ripple effect they may have on the culture by virtue of the enormous reach of the MCU. So rarely do filmmakers comment on their own controversies—let alone agree with their critics from within the heavily fortified Disney-Marvel machine—that Derrickson’s candor, in itself, feels like progress.
    “The angry voices and the loud voices that are out there I think are necessary,” said Derrickson, who’s looking at breakout $70 million opening weekend projections for Doctor Strange, which is already topping the overseas box office. “And if it pushes up against this film, I can’t say I don’t support it. Because how else is it going to change? This is just the way we’ve got to go to progress, and whatever price I have to pay for the decision I’ve made, I’m willing to pay.”
    We saw the screener last Tuesday and will have our own exclusive tomorrow.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  4. #64
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    Way to go Vogue

    Celebrate civersity with Yellowface? Man, they should've gone minstrel for African Americans too.

    2.14.2017
    YELLOWFACE IS A REALLY AWFUL WAY TO CELEBRATE "DIVERSITY."
    Vogue photo shoot features Karlie Kloss doing stereotypical geisha ****.



    For real, Vogue? A photo shoot featuring a white model as a geisha? In the so-called "diversity" issue, no less.

    The much-hyped March issue of Vogue features supermodel Karlie Kloss in a Japanese-themed spread, titled "Spirited Away." Okay, can we just stop right there? Red flags, so many red flags going up everywhere. Let's be real: there was no ****ing way that Vogue was going to handle this right.

    The spread, photographed in Japan by Mikael Jansson and styled by Phyllis Posnick, features Kloss in what is pretty much yellowface, going full geisha in various photos shot around Japan's Ise-Shima National Park. They've got Kloss in thick black hair, pale skin and kimono-like attire, posed in various Japanese-y backgrounds. There's even a friggin' sumo wrestler for bonus stereotypical Japanese-ness.








    Aren't we sick of this yet?

    Between the yellowface and cultural appropriation, Vogue is apparently stuck in some white dude's movie version of Japan, treading a well-worn path of old-ass orientalism and tired, stereotypical visuals. What is so creative about a white lady in yellowface, standing in front of the usual traditional Japanese ****?

    On top of all that, Vogue has been touting this issue as a supposed celebration of diversity and inclusion, featuring seven models of different ethnic backgrounds on the cover. Yaaaaawn. Kind of a silly, pointless celebration if you're going to turn the page and find this yellowface geishapalooza inside.

    And did nobody even consider hiring an actual Asian model? So much for that "diversity" nonsense.
    Gene Ching
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  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Celebrate civersity with Yellowface? Man, they should've gone minstrel for African Americans too.
    You're gonna get kicked out of the model minority club, Gene

  6. #66
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    Kung Fu is good for you.

  7. #67
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    More Whitewashing issues with Iron Fist

    Finn Jones Leaves Twitter After Discussing Iron Fist / Whitewashing Controversy
    Posted by Dan Wickline March 6, 2017



    On Sunday, actor Finn Jones engaged in a discussion with Asyiqin Haron about his casting as Danny Rand in the upcoming Marvel’s Iron Fist. The show is being accused of whitewashing, or casting white actors in non-white roles. One of the most classic examples is the casting of Mickey Rooney as Audrey Hepburn’s Japanese landlord in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, another being Lawrence Olivier as Othello. There are many, many more examples including Scarlett Johansson in the upcoming Ghost in the Shell. Though, in the case of Iron Fist, the character in the source material is white, but there had been a vocal presence pushing for an Asian-American to be cast.

    Things started when Jones re-tweeted a post by Riz Ahmed with the message: “representation is important. and here’s why.

    Follow
    Riz Ahmed ✔ @rizmc
    Here's speech I gave @HouseofCommons in full. Forget 'diversity' we need REPRESENTATION. Or things fall apart. https://www.facebook.com/rizmc/video...4393155118997/ … RT
    6:01 AM - 3 Mar 2017
    2,144 2,144 Retweets 3,382 3,382 likes
    He was responded to by Haron, creative director for Geeks of Color. The response started with her asking Jones, “are you for real?” Though she didn’t expect him to, he actor responded, pointing out that while the main character stayed true to the source material, the show incorporates and celebrates actors from all different backgrounds. Now I would post the back and forth directly from twitter, but after the discussion was concluded, Jones deleted his twitter account. Haron made screen captures of the discussion and posted those images.

    .@mercedesknights pic.twitter.com/MItyG8hWUz

    — AsyiKinney �� (@AsyiqinHaron) March 6, 2017
    This discussion, like the casting of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, is a bit tougher than the more blatant examples like Ghost in the Shell. Where casting Johansson does seem like whitewashing, if you listen to Scott Derrickson’s commentary on Doctor Strange, a lot of though went into the Swinton casting including trying to avoid playing to stereotypes. When it comes to Iron Fist, Marvel chose to stay with the source material and Jones took a roll that could make his career.

    What we ended up with is a civil discussion between two people that disagreed on the topic. It didn’t turn into name calling or hate speak. How that ended up with Jones leaving twitter and Haron being harassed for her views is a problem unto itself.


    We were talking about representation in the Iron Fist series but people are interpreting it as me harassing him. I was being respectful. https://t.co/dolG0gEcpH

    — AsyiKinney �� (@AsyiqinHaron) March 6, 2017
    Nothing will ever get addressed if we can’t at least talk about it.
    I would be more impressed if Jones didn't run away. Who deletes their twitter accounts in the face of scrutiny nowadays? And over this? He's going to be Rand?
    Gene Ching
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  8. #68
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    Mission Control

    I've met reporter Linda Ge. She was on Into the Badlands with me and she's totally on point when it comes to whitewashing. We had some chats about it.

    More Hollywood Whitewashing: CBS Pilot Casts 2 White Actors in Lead Roles Written for Minorities
    Andy Weir’s sci-fi drama “Mission Control” was written for a bilingual Latina and African-American man — now played by Poppy Montgomery and David Giuntoli
    Linda Ge and Reid Nakamura | March 24, 2017 @ 4:51 PM


    Getty Images

    CBS has cast two white actors — Poppy Montgomery and David Giuntoli — as the leads of its sci-fi pilot “Mission Control” even though both roles were originally written for people of color in Andy Weir’s spec pilot script, TheWrap has learned.

    Montgomery (“Without a Trace,” “Unforgettable”) is taking the role of Julie Towne, who is described in an earlier draft of the script obtained by TheWrap as the daughter of a Caucasian father and Latina mother who is fully bilingual in both English and Spanish. The character also spoke frequently in Spanish in the script.

    Giuntoli, a veteran of NBC’s supernatural drama “Grimm,” has been cast as Malik Stevenson, a NASA commander who is explicitly described as African American in Weir’s script.

    CBS declined to comment. Reps for Weir did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

    According to an individual familiar with the project, producers initially did reach out to and offer the roles to non-white actors, but they passed. The production ultimately moved on as the script evolved, leading to the casting of Montgomery and Giuntoli. Montgomery’s character will no longer speak Spanish in the final version of the pilot.

    The pilot, which the individual described as an “ensemble drama,” does feature nonwhite actors in other roles, including “Desperate Housewives” alum Ricardo Chavira as the director of the Johnson Space Center and Nigerian-born actress Wunmi Mosaku as Rayna, the mission’s public affairs officer.

    This casting certainly will not help CBS’ image on the diversity front, since the network have been called out for lack of diversity in casting in the past. Relative newcomer network president Glenn Geller had previously promised the press that it would be addressing the issue. Before that, Geller had defended the throne he inherited.

    Of CBS’ 2017 pilots, the vast majority are toplined by white actors, with the exception of an untitled Jenny Lumet drama pilot led by Sharon Leal, who is of Filipino and African American heritage, and the cop comedy “Brothered Up” starring Romany Malco and Adhir Kalyan, who are African American and Indian. “Criminal Minds” alum Shemar Moore stars in the drama pilot “S.W.A.T.”

    In October, CBS launched a Drama Diversity Casting Initiative to find African-American, Asian-American, Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander, LGBTQ actors and performers with disabilities to join current series and pilots. The initiative is the latest addition to the CBS Diversity Institute, which also includes a sketch comedy showcase, the CBS Writers Mentoring Program and the CBS Directing Initiative.

    One of the participants of the inaugural class of the drama casting initiative, Alexa Adderly, has been cast in an upcoming episode of “Bull,” and another was cast in a series regular role on The CW pilot “Life Sentence.” Two others have landed roles on Fox’s “APB.”

    “Mission Control” would also mark the second time characters intended to be minorities as written by Weir have been cast white. In the adaptation of his novel “The Martian,” the character Mindy Park, who was Korean in the original book, was played by Caucasian actress Mackenzie Davis in the Matt Damon-led film. And black British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor played a NASA mission director who was Indian American in the book.
    Gene Ching
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  9. #69
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    My latest ezine offering

    INTO THE BADLANDS: Women Warriors and Whitewashing

    Another article in my INTO THE BADLANDS series, in conjunction with my print article On the Set of Into the Badlands in our May+June 2017 issue.
    Gene Ching
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  10. #70
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    One thing I've noticed regarding 'whitewashing' to a degree is that in shows like the new Hawaii Five-O, when they have Asian characters, they seem to always have European last names. I'm aware that Hawaii in particular is highly diverse and highly intermixed, plus some Asians have been adopted. But it always seems the characters' last names are something like Smith or Schwartz or Sanchez or McSomething or other. "Everyone knows East Asian names sound funny and nobody can pronounce them anyway, so let's give them REAL last names that won't make American viewers uncomfortable." This is true even when the actor playing the character is clearly NOT half or even part-European. Well, I don't watch the show all the time, so that may not always be true, but it always has been whenever I've seen it.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 03-29-2017 at 08:28 AM.

  11. #71
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    tipping point?

    How many nails doth a coffin make?

    Is a Disappointing Ghost in the Shell the Nail in the Coffin of Hollywood Whitewashing?
    The film’s anemic box office is only the latest financial fallout of Asian erasure.
    by JOANNA ROBINSON
    APRIL 2, 2017 3:54 PM


    From left: courtesy of Netflix, courtesy of Paramount, courtesy of Legendary

    It’s become increasingly impossible to ignore general social pushback when it comes to Asian representation in film and television. Whether it’s cut-and-dried whitewashing (e.g., casting a white performer in an Asian role) or slightly more complex cases of cultural appropriation, the hue and cry from progressive voices in film and TV criticism has called for an end to white leads in Asian and Asian-inspired properties. But Hollywood—a town driven by dollars and not always sense—is more likely to listen when protests hurt the bottom line. Ghost in the Shell, the Scarlett Johansson-starring adaptation of the popular Japanese manga, is only the latest controversial project to stumble at the box office. Will this misstep finally put an end to whitewashing?

    According to Box Office Mojo, in its first weekend, Ghost in the Shell pulled in approximately $20 million domestically on a $110 million budget—below even the conservative prediction that site made earlier in the week. That number looks even more anemic when compared with Lucy, Johansson’s R-rated 2014 film, which pulled in $43.8 million on its opening weekend. Unlike Ghost in the Shell, Lucy wasn’t based on a pre-existing property and didn’t have an established fanbase to draw on. But the Johansson casting has clearly alienated fans of the original manga and anime versions of Ghost in the Shell, and their dampened enthusiasm appears to have discouraged newcomers as well.

    The controversy around Johansson’s casting has plagued Ghost in the Shell since late 2014. Johansson stars as Major (whose full name is “Major Motoko Kusanagi” in the manga), a synthetic, cybernetic body housing the brain of a dead Japanese woman. Both fans of the original and advocates for Asian actors in Hollywood argued that a Japanese actress should have been cast in the role, while a spokesperson for Ghost in the Shell publisher Kodansha gave Johansson its blessing, saying the publisher “never imagined it would be a Japanese actress in the first place.” Johansson herself defended the film this week, saying:

    I think this character is living a very unique experience in that she has a human brain in an entirely machinate body. I would never attempt to play a person of a different race, obviously. Hopefully, any question that comes up of my casting will be answered by audiences when they see the film.
    But it seems audiences weren’t inclined to give the film that chance. There’s no ignoring the fact that controversy cast a cloud over the film, and it’s difficult not to draw a direct line from that to the movie’s disappointing opening weekend.

    Ghost in the Shell is not the first project to feel the burn of “race-bent” casting. Though other factors may have added to their unpopularity, The Last Airbender, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Aloha, Pan, and more have all foundered at the box office. (These films also received unfavorable reviews, but bad reviews alone can’t snuff out box-office potential.) Matt Damon’s heavily criticized, China-set film The Great Wall didn’t fare much better. In addition to becoming an Oscar night punchline for Jimmy Kimmel, the movie grossed only $45 million domestically on a $150 million budget. Marvel’s too-big-to-fail Avengers installment Doctor Strange is the recent exception that proves the rule: not even Tilda Swinton’s controversial casting in the historically Asian role of the Ancient One could slow this film down. It made more than $232 million domestically and $677.5 million worldwide.

    But since Netflix won’t release ratings data to the public, the jury is still out on whether the Marvel brand was also enough to combat the furor over Finn Jones being cast as the historically white Danny Rand in the latest Defenders installment, Iron Fist. (This is a case in which “cultural appropriation”—Danny is a better martial artist than all the other Asian characters around him—inspired public outcry, rather than “whitewashing.”) While various tech companies have claimed in the past to be able to analyze Netflix’s data, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos himself has historically pushed back on those results. One such company, 7Park Data, claims that Iron Fist defied both bad reviews and controversy to become Netflix’s “most-binged drama premiere”—meaning audiences allegedly tore through episodes at a faster clip than usual. But by the only Netflix-sanctioned metric available—the site’s soon-to-be-gone star rating—Iron Fist is lagging behind other Defenders shows. As of publication, it had earned only three stars from users, compared with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage—which all pulled in 4.25 or higher.

    Even if Marvel’s bottom line is controversy-proof so far, it’s unlikely that its parent company, the increasingly and intentionally diverse Walt Disney Studios, will want to weather further public relations storms like the ones that swirled around both Doctor Strange and Iron Fist. Paramount, too, seems to have kept its head down when it came to deploying Ghost in the Shell. After it was revealed that the visual effects company Lola VFX had done tests on Ghost in the Shell in order to digitally “shift” the “ethnicity” of a Caucasian actress and make her appear more Asian in the film (there’s disagreement over whether that actress was Johansson herself), the wind went out of the studio’s sails. Ghost in the Shell also screened very late for critics—a sure sign that a studio would prefer to mitigate any damage caused by negative word of mouth and early reviews.

    But what has tipped the needle on the issue of Asian erasure in film and television from progressive social concern to bottom-line disrupter? Pushback on both whitewashing and limited opportunities for Asian performers in Hollywood has recently gotten a boosted signal, thanks to both social media and the uncensored honesty of popular Asian and East Asian actors like Kal Penn, John Cho, Constance Wu, Aziz Ansari, and Ming-Na Wen. And that boosted signal comes at a time when, according to a 2016 MPAA study, younger (and likely more socially progressive) Asian-American film-goers between the ages of 18 and 24 are going to more movies, while the Caucasian film-going population is on the decline.

    But domestic box office alone may not be enough to bring about social change. With Hollywood increasingly obsessed with appealing to lucrative Asian markets abroad, it’s as yet unclear whether casting white leads in Asian-centric or inspired properties hurts the global bottom line. The Great Wall, directed by Chinese legend Zhang Yimou, did decently overseas, making 86.4 percent of its total intake on foreign screens. And while Ghost in the Shell has yet to open in either Japan or China, it took in roughly $40.1 million in other foreign markets this weekend, including Russia, Germany, and South Korea. Then again, the massive global box-office returns of films with diverse casts, including Rogue One and the Fast and the Furious franchise, render any argument that Caucasian actors are required for international success null and void.

    Meanwhile, at home, the protests against Asian erasure are only growing more intense. While still licking its wounds from the critical drubbing it received for Iron Fist, Netflix is staring down the barrel of another appropriation controversy. This time, it’s the popular manga Death Note that has gotten a Seattle-based makeover, putting Caucasian actors Nat Wolff and Margaret Qualley in roles that originally had the last names Yagami and Amane. Willem Dafoe will voice the Japanese spirit Ryuk. The protest around Death Note is already significantly louder than for other past American adaptations of Asian properties like The Ring, The Grudge, and The Departed.

    Though America itself is a very socially divided country, the cool, impartial truth of box-office returns reveals a film and TV industry that is facing a sea change when it comes to Asian representation. History may soon look back on the Asian erasure of Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, and Ghost in the Shell with an even more unfavorable eye. Just as blackface in film and TV gradually became unacceptable (and more recently than you may think), the marginalization and appropriation of Asian culture could be on its way out the door—with these recent financial disappointments only serving as a last gasp of a bygone era.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  12. #72
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    Can't resist posting this here

    I've heard reference to Professor Yuen's Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism. Nice to know she has a sense of humor about it.

    Nancy Wang Yuen, Contributor
    Associate Professor of Sociology; Author of Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism
    Saving Asia: A How-To Guide For White Actors
    Saving Asia is no biggie. It’s like taking up yoga at a weekend spa getaway.
    04/06/2017 05:18 pm ET | Updated 3 days ago


    THE GREAT WALL
    Matt Damon is the latest in a string of White Saviors of Asia.

    From The Last Samurai’s Tom Cruise to The Great Wall’s Matt Damon, saving Asia has been a popular heroic lead for white actors. Here’s a useful guide for any white actor who wants to take on this offensive role.

    1. Visit an Asian country => Stumble upon a colony of martial artists => Train for a scene or two => Save Asia.

    Saving Asia is no biggie. It’s like taking up yoga at a weekend spa getaway. Just hop over to an Asian country, learn a few choice moves with an Asian master, and BAM! you’re a superhero. Here, Tom Cruise’s character trains for a hot minute with the last remaining Samurais in Japan before becoming the Last Samurai himself.


    WARNER BROS.
    Nathan Algren (played by Tom Cruise) trains to be a Samurai in The Last Samurai (2003).

    Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Dr. Strange” visits Tibet and discovers an elite group of magical martial artists headed up by a whitewashed “Ancient One” (played by Tilda Swinton). After performing a few elementary tai chi moves, he miraculously transforms into a time-warping superhero who saves Hong Kong/the world. This is movie magic at its whitest finest.


    WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
    Dr. Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) trains in the supernatural arts in Tibet.

    2. Woo an actual Asian.

    Romantic liaisons between white male saviors and Asian women have occupied Hollywood cinematic fantasies as early as The Toll of the Sea (1922). By falling in love with the white male savior, Asian actresses take on the burden of affirming white male supremacy in these storylines. This is true in The Great Wall (2017), when Commander Lin Mae (played by Jing Tian)—despite being the highest ranked woman/person in a sea of hot Chinese soldiers—sets her eyes on a bland European mercenary (played by Matt Damon). Her affections transform him into a savior of China.


    UNIVERSAL PICTURES/CHINA FILM GROUP CORPORATION
    Commander Lin Mae (played by Jing Tian) trains William Garin (played by Matt Damon), stoking romantic tensions.

    Even mediocre white actors can get cast as superheroes who “get the girl.” Finn Jones’ lackluster fight scenes and butchered Mandarin make his Iron Fist the worst of the Marvel-Netflix series thus far. Nonetheless, he gets Colleen Wing (played by Jessica Henwick) to fall for him by episode 7. No need to execute the role well to reap all of the narrative rewards!



    CARA HOWE/NETFLIX
    Colleen Wing (played by Jessica Henwick) becomes intimately involved with Iron Fist (played by Finn Jones).

    3. Play an actual Asian character

    Why play a white savior who saves Asia when you can just play an Asian one? Leads of Dragonball Evolution (2009) and The Last Airbender (2010)—both Asian in the original manga/cartoons—were portrayed by white actors in the live-action films. Bonus: you may even get legendary actor, Chow Yun-Fat, to play your sensei!


    20TH CENTURY FOX AND PARAMOUNT PICTURES
    Top: Dragonball Evolution (2009); Bottom: The Last Airbender (2010).

    Scarlett Johansson plays “The Major,” a cyber-enhanced human who saves a Bladerunner-version of Tokyo. At the end of Ghost in the Shell, she discovers she is actually Motoko Kusanagi, a runaway Japanese girl, and reunites with her Japanese mother (played by Japanese actress Kaori Momoi). So despite ScarJo saying she’d never play a character of another race, she actually does.


    PARAMOUNT PICTURES
    The Major (played by Scarlett Johansson) finds out that she is actually Major Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell.

    4. On second thought, leave Asia-saving to Asians

    Audiences are increasingly disenchanted by white savior films. The two most recent iterations (The Great Wall and Ghost in the Shell) bombed at the box office. Paramount even admitted that the whitewashing critique was the culprit for Ghost in the Shell’s failure in the United States. Hollywood needs to reexamine its longstanding rationale of casting A-list white actors (over actors of color) for box office draw. Face it, whitewashing is bad for business. Asians are the fastest growing racial group in the United States and see more movies than any other group. Hollywood should try casting Asian/Americans as saviors for a change.

    Nancy Wang Yuen is the author of Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism.
    I was tempted to link these to threads about the movies mentioned, but there's too many. It's too much work right now.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  13. #73
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    The Legend Of Monkey - Monkey Magic redux

    Well, this can fuel the whitewashing debate.

    'Monkey Magic' Returns As Filming Begins On 'The Legend Of Monkey' In New Zealand
    The nature of Monkey is irrepressible!
    20/04/2017 3:42 PM AEST | Updated 20/04/2017 4:53 PM AEST
    Mat Whitehead Entertainment Reporter


    ABC

    Remember "Journey to the West"? Maybe you called it "Monkey Magic"? Well, whatever you thought it was called, the show was an iconic, often trippy, epic adventure following a monk and his godly companions.

    And now the series, which was a Japanese adaptation of a Chinese novel, is getting another makeover as ABC, TVNZ and Netflix announced filming began on their updated version, "The Legend of Monkey".

    Inspired by the folktales of 16th Century China, "Legend of Monkey" will be a 10-part half hour series following a teenage girl named Tripitaka (Luciane Buchanan) who is joined by three fallen gods Monkey (Chai Hansen), Pigsy (Josh Thomson) and Sandy (Emilie Cocquerel). The four set out on a dangerous journey (to the west!!!) to fight a demonic reign of chaos and terror and bring back balance to the world.


    View image on Twitter
    Follow
    Maddie Burke @Maddie_Burke
    Remember #Monkey? Production is underway in New Zealand on 'The Legend of Monkey', due to air on ABC & Netflix next year. #MonkeyMagic
    9:28 PM - 19 Apr 2017
    2 2 Retweets 2 2 likes
    The original series was well loved by anyone who watched it. The bad dubbing of the 16th Century classics, camp costumes, incredible fight scenes, and a pig deity consumed with gluttony and lust. What more could you ask for?

    But reaction to the announcement of the remake has been mixed, with some questioning potential white-washing of the Chinese stories or the risks of watering down some of the more tongue-in-cheek elements of the show, while others are excited to see a new take on the tales.


    Follow
    Snarky Platypus @SnarkyPlatypus
    Like "Journey to the West" is not a reference to all the characters turning white,.
    9:19 PM - 19 Apr 2017
    Retweets 2 2 likes
    19 Apr
    mat whitehead ✔ @matwhi
    ABC, TVNZ and Netflix are getting The Legend of Monkey (based on Journey to the West) in 2018 pic.twitter.com/bW4pLs5jWF
    Follow
    楊宏明 @damien_yang
    @matwhi Maori cast? I approve. As Maori Chinese, pretty sure I am subject matter expert3:57 PM - 19 Apr 2017
    5 5 Retweets 10 10 likes
    We just won't know what we're in for until the series flies in on a magical cloud and onto screens.

    The series is being produced by Jump Film & TV along with See-Saw Films, the company behind films like "The King's Speech", "Tracks" and "Lion" as well as the Jane Campion series "Top of the Lake".

    The Australian/New Zealand co-production is set to be released in 2018, on ABC, NZTV and Netflix globally.
    Here's an archived thread on the original Monkey Magic series.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  14. #74

    The Producer Of Netflix’s "Death Note" Responds To The Whitewashing Backlash

    From Buzzfeed

    Producer Roy Lee has spent years in Hollywood working on remakes of Asian films for audiences in the United States, like 2002’s The Ring, 2004’s The Grudge, and 2006’s The Departed. But he had never encountered backlash like he did last month, when Death Note took center stage.
    In March, a trailer for Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of the popular manga series of the same name made its debut. When fans saw Nat Wolff, a white actor, playing the protagonist, who is Japanese in the source material, Twitter erupted with rage. Some criticized Netflix and the film’s director, Adam Wingard, for whitewashing the Japanese story, likening it to Paramount Pictures’ treatment of Ghost in the Shell, which starred Scarlett Johansson. But others argued that as a remake, the film wasn’t an example of Asian erasure. It was a controversy Lee, who produced the film, had not anticipated.

    “I’ve been involved in many adaptations of content from all over the world, and this is the first time that I’ve been seeing negative press,”
    Lee told BuzzFeed News at the office of his LA-based production company, Vertigo Entertainment.

    To him, Death Note is not an example of whitewashing. “I can understand the criticism … if our version of Death Note was set in Japan and [featured] characters that were Japanese-named or of Japanese ancestry,” he said. But that’s not the case.

    The team behind Wingard’s adaptation of Death Note made some creative changes, adapting it for a “different culture,” since this version is set in Seattle, not Tokyo. The main character, Light Yagami, is now Light Turner, and his lovestruck accomplice, Misa Amane, has been renamed Mia Sutton (she’s played by Margaret Qualley). Lakeith Stanfield, Paul Nakauchi, Shea Whigham, Willem Dafoe, and Masi Oka round out the cast.

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    “It is an interpretation of that story in a different culture, so there are going to be some obvious changes. Some people will like them, some people may not,” Lee said. But the changes were necessary to “make it more appealing to the US or to the English-language market,” he explained.
    It’s the same treatment that he gave the 2002 horror film The Ring (an adaptation of Hideo Nakata’s Ring), which is set in Washington state. Naomi Watts plays the lead, Rachel Keller, the journalist who uncovers the source of the videotape curse. There was no outcry from fans that the studio should have cast a Japanese or Japanese-American actor as the lead, who’s named Reiko Asakawa in the original Japanese thriller. “No one criticized it then,” Lee said. “Maybe they should’ve or maybe they could’ve, [and] I just didn’t know about it.”


    But Lee said the recent debate over Hollywood whitewashing has not affected the way he works. “Whenever I pitch, I don’t pitch with any specific actor in mind. I just pitch based on the actual core story and the quality of the screenplay,” he said, before asserting that Death Note does indeed feature a “diverse” cast.
    Of the key actors (Wolff, Qualley, Stanfield, Dafoe, and Nakauchi), “one of them is Asian, one’s African-American, and three are Caucasian,” Lee pointed out. “Saying ‘whitewashing’ is also somewhat offensive,” he added, since “one of our three leads is African-American.”

    “People can criticize it, but I’d say that they should see the movie first,” Lee concluded. “Then they could accuse us of not having a diverse enough cast … just judge the movie after it comes out.”

    Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu.

  15. #75
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    More on Death Note

    Netflix’s ‘Death Note’ Was Whitewashed Because Asian Actors Couldn’t ‘Speak Perfect English’
    By Ryan General Posted on May 1, 2017



    Reacting to accusations of whitewashing, one of the producers of Netflix’s “Death Note” remake claimed that the roles actually could have gone to Asian actors. This didn’t happen, however, because apparently, the casting team couldn’t find an Asian actor who can “speak perfect English.”

    “Death Note” producer Masayori “Masi” Oka, who is also popularly known for his role at Hiro Nakamura in the NBC show “Heroes”, explained to EW the challenges they encountered during casting.

    “Our casting directors did an extensive search to get Asian actors, but we couldn’t find the right person, the actors we did go to didn’t speak the perfect English… and the characters had been rewritten,” he said.


    Masi Oka

    “They could have gone [with an] Asian [actor], I can’t deny that. The studios were adamant about trying to cast Asian actors. I mean, this was a difficult one. It was something we were definitely conscious about.”

    Since Oka noted that the studios intended for Asians to be cast, is he then implying that it’s too difficult to find Asians who can speak “perfect” English?

    “For Ghost in the Shell there hasn’t been a Japanese live action so that’s a little bit different,” Oka further explained. “So if you’re trying to make the Hollywood version that already has a version in Japanese, then it’s like, where do you draw the line?”



    The controversy revolving around the remake also baffles Roy Lee, who is also a producer on “Death Note”.
    “I’ve been involved in many adaptations of content from all over the world, and this is the first time that I’ve been seeing the negative press,” he was quoted by BuzzFeed in an interview.

    Lee said he “could understand the criticism… if our version of Death Note was set in Japan and [featured] characters that were Japanese-named or of Japanese ancestry,” but explains the remake “is an interpretation of that story in a different culture, so there are going to be some obvious changes. Some people will like them, some people may not.”

    According to Lee, the current cast is meant to “make it more appealing to the U.S. or to the English-language market.”

    “Death Note” stars Nat Wolff who plays high school student Light Turner, who stumbles upon a mysterious notebook that can kill any name written into its pages. Directed by Adam Wingard, the film also stars Margaret Qualley, Keith Stanfield, Paul Nakauchi, Shea Whigham, and Willem Dafoe.

    “People can criticize it, but I’d say that they should see the movie first,” Lee added. “Then they could accuse us of not having a diverse enough cast… just judge the movie after it comes out.”



    Death Note will premiere on Netflix on Aug. 25.
    Masi Oka goes from cool to the next Gedde Watanabe.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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