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  1. #1
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    Jan 2007

    Default Hollywood Whitewashing and Racism

    Constance Wu Speaks out About Matt Damon's Latest Role

    On Friday, "Fresh Off the Boat" star Constance Wu slammed the casting of Matt Damon in the upcoming blockbuster "The Great Wall."

    The film chronicles a group of warriors fighting mythical creatures and takes place at the Great Wall of China, Variety reports.

    In a heartfelt tweet, Wu spoke out about the racial stereotypes reflected by the film's choice of a white man as its hero.

    "Can we all at least agree that hero-bias & 'but it's really hard to finance' are no longer excuses for racism?" Wu asked.


  2. #2
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    A casting director said Asian people weren't expressive and the response was amazing

    The topic of whitewashing in Hollywood remains a contentious one, with many accusing big studios of erasing Asian characters with white actors.

    Fans of the anime Ghost in the Shell expressed their dismay after the lead character of Major Kusanagi was given to Scarlett Johansson. Similarly, accusations of whitewashing dogged Marvel's Doctor Strange after the Ancient One - typically portrayed as a Tibetian man in the comics - was played by Tilda Swinton.

    Ed Skrein made headlines recently when he turned down a role in the new Hellboy movie, after learning that the character was of mixed Asian heritage.

    Sociologist and author of Reel Inequality, Nancy Wang Yuen was recently quoted in an excellent Paste magazine piece on whitewashing in Hollywood.

    One casting director told Yuen:
    I work with a lot of different people, and Asians are a challenge to cast because most casting directors feel as though they’re not very expressive.

    They’re very shut down in their emotions … If it’s a look thing for business where they come in they’re at a computer or if they’re like a scientist or something like that, they’ll do that; but if it’s something were they really have to act and get some kind of performance out of, it’s a challenge.

    Said article and quote were reshared by writer and activist Angry Asian Man.

    As the quote began to percolate around Twitter, other people were understandably angry too, and it lead to Maurene Goo starting the hashtag #ExpressiveAsians.

    Others shared examples from cinema and TV of acting legends, including the great Toshiro Mifune who appeared in around 170 feature films.

    Speaking on the hashtag, Yuen told indy100 that "social media is amplifying previously unheard voices - providing a platform for marginalised folks and allies to protest issues like whitewashing, stereotyping, and other exclusionary practices that have gone unchecked in Hollywood for too long".

    On whether Hollywood is taking note of the outcry concerning washing, Yuen added:
    I do think that the industry is listening - with Ghost in the Shell's box office failure acknowledged by a producer to be connected to the whitewashing controversy, and Ed Skrein responding to the bombardment of critical tweets after announcing his role on Hellboy by stepping down. Both happened because folks spoke up and took action. They wouldn't have recognised these issues unless someone brought it to their attention.
    As for casting directors who believe that Asians, as a race, are unexpressive- I hope that #ExpressiveAsians exposes that perception as racist and completely baseless. Hollywood's casting culture is predicated on stereotypes--and marginalised groups get the brunt of it. Hence, if just a handful of casting directors can start to recognise their own biases, that would be progress.


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