“Brittany Ishibashi’s Karai is going up against Michaelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael in the new movieTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, but she’s also taking on the lack of diversity in Hollywood and challenging the notion of what Asian actors can and cannot do. Ishibashi, who has been acting for almost two decades and has credits ranging from Supernatural to Grace and Frankie, tells Bustle that she dreams of breaking down barriers for Asians in Hollywood — and that she’s more than ready for the industry to make its must-needed changes regarding its casting of non-white actors now that the discussion is at a “fever pitch.”
“I think the main thing now is that the conversation has been started,” Ishibashi says. “People are getting angry, on both sides, and I think that’s very important because that’s going to be a catalyst for action and for holding people to account.”
Thanks in part to the #OscarsSoWhite conversation, as well as the continued calls for more diversity in front of and behind the screen, the lack of Asian characters and representation in Hollywood has become a hot topic of late. Recently, the casting of Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell, a new adaptation of the Japanese manga, inspired theTwitter campaign #whitewashedOUT, a hashtag dedicated to shinning a light on the erasure of Asians in the media.
“The most irritating part to me was the way that …what seems to be the case is that they didn’t look into the relation of how casting a white actor in that role makes it a totally different movie — it’s no longer Ghost in the Shell,” Ishibashi says of the controversy. “Ghost in the Shell, at its core, a Japanese movie, it’s a Japanese character, it’s Japanese culture…”