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Cameron Crowe apologizes for casting Emma Stone in part-Asian role

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This is PC madness. It's akin to apologising having black actors play the roles of slaves as this could be seen as stereotyping.

-14 ( +9 / -23 )

It's akin to apologising having black actors play the roles of slaves as this could be seen as stereotyping.

I don't think you get that analogy any more wrong. Let me fix that for you: It's akin to having a white actor play the role of a black slave.

14 ( +22 / -8 )

The last time this "racebending" made headline news is when the character of Little Orphan Annie was played by Quvenzhané Wallis, a young black actress. I thought she was a great choice for the role (watched it with my daughter), and an extremely talented and engaging child star. I was glad they made that casting choice in a remake of one of America's classic comedies, not historical non-fiction.

Still, the character Annie has iconically been a red-haired Irish-American girl with freckles of the Depression era since the original comic strip came out in the 1920s inspired by a poem written in the 1800s by an Irish-Anglo American, so I can see why some people might have grumbled over the casting choice.

I have mixed feelings about casting Emma Stone as this predominantly Asian character. But again, the movie Aloha is a comedy, not meant to convey historical non-fiction.

I do have more of an issue with racebending when it involves films that are intended as 'non-fictionalish,' like in the way nearly every American Biblical film uses white actors in portraying Jesus and other leading characters who were presumably non-Caucasian Hebrews/Middle Easterners/Northern Africans.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

crowe did the right thing by apologizing.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Still, the character Annie has iconically been a red-haired Irish-American girl with freckles of the Depression era since the original comic strip came out in the 1920s inspired by a poem written in the 1800s by an Irish-Anglo American, so I can see why some people might have grumbled over the casting choice.

And those some people are part of a bigger problem.

As it is, the new version paid tribute the original story with a girl from the "right" race.

I'm sure some people would also have a problem that the guy who took her in was black, and at the end, he hooked up with his white secretary.

But those people are twisted and/or simpletons who are worth ignoring.

And, oh yeah, I liked the movie. Miss Wallis is a star, and her singing is excellent.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I don't blame the director, I blame movie goers. Most of them can't accept anything but white-blue-eyed leads as characters they adore. No offense to white-blue-eyed people, you guys are great :)

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

This is PC madness. This is good PR. Well done Crowe, you got me to watch the trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3mf_ewjc7s. But, despite co-starrying Baldwin and Murray, I don't think that I will rent the DVD.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Is "The Media Action Network for Asian Americans" claiming the right to represent mixed-race Americans? What if that constituency doesn't like it?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The world is changing. Does the fact that my daughter looks more like her American father make her any less Japanese? As Russel Peters says, "One day the entire world will be beige."

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I don't blame the director, I blame movie goers.

Here's the bottom line truth that nobody wants to talk about. When they cast movies, they want to get the BEST POSSIBLE ACTOR to make the most money.

If they FORCE any kind of ethnicity into any kind of role, that significantly reduces their chances of getting the BEST POSSIBLE ACTOR.

How many half Asian, half white female actors are of A-list quality?

People who complain about "white washing" are really saying:

"I want you to voluntarily make an inferior product so I don't get offended."

If this were a government propaganda film, using tax money, that would be one thing.

But it's a private production with private money, so they can put whomever they want into the movie.

If you don't like it, don't see it.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

No artist (assuming that is what Chameleon Crowe considers himself) should ever ever apologize for any artistic decision he makes. Explain? . . . ok. But to grovel in order to satisfy your PC money-grubbing handlers is beyond reproach. Shame on you, Mr. Crow (sic).

1 ( +5 / -4 )

"Melting Pot" by Blue Mink, 1969 I think. Very non-PC lyrics by today's standards.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I give it to Crowe for apologizing when he doesn't have to. I guess the sad thing is he missed an opportunity to get more minorities into a main stream movie given that the character is suppose to be a quarter Asian. He had some leeway to even use a hispanic actress for the role and that would have helped minorities in Hollywood as well.

I would like to see more Asian looking actors in the movies aside from "Asians" such as Keanu Reeves, Meg Tilly etc..

As an aside Exodus was the worst casting I had seen. There was so much tanning liquid and eye liner used it wasn't funny! And before someone says anything I have spent a lot of time in the Middle East.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I would be curious to know Emma Stone's opinion on this — and she is a great actress IMO.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When they make new versions of Sherlock Holmes, they almost always stick to the character's descriptions in the books. If they made a short blond Sherlock there would be outrage. Even if the actor was brilliant.

If the character in Crowe's film is written as half-Chinese, he should at least make the effort to honour that description, otherwise why bother write her that way?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

What nonsense. How many quarter Hawaian plus quarter Chinese actors? And who is decide what they are supposed to look like, anyway? Are we going to have racially correct profiling now, down to 4 generations back?

By the way, I am intrigued that the article talks about "quarter" and "half". Will we get the usual complaints that that should be "double" and "quadruple"?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Excuses/explanations aside, not quite in the same league as casting John Wayne as Ghengis Khan in the 1950s

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Casting of actors and actresses in a role that is not their ethnicity is strange to say the least. Recently I watched the film "San Andreas" with Dwayne "the rock" Johnson, a man of black and Samoan ethnicity, as the father of a definitely very Caucasian looking daughter in real life known as Alexandra Daddario. I know that Hollywood considers me, the viewer as stupid but come on she has not a drop of Afro American or African blood or in her DNA or appearance so why the fake portrayal of her being a half black person. The chances of her DNA kicking out a Caucasian looking kid are slim to none.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

People who think an apology is in order seem not to be reading the article....

"...the character was always intended to be someone frustrated that she lacked outward signs of her ethnicity"

If anything, those demanding an apology are being racist. Are my kids not authentic half Japanese if they happen to have Western features?

Crowe is the sort of nice guy who will apologize rather than stand up for what's right. I think he made a mistake here, and swept what could have been a good discussion about mixed ethnicities under the rug.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Should have said "The chances of her DNA kicking out a Caucasian looking kid are slim to none." should read "The chances of his (Dwayne Johnson) DNA kicking out a Caucasian looking kid are slim to none".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actors with any Asian ethnicity are under represented in Hollywood films. The least they could do when casting for an Asian character would be to cast an Asian, or partly Asian actor.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It sounds like a return to ye olde world of cinema, where Shirley MacLaine played an Indian princess in "Around the World in 80 Days", where Laurence Olivier ,Alec Guinnes (and bless his cotton socks) Sean Connery all played Arabian characters... where Christopher Lee played Fu Manchu...

I wonder if the character having issues with her appearance came about after they cast Ms Stone, or was it always in the script? Personally I think if you have an Asian character, use an Asian actor/actress. Pacific Rim for example, they had a Japanese character for the female lead, so cast a Japanese actress... it brings realism to the role. It's why I laugh every time I see Sean Connery playing a non-Scot with his accent intact.... the only Edinburgh accent in the Russian navy.

It works both ways though... with actresses like Lucy Liu playing roles that are not specified as being Asian... such as Dr Watson or "Charlie's Angels" Alex, where John Cleese played her dad...

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Maria: If they made a short blond Sherlock there would be outrage. Even if the actor was brilliant.

Well, there was outrage when they first cast a blond actor to be James Bond, and that outrage lasted all the way up to the premiere of his first movie when everyone said "Wait a minute - he's great!" And then we never heard another peep from those people again.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don't get it... Is it based on a true story or a real person? If not, why even mention she's a quarter Chinese if you're going to cast a completely white actress? It seems like they felt like a movie called "Aloha" set in Hawaii should have some ethnic characters in it (and rightfully so), but decided to play it safe in the end.

I have nothing against Stone, but like wontond said, there aren't a lot of opportunities for Asian actors. It's sad when a perfect one gets passed on to a white one.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If she's supposed to be a quarter Hawaiian and a quarter Chinese, what's the other half? And does it matter? A bit like nude scenes - is it an intrinsic part of the story, or just a bit of titilation to put bums on seats?

The words 'storm' and 'teacup' spring to mind.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It sounds like the main problem with the movie was that it wasn't good, and that the PC-ness of the casting choice was not its biggest failure.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/3-factors-behind-cameron-crowes-aloha-wipeout-2015-06-02

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sioux Chef: "I don't think you get that analogy any more wrong. It's akin to having a white actor play the role of a black slave."

Nah, you're only half right. Or in this case, a quarter right, and she's also 25% the correct choice based on where a relative was born.

In any case, while of COURSE they should put more minorities in films when and where possible, the question of 'possibility' is always going to come into play. It takes place in Hawai'i, so naturally people like those complaining are going to say the possibility of casting native Hawai'ians is literally all around you. BUT, if you take into account that they probably want professional, skilled actors in the movies that possibility may be greatly diminished. So, sorry, as with the PC complaints about the lack of African-American films represented at the last Academy Awards, this strikes me as simply being PC over the top and not being correct at all. You hire the better actors, period. If they happen to be born in the place being depicted and of an ethnicity that is often not represented well, if at all, in terms of numbers, all the better. The movie would never see the light of day to begin with if they had non-actors in the film (besides extras, which the people complain about still!) in key roles simply to satisfy the locals.

Good on him for apologizing when he need not and when he did nothing wrong, but methinks it should be the people who complained who should be apologizing and seeking more proactive ways to get their message across, like maybe start taking acting classes and auditioning instead of moving directly to the mellowdrama.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Putting a white actor in a role for an Asian is just as ridiculous as casting an Asian actor to play a white person.....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I wonder if anyone complained when Marlon Brando played a Japanese/Okinawan

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I wonder if anyone complained when Marlon Brando played a Japanese/Okinawan

Who knows... had he done it when there was a flourishing internet perhaps.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ Sensato

I do have more of an issue with racebending when it involves films that are intended as 'non-fictionalish,' like in the way nearly every American Biblical film uses white actors in portraying Jesus and other leading characters who were presumably non-Caucasian Hebrews/Middle Easterners/Northern Africans.

But the contents in the bible are fictional.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Putting a white actor in a role for an Asian is just as ridiculous as casting an Asian actor to play a white person...."

I guess people feel differently about stage productions as opposed to films.

Denzel Washington gave an excellent performance as Mark Antony As did Lawrence Olivier as Othello So too Bando Tamasaburo as Lady MacBeth

In my brief theatrical career I was fortunate to be cast as Daimyo Wakasanosuke in the Kabuki play Chushingura. The play's director, Nakamura Matagoro II, said I had the perfect 'kabuki nose.' In fact our entire cast was quite mixed, both by race and gender. It is a reality of university theatre that there are often more women than men available for casting, so we had women cast in many of the male roles. No one, not the theatre critics in Hawai'i and the Mainland, or audiences anywhere, expressed any concerns about the casting.

Even in films, there seem to be 'levels of outrage' when it comes to race and casting.

Chinese actors were cast to play Japanese geisha in the film Memories Of A Geisha... Mako playing a Chinese coolie in The Sand Pebbles Or George Takei playing a Vietnamese officer in The Green Berets

I am told by a technical advisor who worked on Geisha that they cast the best actors they could find given not only the dramatic requirements of the part, but also the issue of language. Is this an example of that old saw that 'all Asians look alike'?

And not just Asians, for Eli Wallach played Latino in several films including The Magnificent Seven, but he is not even remotely Hispanic. So too Jennette Goldstein who played Private Vasquez, a Latina Space Marine, in Aliens.

Where is the outrage over this casting?

If strict ethnic casting were enforced in the theatre then so many great roles would be denied to so many great actors. Indeed, the world of Kabuki, a most marvelous art form, would be closed to me, and my life would be just that much more diminished.

http://narukamisthunderbolts.blogspot.com/2009/03/pure-acting-kabuki-actor-nakamura.html

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Anyone who is actually upset about the casting had better head on down to the Takarakuza Review and demand that women stop playing men's parts, and the Asians being cast as whites or blacks, or whatever, in other roles be canned as well. Heck, why can a human play the part of a lion in The Lion King when there are perfectly good lions not getting enough credit at zoos or in the wild in Africa!?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Maria: There is a weekly series Elementary that is Sherlock Homes and Watson stories. Watson is played by an actress with Chinese last name and Chinese looking female. There is Hawaii Five o every week and it does not say Asian or Hawaiians. Some people who have Asian look like Caucasians and Some caucasians look like mixture of sometning in our area in USA.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The character is also quarter swedish, according to NPR. Has anyone seen the movie emperor? All japanese are played by asians. McArthur is cast as a white guy (sorry, but a black/asian/first nation McArthur would be stretching). Think distinction shouldbe drawn as others have said between nonfiction and fiction.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

smithinjapan,

BUT, if you take into account that they probably want professional, skilled actors in the movies that possibility may be greatly diminished.

You can't expect a large pool of skilled minority actors in Hollywood if they are rarely cast in anything. It might take a while for them to improve their skills and become bankable, but you have to give them a chance and start somewhere.

Asians/Pacific Islanders will never be cast in a cowboy movie or a movie about medieval knights, so it's pretty sad when they get passed over in movies like this one and the Last Airbender and that true story about the Asian math club that cracked card counting in Vegas and so on.

Anyone who is actually upset about the casting had better head on down to the Takarakuza Review and demand that women stop playing men's parts, and the Asians being cast as whites or blacks, or whatever, in other roles be canned as well.

Takarazuka is a small segment of the acting world in Japan. Having women play all the parts is their thing, and there's no shortage of other jobs for male actors. As far as the majority of actors in Japan being Asian, most Japanese movies are set in Japan. Having mostly Asian actors is a fairly accurate representation of their population. More so than the cast of this movie's representation of Hawaii anyway.

More than that though, I think it's a matter of language. Japan makes movies that are geared toward a Japanese audience. Native-level speaking is must for the audience to relate to the characters and be drawn in. When there's more non-Asian but native speakers in Japan (which is already happening), we might see more non-Asian actors in Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

He does say the character was supposed to be frustrated with not "looking like" their ethnicity. There's a high chance she'd look very caucasian with only a quarter chinese blood, depending on what the "hawaii" part is.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Can Hollywood find Asian or Asian looking actors/actresses easily? These people usually become doctors, professors. etc instead of becoming actors if they were born in USA and they speak perfect English. In So Calif, mixture of all sort of ethnicity is not rare. Hollywood moved to Burbank anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think Sony Pictures needs to clean house. Too many execs with inflated salaries making bad decisions while making no money for the company. The typical scenario would be a hostile takeover by some Hollywood crony billionaire or hedge fund CEO after which the company miraculously starts producing mega hit movies..........so Hollywood.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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