I have discovered that Hollywood has been casting stories in ways that make people think about watching the movie in the theaters. A quick idea for you to digest: It isn’t easy when Hollywood casts actors with every other nationality, but the nationality that the story requires. What do I mean? Let me preface this blog post with the idea that I wish to be positive about this…
Some of the roles offered to Asian-Americans are small, and can be stereotyped. Now, isn't that out of place? It has become obvious, and obvious enough to deter people from watching the film. I am an ethical man, and if the story supports an Asian lead character then I believe it should be cast that way. They should cast an Asian for the lead. It isn’t rocket science. It is really quite simple. It is really ethical in nature and honors the story as well as the culture. This issue is growing at a exponential rate when stories that have an original Asian characters end up going to a caucasian actor. We all need to shine, and all cultures deserve fairness and equality.
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I personally can layout tons of movies where this whitewashing is rampant. It is more than one culture. Studios need to be more diverse. I feel we need an organization that is a Non-profit that can provide agencies and studios with a seal of approval with cultural ethics and standards. The motives of money is a far cry from story originality as well as adhering to traditional story, novel, and comic book characters. The film Kung Fu for example was washed over with David Carradine in the 1970s. It was completely against the original version Bruce Lee had in mind.
The modern day version Japanese anime adapted classic titled “Ghost in the Shell.” was far away from the original source idea, and was designed to make Ms. Johansson look more Asian. This isn’t just happening to Asians, it is happening to many other cultures as well. Cast what the character is! Do what it says on the tin! I write several screenplays with Asian characters (I have a few) and I feel strongly about seeing it done ethically.
I believe in working with people that are: ethical and professional. I do believe in standing by my ethics. I prefer to make a difference with my work. I will write a script that is truthful, culturally sound, and that ethically supports roles in Hollywood. If you are a studio who is adapting a character that is Asian, then I am sure you can spend a little bit of time casting more accurately. It is not rocket science.
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I believe that their are many executives that are honestly making an effort, and some studios have even created diversity teams to figure out their numbers and a good amount of Hollywood companies still don’t give a hoot at all. Some are convinced they don’t need diversity at all. It is diversity that makes a good team. Years of good solid research from psychologists and sociologists can show us that diverse teams (those teams with the diverse amount of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are way more innovative.
I do support John Cho, #STARRINGJOHNCHO. I feel he is fighting for something beautiful. All cultures deserve a chance. All disabilities deserve a chance. Of course we have to work hard! Of course we have to go through the proper channels. It should never be handed over on a silver platter. We all have to earn our way. Can we rise up to the challenge of finding someone appropriate for an Asian role? Can we make someone a star? It happens in other studios. I suppose the fear of large scale money loss can impose ideas on a studio and “force their hands.” Fear of loss can do weird things to people!
From the “Power Rangers” reboot all the way to “Ghost in the Shell.” The writing is on the wall. I believe in pressing forward and every culture deserves a shot. I will write any story for any Asian lead, and I will stand behind the actor who wants that role.
Peter Pan’s origins had strong controversy. The film-makers made their own bed and are dealing with it. It started with Rooney Mara, a caucasian actress that had been cast for “Tiger Lily”, a character widely known as Native American. I would love more organizations to come forward and make a “Seal of approval” for Ethical guidelines in Hollywood. Corporate America is on board. Hollywood could get on board and find that it may do better as a result. If you don’t get on the band wagon of diversity, you could have trouble with shareholders. Corporate america has learned from shareholders pulling out. Studios should cast an accurate net, and be accurate with your story. If you don’t cast that way then shareholders will cast their attention elsewhere.
See you next week! Until then find me on Twitter @screenwriterml
P.S Click here and read this blog post if you are looking to be a more productive writer.