“Where Are the Asian-American Movie Stars?”

“As diversity continues to be the buzzword that isn’t going away, the ancient Hollywood practice of whitewashing has come under fire. When photos were released last month of Tilda Swinton playing The Ancient One in Marvel’s Doctor Strange and Scarlett Johansson as the Major in DreamWorks’ manga adaptation Ghost in the Shell, both characters that were Asian in the original comic books, it sparked a fresh wave of backlash that followed on the heels of the criticism that greeted Emma Stone’s portrayal of a part-Asian character in Aloha last year. (Marvel has explained that Swinton’s version of the character is Celtic, while Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson tweeted that he is “listening and learning” from the Asian-American community’s response to “Hollywood whitewashing, stereotyping & erasure.”)

“Nothing can be more frustrating than the fact that there aren’t enough roles that [Hollywood] allows us, and then to take a role that is written Asian and turn it into one that you can no longer be considered for is adding insult to complete injury,” says Maggie Q, one of more than two dozen Asian-American actors and filmmakers who spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about what can be done to increase their representation in film. She notes that no Asian actresses were asked to audition for the Aloha part (even Q, who, like Stone’s character Allison Ng, is part-Asian and hails from Hawaii). “You already have a community of people fighting to be taken seriously.”

This time, Asian Americans in the industry are hoping to seize the moment to force a larger discussion about how the casting process should work, the need to develop stars with potential bankability, the role that executives and directors can play behind the scenes, potential organizational strategies moving forward and the impact that the developing Chinese film market could have — both positive and negative…”

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/are-asian-american-movie-stars-890755

“‘The Get Down’: Baz Luhrmann, Grandmaster Flash, Jimmy Smits Talk Netflix Drama “

“Baz Luhrmann and the rest of “The Get Down” crew brought a blast of old-school enthusiasm to the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday as they talked up the spirit of the Netflix series set amid the rise of hip-hop and rap in the South Bronx in the late 1970s.

The overarching theme that drives the series is the sense of unbridled possibility that youths felt at a time when most of New York City was struggling with crime and urban decay, Luhrmann said Wednesday during Netflix’s TCA presentation at the Beverly Hilton. Those social ills were even more pronounced in the South Bronx, and yet it became the crucible of a creative explosion that reverberated around the world.

“These young people did not (innovate) because they thought they were going to get rich or the they would see their graffiti in museums one day. They were doing it because the city was saying ‘You don’t exist.’ They did it because it was a way of saying ‘We exist.’”

Behind the scenes, “Get Down” had a difficult birth and stands as Netflix’s most expensive original series production to date. Luhrmann and others detailed the meticulous process of researching, developing and producing the show. Hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash was enlisted early on to advise on his experiences. “Get Down” begins in the summer of 1977.

Speaking Wednesday, Flash admitted he was unfamiliar with Luhrmann’s work before getting the call from the Australian director.

“He said he felt like something like this should be told — this is the missing years of what has now become a billion-dollar business,” Flash said of his conversation with Luhrmann. He jumped at the chance to be involved once he realized how dedicated Luhrmann was to getting it right…”

http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/the-get-down-baz-luhrmann-grandmaster-flash-jimmy-smits-netflix-tca-16-1201824600/

“MARVEL Wants You To Know MOON GIRL Is The Smartest Person In The Marvel Universe”

“Marvel Comics has demonstratively pushed to diversify their superhero line the last couple of years – a push that seems to continue to gain steam. Now the publisher is seemingly making a point to call attention what they announced somewhat innocuously at Comic-Con International: San Diego on Sunday – that none of the usual braintrust of Reed Richard (or his daughter Valeria), Tony Stark, Peter Parker, Amadeus Cho, T’Challa, or even Doctor Doom for that matter, are considered the smartest person in the Marvel Universe. Instead, Marvel’s top genius is officially (or at least will be) little Lunella Lafeyette, the nine-year-old hero of Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur.

The announcement of Lunella’s status was made, somewhat off-handedly, in SDCC’s Women of Marvel panel by Marvel’s Director of Content and Character Development Sana Amanat, who may be best known as one of the co-creators of the current Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, the character that may have been the flashpoint for Marvel’s aggressive diversity push.

“Moon Girl will discover she’s the smartest person in the Marvel Universe at only 9 years old,” said Amanat Sunday, referring to an upcoming story in the planned relaunch of Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur as part of “Marvel NOW!”

Interestingly and importantly, Lunella isn’t just the smartest person in the Marvel Universe, she’s also black and female – two characteristics not typical for the Marvel’s usual cast of super-geniuses. Female scienctific super-genuises are rare for either of the two major comic book publishers, relatively even more so, in fact, than black super-genuines. The role has been historically filled by males, a product of both major publishers’ superhero lines’ birth in the late 30s and early 60s, respectively…”

http://www.newsarama.com/30407-marvel-wants-you-to-know-moon-girl-is-the-smartest-person-in-the-marvel-universe.html

“‘Life is Strange’ Video Game to Become Live-Action Digital Series”

“Time traveler Max Caulfield and her childhood friend Chloe Price will soon make the leap to live-action with “Life is Strange,” the Legendary Digital Studios adaptation of Square Enix’s acclaimed video game.

Developed by DONTDOD Entertainment, the five-episode adventure game follows Max and Chloe as they unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of a local girl. Max’s ability to rewind time plays a critical role in solving puzzles and negotiating the tense, prestigious high school environment that is Blackwell Academy in Arcadia Bay, Oregon.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the digital series will be developed with Dmitri Johnson and Dan Jevons of the transmedia company djt2 Entertainment, which produced of the recent “Sonic the Hedgehog” for Sony Pictures. Legendary Digital has adapted the video game series “Dead Rising” and the revival of the ’70s series “Electra Woman & Dyna Girl.”

“’Life is Strange’ is one of those rare properties that combines incredibly developed characters and storylines with deeply engaging gameplay,” Greg Siegel, a senior vice president at Legendary Digital, said in a statement. “It lends itself perfectly to live-action imaginings. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Square Enix, DONTDOD Entertainment and dj2 to bring the world of Arcadia Bay to life in an exciting new way.”

The first episode of “Life is Strange” was recently made free on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Mac and Windows.”

http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/2016/07/28/life-is-strange-video-game-to-become-live-action-digital-series/

“‘Star Trek’ TV Reboot Title & Teaser Unveiled At Comic-Con”

“With the world premiere of Star Trek Beyond earlier this week and today’s Star Trek 50th anniversary panel in Hall H, Comic-Con 2016 is going very Starfleet. Among the news: the CBS All Access reboot will be called Star Trek Discovery, according to showrunner Bryan Fuller. He also confirmed the January 2017 debut date and said that the CBS All Access show “won’t be episodic” but rather will tell stories like a novel.

“Because it’s on CBS All Access, won’t miss anything,” Fuller said of the streaming service. “It’s all at your fingertips.”

Fuller was joined on the panel this afternoon the original Captain Kirk, William Shatner, who got a standing ovation from the packed house, plus franchise stars Scott Bakula, Michael Dorn, Jeri Ryan, and Next Generation‘s Brent Spiner, another fan favorite. (His impression of Patrick Stewart arguing that Captain Picard was the best USS Enterprise leader was a panel highlight.)

“These folks represented the future for all of us,” Fuller told the crowd.

Much of the panel focused on the state of affairs on the actual Planet Earth. “We’re in a time now where identity is under attack,” Spiner said. “It’s disturbing.” He added about the current climate in America: “Politicians could learn from Star Trek.”

Fuller was on the same page, clearly having an idea of where to take the discussion. “Individuality should be celebrated. Star Trek celebrates diversity.” He added: “It seems like a great statement from [Star Trek creator] Gene Roddenberry, who felt the human race just has to get along.”

“Science fiction has always fascinated me not jut because of the science but also the optimism,” Bakula said. “Even when it’s dark, I feel human beings will work it out…”

‘Star Trek’ TV Reboot Title & Teaser Unveiled At Comic-Con; New Series “Won’t Be Episodic”, Bryan Fuller Says

“Harley Quinn Is Getting Yet Another Movie, Here’s What We Know”

“Harley Quinn is on the cusp of a Deadpool- esque blow up. Mainstream audiences are about to see what fans and cosplayers have known for years when she makes her live-action debut in August’s Suicide Squad played by Margot Robbie. The buzz surrounding that character is at an all-time high, with rumors flying that she’ll be getting her own spin-off that will feature a team-up with other DC female heroes. Now, we’ve just learned that Harley Quinn will headline ANOTHER movie, albeit in a different format. Harley Quinn will co-star alongside Batman in the animated Batman and Harley Quinn, an original story created by her creator Bruce Timm.

Warner Bros. Animation hosted a panel at Comic-Con ahead of the premiere of their widely anticipated Killing Joke adaptation, and they announced a few new projects in development. Our own Conner Schwerdtfeger was lucky enough to be in the room and he was able to learn about the new Harley Quinn-centric film. There’s no word on casting or plot, but we know it’s a story from Bruce Timm, who’s pretty much the authority on Harley Quinn.

[Next] summer on this stage I hope we’ll be showing you Batman and Harley Quinn: A Bruce Timm Story.

This is sure to make lots of Batman: The Animated series fans happy. It seems like the perfect time for Bruce Timm to write another Harly Quinn story. If it’s Timm behind the wheel, then it isn’t crazy to assume that long-time Batman voice Kevin Conroy will return to reprise the character. That would make this film a Batman: The Animated Series reunion of sorts…”

http://www.cinemablend.com/news/1537609/harley-quinn-is-getting-yet-another-movie-heres-what-we-know

“Comic-Con Proves That Luke Cage Might Be the Most Important Thing Marvel Has Done”

“Unlike some other San Diego Comic-Con stalwarts like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Netflix’s new series—Luke Cage— didn’t land either the most popular day or the biggest venue of the convention. Tucked away upstairs in Ballroom 20 (okay, the second biggest venue of the convention), the cast of the latest installment in Marvel’s Defenders series gathered to show off the first bits of footage and, perhaps because Luke Cage conflicted with the popular Mr. Robot panel, the room wasn’t exactly full. And that’s too bad, because the show that Marvel’s TV arm put on blew the roof off the venue, laying a path towards an exciting and progressive future for the comic-book giant.

Following up on his hugely popular debut in last year’s Jessica Jones, Mike Colter’s Luke Cage—an imposing and invulnerable figure—will get 13 Netflix episodes of his own starting on September 30th. In a clip of a boxing-gym brawl, a pair of (we can presume) white bad guys unload several clips of bullets into the unfazed Cage. “You must not have heard about me,” Cage says before they start firing and, once they’ve finished, dryly remarks, ”I’m about sick of always having to buy new clothes.”

“There aren’t that many black superheroes,” Luke Cage show-runner Cheo Coker said by way of explaining why he was so excited about this Harlem-set show. Then, making reference to the extremely tense and divisive status of race relations in America, Coker declared, “The world is ready for a bulletproof black man.”

It’s true that the most fantastical element of this installment in Marvel’s gritty, down-to-earth Defenders series is that a black man could be shot and have his only concern be where to find a new sweatshirt…”

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/07/luke-cage-netflix-black-lives-matter-comic-con