“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…”



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