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Is Hollywood 'whitewashing' Asian roles?
A live-action movie of the beloved Japanese manga and movie "Akira" could feature white American actors.
January 13th, 2012
01:39 PM ET

Is Hollywood 'whitewashing' Asian roles?

By Stephanie Siek, CNN

(CNN) - America’s embrace of Japanese pop culture, particularly manga and anime, hasn’t resulted in an embrace of Asian and Asian-American actors when those storylines go to Hollywood.

Two upcoming feature films based on Japanese material are already stirring controversy after rumors that white American actors will be cast as characters originally written as Japanese.

Tom Cruise is rumored to be in talks to play the lead role in the Warner Bros. adaptation of Japanese novel “All You Need is Kill,” replacing a Japanese main character. Warner Bros., which is owned by the same parent company as CNN, is also in the pre-production stages of making a live-action version of “Akira,” a graphic novel that was made into a landmark 1988 animated feature film in Japan. All of the actors rumored to be in consideration for the upcoming film’s main characters are white Americans, although casting calls invited actors of “any race” to audition.

That’s troubling to both the series’ devoted fans and advocates of diversity in casting.

Kent A. Ono, a professor of Asian-American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said the practice of casting white actors to play Asians and Asian-American characters has a long history in Hollywood. Until recent decades, this mostly took the form of white actors playing stereotypical representations of Asian characters, such as Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of I.Y. Yunioshi in 1961's “Breakfast at Tiffany’s," Rita Moreno as Tuptim and Yul Brynner as King Mongkut in the 1956 film "The King and I," and Katharine Hepburn as Jade Tan in 1944's "Dragon Seed."

In recent years, Ono said, Asian characters have been replaced with white American versions played by big-name Hollywood stars. It happened with films like the 1960 western, "The Magnificent Seven," which starred Brynner, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson, and was based on the influential 1954 Japanese film by Akira Kurosawa, "Seven Samurai." As Japanese manga and anime have grown more popular, it has happened in films like "Dragonball: Evolution" and "Speed Racer."

“Animation and anime are these interesting contexts, because casting directors, producers and directors can say, ‘Well, the anime character is fictional and not a real live body … and to cast them as another race is OK,’” Ono said.

The result is fewer opportunities for Asian and Asian-American actors who want a shot at a powerful role.

“Not only do Asian-American actors find this a displacement of their ability to work as laborers, as performers in these sort of roles – they also find this an affront to their identity, to their work to overcome racism and be seen as legitimate actors,” Ono said.

Racebending.com, an international grassroots organization founded in 2009, protests what it sees as the “whitewashing” of film roles and pushes for the fair representation of minorities in media. Spokesman Michael Le said that the increasing popularity of manga and anime titles means that movie producers are keen to cash in, but many don't see value in keeping the original Asian characters that made them popular.

“I remember 10 years ago, I could walk into [the comics aisle of] a Barnes and Noble and it would be all western comics, all DC and Marvel. Now I walk in and the Asian section is bigger than the western comics section,” Le said. “Asian culture is enormously popular and acceptable, but the people are not. The people are inconveniently the wrong race, and so whitewashing is a result.”

Le and other fans want the studios to avoid the debacle associated with the 2010 live-action film “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” The M. Night Shamalyan production tanked with critics and fans after being dogged by controversy surrounding its casting. The "Avatar" animated television series, on which the movie was based, takes place in a fantasy world populated by four Asian- and Inuit-based cultures. But the actors for each of the lead roles were white, except one - the villain, played by “Slumdog Millionaire” star Dev Patel. Racebending.com was formed to protest the production’s decision to “racebend” the characters – wordplay that alludes to the element “benders” from the "Avatar" series.

The Warner Bros.' planned live-action adaptation of “Akira” has fans watching closely. According to articles in The Hollywood Reporter and sci-fi blog i09.com, Garret Hedlund was being tapped to play the lead role of Shotaro Kaneda, with Kristen Stewart, Helena Bonham Carter and Ken Watanabe in talks to play other main roles. Except for Watanabe, who is Japanese, all are white.

An unnamed studio insider told the Hollywood Reporter for a January 5 story that preproduction had stopped due to issues related to script, budget and casting. Warner Bros. spokeswoman Jessica Zacholl said the studio had no comment regarding the holdup in production for “Akira” or any rumored casting decisions.

The original Japanese anime version of "Akira," made in 1988, is considered a pinnacle of Japanese animated film. The story revolves around a catastrophic explosion that destroys the city of Tokyo - an explosion which is first implied to be nuclear in origin, a reminder of fears about atomic destruction in Japan since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Fans of the manga and original movie question whether the nuances of a plot so deeply intertwined with Japanese history can survive a setting change to Manhattan.

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Jerry Beck is an animation historian and co-founder of Streamline Pictures, which brought the first screenings of the 1988 production to America. He said studios are underestimating their target market’s attachment to and understanding of Japanese connections to "Akira."

“It’s not just the story of what goes on there, but the story of culture,” Beck said. “I wish them luck, but it sort of cheapens the material. In a way it’s a universal story, but it’s also a very Asian or Japanese story.”

Joe Peacock, a writer and web designer who owns the worlds’ largest private collection of animation cels from the original “Akira” film, said shift anime characters into white characters “is annoying to the point of disrespect.” In disrespecting the source material, he said, the studios are alienating the fan base which could make the movie a success – including Peacock, whose devotion to the movie includes an award-winning "Akira" tattoo that covers his left arm.

“When your billboards are saying bad things about the project, you’ve done something wrong – and that’s all fans really are, is billboards or megaphones for the project,” Peacock said.

Fans are watching what happens with “All You Need is Kill,” too. The original novel focuses on the "Groundhog Day"-like travails of Keiji Kijira, a Japanese soldier in an international army fighting a war against aliens. The character dies, but always awakens to find it's the day before his death. He relives that day until he has amassed the skills and experience to prevent his own death.

In the movie version to be produced by Warner Bros., the character has a new identity – American Billy Cage – and the movie has a new title: “We Mortals Are.” Three of the four actors rumored to be under consideration for the role are white, with Tom Cruise as the speculative front-runner. Also rumored to be in talks were Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Keanu Reeves.

Zacholl said Warner Bros. had no comment about the castings and would not confirm or deny rumors of any decisions related to them.

But in a November 2010 interview with Comingsoon.net, director Doug Liman said the lead actors would be “totally American” instead of Japanese.

But a Racebending.com’s statement on the film points out that even in an American film, a “totally American” cast shouldn't necessarily be entirely white.

“Certainly changes will be made to the story in adaptations, such as setting a story in the United States instead of Japan," Racebending.com states. "What disappoints us is that when these adaptations are reset to America, they do not reflect the diversity of  the United States. Many people are of Asian descent but are also ‘totally American.’”

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Filed under: Asian in America • Discrimination • Ethnicity • How we look • Pop culture • Race • Who we are
soundoff (1,230 Responses)
  1. Tom

    I'm really sorry that we can't make everyone happy, but here is a solution. If you aren't happy in my country, nobody is forcing you to live here or even go back to wherever you consider to be home. I don't want to bend my culture to suit someone elses culture. You moved here for a reason obviously, then you need to follow-through with the action of coming here, and that is to acculturate yourselves to our culture, customs, norms. It isn't the other way around. If you don't want to be here that bad, nobody it forcing you to stay here. By all means, leave. I want countrymen and countrywomen that WANT TO BE here. Not some group of people that isolate themselves from everyone else who is already here, and have nothing to do with them, except sell them liquor or whatever. It would be the same thing if I moved to China. If I lived there, and expected people to put up with me being a constant outsider, and never learning the language, or adapting to Chinese cultural norms, and requirements, they would kick me out or they probably wouldn't include me in their music, movies, tv, everything. Give me a break with this stupid B.S. I know Asians, and they are smarter than this B.S in this article above.

    January 16, 2012 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
    • someoneoneone

      i think the main issue is that Asians aren't being seen as equals if their movie roles are being replaced by white counterparts. of course people wish to believe in the illusion of the great melting pot of america, but the face of america is still white, and so people want to change that.

      January 16, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Funny how you don't want to bend your culture, yet your movies are all based on foreign culture.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Detached HalfBreed

      Your Country sounds like a pretty small minded place. Guess your family still goes to the Pilgrim Church of Plymouth, huh? Still got buckles on your hat, bell barreled blunderbuss, and Puritan beliefs?

      If you haven't "acculturized" to those American "norms" then you are a hypocrite as well as a family raised bigot.

      January 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. GeeEmCee

    Well, you have Clooney and Pitt running things in Hollywood like a dog and pony show – as if they were the center ring or the "hub" if you will with all the spokes running outward toward that various states from Los Angeles as if they it the actual capitol of the United States.

    The nation is in trouble, generally, because of this in fact.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. bp

    Give me a break – Jesus was born in the Middle East, yet he appears in many American Bibles as blue-eyed, fair-skinned and with a long haircut that was not common in the region at the time. Caucasians have done this throughout history the this story is about nothing new.

    January 16, 2012 at 3:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      There is no such thing as whitewashing. It is called acculturation. If you are a foreigner in a new land, you accept a certain amount of self-change. Learning about a new culture is about immersion and being part of the new country, and if not you need to stop worrying about change, and just go back to wherever you consider to be your homeland.. BIG DEAL!!!!.

      January 16, 2012 at 5:54 am | Report abuse |
      • Detached HalfBreed

        Unless you're stealing land from Natives, right? Your ancestors (you sound very white) acculturized to Native life pretty well, huh? Until the genocide began.

        January 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. NorCalMojo

    Those characters sure look white to me.

    January 16, 2012 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. Albeebee

    Well, asian americans are still raised to be humble, senstive and down to earth, qualities deemed more attractive to women in asian societies, but may thought to be boring to a typlical american audience who are more attracted to a more brash and arrogant image. Plus there is a demand for asian actors back in China and I believe there is an exodus of talented asian americans back to the asian entertainment industries. Big moneies are being made there.

    It is not to say an entire asian cast can't make good money in the west. Look at Crouching Tiger, Hero, and the recent Zen ans S_x that smashed all box offices in the west.

    January 16, 2012 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
    • JB Senior

      Some crayons were missing from the box – the previous user ate them.

      January 16, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. Joe

    I knew the moment that someone agreed to play the role of Long Duck Dong that we were screwed. I'm Asian btw.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Nobody is forcing anymore to be here in this country. If you have a hard time adapting yourselves to change, naturally you have my sympathy, but if I decided to move permanently to (let's say...) FRANCE! And I decided well I don't need to learn the language (maybe enough to get by).. and I didn't need to learn about French history at all, because well I don't give a damn because I am not a french person anwyays so who cares, and those French are too self-absorbed anyways to be worried about me so why bother.. And I will just hang out and when nobody wants to talk to me, or include me in their music, or their movie, except for that token obnoxious dumb foreigner role, I'm going to have to DEAL WITH IT because it is my fault for their perspective of me because I refuse to acculturate myself into THEIR country. PERIOD. Yeah, it sucks, spare me your complaints.

      January 16, 2012 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
      • Ed

        Mr. Tom – Your comments about French people shows your true ignorance and color. I understand some of your point but there are merits to the complaints as well. Instead of quickly spewing your hate, why not think first? I am sure you are quite knowledgeable on the Native American culture and you can speak some of their languages as well. Or otherwise, you would have to return back to where you came from, correct?

        January 16, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
      • JOe

        Why are you replying to my comment. It was just inane satire.

        January 17, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • ron

        what are u talking about? long duck dong made me like asians. he was the only asian in a film that had a personality

        February 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paulie

      i liked long duck dong. he should have gotten a spin off movie

      January 22, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jenise

    Where the hell is the "artistic integrity?" I don't want to see a woman in a man's part. Don't want to see an adult role. AND... don't want to see a Caucasian in an Asian role.

    January 16, 2012 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      It is this generation Y b.s. Everyone is a special little snowflake, and we need to enable and empower every single person because they don't get to be part of what everyone else is doing. That is a crap, and these excuses for lazy people that don't want to immerse themselves into my country, and learn my language, learn my country's history, and then get upset that all I know about their culture is some stereotypical idea because they completely isolate themselves as an entire outsider group within my nation.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
      • jeff

        Are you Native American by any chance?

        January 16, 2012 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. Funkyflag

    Well, as much as my following comment may not seem serious and more like a sly joke it's not. For those of you who believe that characters in works of art should always be portrayed as in the same race or ethnicity of the characters in the earlier or original productions would then have to accept the following statement as true in order to not be viewed as a racially biased individual. "Santa Claus could only be portrayed as a white male."

    January 16, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Detached HalfBreed

      The historical St. Nicklaus, or the capitalist holiday Santa? One of them is a figment, the other was white like Jesus.

      January 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. medallon

    This is so ridiculous, when the characters themselves do not look asian, and were designed by asians.

    January 16, 2012 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. nocarenomore

    It's best to be white if you can. That should fix things.

    January 15, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kurt

      This is a stupid comment that is promoting racism.

      January 15, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jenise

      Ditto. This is a stupid comment promoting racism.

      January 16, 2012 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Detached HalfBreed

      After having moved from a southern border town to Oregon, I have learned to call myself white. It's like a Super Power here in the NW.

      January 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • ron

        thats so funny. some halfbreed just validated a comment by a white guy that two asians thought was promoting racism. lol

        March 10, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • ron

        im sure everyone knows u are half asian even tho you call urself white. deep down everyone probably knows you are insecure about who you really are. lol

        March 10, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Seaside Fisher

    actually the whitewashing theory is not completely true. many other film produce in other 'white' country such as UK is reproduce by american.

    January 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kurt

      Actually, if we are to have a sincere conversation about whitewashing in Hollywood then we have to talk about which actors usually get the roles in Asian countries.

      I am a non-Asian American who has lived in Asia for more than 12 years and nobody can dispute that Asians here typically cast the lighter skinned actors for most of the TV and movie roles, the ever present SK-II skin bleaching commercials, as well as posting their pictures on the cover of most fashion magazines. If this is the dangerous game played in Asia then none should be surprised by what happens in Hollywood. Are they just giving you what they think you want?

      I do not defend Hollywood and I cannot see how Tom Thumb Cruise feels he can get by with that crap. It seems as if people like him and Hollywood are using "acting" as a way to get around the issue of whitewashing. I think Cruise has enough opportunities in the movies. Leave some for others to prosper.

      January 15, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • theo

        Kurt,

        I totally agree with you. In asia, asians give preference to lighter skinned asians but then get mad when americans do the same. Alot (not all) asians are taught that lighter skin is better so why get mad when in america they replace an asian role with someone who has lighter skin. i an not saying either way is correct but its good to see that someone else will admit the truth. Skin lightening creams are a 20 billion dollar business in asia.

        January 15, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • paul

        I've lived in Asia and Asians do discriminate against Blacks and other dark skin asians, now they are upset because they are being discriminated against in the USA. They wnt their cake and eat it too.

        January 16, 2012 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
      • Brian

        Paul,

        Asian-Americans born and raised in America are different from someone born and raised in China. They're no more responsible for racism happening back in Asia then you are for your ancestors enslaving Africans. Don't make sweeping generalizations or you might come off looking like an ignoramus. #toolate

        January 16, 2012 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
      • Kim

        Kurt, Theo and Paul I think that it is necessary too to consider the cultural differences as well in this argument. Yes, Asians in Asia prefer lighter skin, but that has been around before the influence of Western culture. Fair skin was desired because it meant that you were of a higher class; it meant that you were wealthy enough to not have to work outside in the sun (which tanned your skin).

        Equating this phenomenon to Caucasians having lighter skin doesn't really match up.

        And I agree with Brian, Asian-Americans born in North America are different from Asians born in Asia. I am an Asian American female and my older relatives used to comment negatively on my "dark skin." At the same time, my North American friends (both Asian and non-Asian) were jealous of my tanned skin.

        There are many different cultures at play here and I think it's unfair to generalize without considering the various contexts that exist.

        January 16, 2012 at 4:26 am | Report abuse |
      • James

        Kim and Brian,

        "Asian-Americans born and raised in America are different from someone born and raised in China"

        If a white person had said that, you guys would be calling him/her a racist. You guys want it both ways. You are OK with racism until its directed at you.You say, well Asians in Asia are racist but its just a cultural thing, but you say that because it doesnt affect you, but then you complain about hollywood because it does affect you. I've been to Asia many times, for long periods of times, and you can not dispute that Asia's movie and tv industry prefers lighter skin actors/actress but then you guys come here and bash hollywood for doing the same. Maybe hollywood's preference to casting whites in asian roles is just a 'cultural' thing that you should just get used to and stop whinning about it.

        January 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Matt

    As long as the women are Asian, its cool with me.

    January 15, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chris Frierson

    The M to the I to the Double T! Gimme that that that Newt... Gimme that Gimme that Gimme that Newt! Santorums, Mount up! (Gangsta Reps!)

    January 15, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Micki

    I'm Filipino and while I do agree there is a whitewashing, there aren't enough decent Asian actors to put in these roles. Other than Ken Watanabe, there are no other Asian male actors that the same level as Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Christian Bale, etc. Every movie that I see where an Asian actor has a non-stereotypical role, they totally bomb it, for example Gran Torino. The Asians there were terrible actors, but had such a great opportunity to bust out of the stereotype.

    January 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin Thai

      But that's not the point. Asian American are (1) not considered "American" and (2) aren't even given the chance to audition.

      January 15, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kurt

        Keven,

        I do not think that the American society considers Asian Americans to be un-American. I think that pressure from within the Asian-American community to remain "Asian" is a big part of the matter. Many Asian parents want their children to honor "Asian" rather than "American" values when in fact they are one and the same.

        January 15, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zoe

      That's nonsense. There are plenty of talented Asian actors in Hollywood, just as there are actors of every race. The problem is the studios, that don't want to see Asian actors cast in film and television. This is no different than Bruce Lee conceiving of the show "Kung Fu", only for the studios to steal the idea and give the lead role to David Carradine. Bruce Lee may have posthumously finally broken into the American film market, only to create additional stereotypes that other Asians still can't break through in the business – i.e. the martial arts star, foreign exchange student, etc. It's a shame that with all that societal progress, this is still going on – not just with Asians, but Native Americans and countless other minority groups that have been marginalized.

      January 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • nocarenomore

      Remember now, white men feel threatened by good-looking Asian men.

      January 15, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Conquistador

      Filipinos don't count.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
  15. Chris Frierson

    There was a time when all white people started moving out of metropolitan centers as they were afraid thier white daughters would have S E X with black men, and thier sons would want to be black as well. Then, thankx to the American media, IT HAPPENED ANYWAY! But all we Ever see are white people on screen, Right? Better tell that to denzel, cuba, morgan, queen, halle, lucy, jet, jackie, ect. Please stop telling me I should be guilty because I have a bias towards White/Anglo Saxon culture. If I dont watch a movie, its because i feel it doesnt appeal to me. It could be the greatest movie ever, but if it doesnt look appealing im never going to go see it to be able to make that judgment. As such, the movie buisiness panders to the largest group of people who will use/watch thier product. Ie, the MAJORITY! Wow, what a concept! Dont like it, start your own movie company and make whatever you want with whoever you want. Hell cast Chaz Bono as Easy E, with George Lopez as Ice Cube, Jackie Chan as Dr Dre, and Mitt Romney as Snoop. If it sells, more power to you.

    January 15, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin Thai

      Lucy, Jet, and Jackie are not American citizens. They're already established international stars.

      January 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • Eric

        Lucy Liu is indeed an American citizen. She was born in Queens.

        January 16, 2012 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  16. Sam

    After reading the comments. It shows how arragant and ignorant americans are. No wonder the country is going down the drain.

    January 15, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      You are soooo right. I'm sure there are a lot of no name actors out there that more than willing to get there chance at acting for either one of these movies. That's why Hollywood is running out of ideas, Hollywood will just about anything for the all mighty dollar. $h!t all over any storyline, as long as they can make their bottom dollar.

      January 15, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Chris Frierson

    There should be a rule, if you use the race card but are unable to show actual prejudice, not just bias, they get immediatly deported out of the country to a country they choose who will accept them. If no country will, then ship them to liberia, no one wants to live there anyway!

    January 15, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • liz

      So if you decide someone has not experienced prejudice, (not that you could know what others experience) that they have been treated like less than a human being, you want to treat them as if they are subhuman trash that should be thrown away. You do realize that you are a prime example of a racist bigotted a$$ don't you?

      January 15, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kurt

      Liberia has nothing to do with your rant. FAIL!

      January 16, 2012 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  18. Tensai13

    Yeah – and how come young black women hotties are all played by latinas? It's an outrage – yawn.

    January 15, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • nocarenomore

      There are no real black women "hotties." Black women are the least desired, haven't you heard? White men are second, but they've got all the cash and power.

      January 15, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kurt

      Maybe because their is plenty of African culture in South and Central American culture? Just saying.

      January 16, 2012 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Janice Lu

      i think asian men are least desired

      January 16, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  19. vicky

    the real reason asians are being cast in hollywood is because the viewer needs to relate to the character and everyone knows that asians are boring. Thats why Blacks get roles because they know how to entertain. This is an entertainment industry. No one will pay $12 to see a movie starring some asian guy. Its not sellable.

    January 15, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      That is simply stupid. Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee captivated western audiences. You're simply an ignorant racist.

      January 15, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin Thai

      One of the top (and at one point, the #1) person on YouTube is HigaNiga. Look him up. You know what's entertaining from what the media shows you. The media is the filter.

      January 15, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • zodasoda

      Yeah, you're definiately racist. The reason why people arent willing to pay $12 to watch a movie with Asian male character is that Hollywood never gave them that chance. And thus, people are not used to it. 20 years ago, a Black guy playing as a main character would never have been found 'acceptable' nor 'entertaining'. After media stopped being closed off to Black men, lots of Black men were able to achieve stardom BECAUSE they were given the opportunity.

      People like you are the reason why problems like this exist, especially towards Asian males. Asian females have gotten their spotlight & acceptance in the recent decade, Asian males still have not.

      January 15, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • les

        well in Asia, all of the roles are offered light skin asians.Kinda the same thing. Alot of Asians bleach their skin because they thik its better to be white, so dont get mad when americans here discriminate against sins for not being light enough. you guys do it also.

        January 16, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Kurt

      That may be true to some extent in the theaters, but not when it comes to good TV. I am not sure how young you are but back when I was growing up in Philly you couldn't catch a black kid in the "hood" without a pair of numb-chucks, a Chinese collared shirt, while imitating EACH AND EVERYTHING they saw on the Saturday Kung Fu shows. 99% of the actors were not previously known in Hollywood. Yet, they were grand stars to us. You even hear endless references to Chinese culture in EVERY Wu Tang song. Am I lying?

      Black kids were absolutely going nuts over anything Asian, Chinese in particular. Just ask anyone over forty if I lie. I even thought that the North Pole was actually Taiwan as whenever I checked the labels from housewares to garments it always seemed to read "Made in Taiwan".

      That said, reality and a great deal of disappointment set in once some people started to realize that the ethnic admiration did not exactly flow both ways. We were embracing Asian culture but never saw Asians interacting with blacks in real life. We noticed their preferences and that was always a the subject of in-depth conversations in the same circles. Those kids ended up feeling they got jipped (Got an unfair exchange. Loyalty for nothing).

      I think that pretty much helped to stifle the growth of marketable Asian entertainment in some circles. Additionally, blacks spend proportionally more of their disposable income on movie ticket sales than most other groups. Yet, I believe that a change in relations would do wonders to increase marketable interests in one another once again. There is no hate. Just ongoing confusion. For instance, the image problems were set back even further when blacks misunderstood how Asian merchants were simply trying to convey respect whenever they placed money on the counter rather than placing a customer's change in their hands. Blacks mistook that as Asians wanting to avoid physical contact with them.

      Take it easy people because the future is what we make it. If we want things to get better we have to act as better and informed citizens.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:00 am | Report abuse |
  20. fletch

    correction... "they are"

    January 15, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  21. fletch

    Those damn Hollywood Jews...! First they won't market "Black" movies and now their whitewashing the Asians...

    January 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  22. mike6

    orientals are funny looking

    January 15, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  23. CNN - the dumbing down of news

    Laurence Fishburne is said to be cast as the next Perry White, the head of the Daily Planet, in the upcoming movie.

    Oh no!!! Is CNN going to do anything about this?!?!? Superman, save us!!!

    Personally, who gives a damn who does what. The only problem I have with Laurence doing White is that White was an old, scrawny character in the comics, and to me, Laurence Fishburne is the epitome of bad-ass (thanks to The Matrix for spoiling us). I would've preferred Laurence as Zod.

    Spider-Man going black in the comics, BatGirl going gay – really, who gives a damn? As long as the news prints this crap, America won't turn the page on diversity.

    January 15, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  24. AT

    I doubt any Asians are worrying about topics like this... too busy inventing stuff and being successful, but thanks for looking out.

    January 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Conquistador

      Too busy doing nails and hair cuts.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
  25. alan of montreal

    They forgot to mention Gale Sondergaard in The Letter, Marlon Brando in Teahouse of the August Moon, and Paul Muni and Luise Rainer in The Good Earth (not to mention all the actors who've played Charlie Chan) as being among some of the more famous examples of whites playing Asians. I personally don't have a problem if it's an adaptation of an Asian work into an American version, such as the Tom Cruise vehicle mentioned above. It's when they take Asian characters, keep their Asian names, then cast non Asian actors (such as the Akira remake apparently does) that I see as problematic.

    January 15, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  26. ME223

    I've notice some change in hollywood but not much. Slumdog Millionaire was successfull hollywood movie played by all indian actors. I've also notice the pop music industry is dominate mostly by blacks..

    January 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Dale Vegas

    They make movies to make money, and they cast actors who they think they will make the most money with. So the decision of the studio is to make the movie with actors who will draw viewers, or not make the movie at all...end of story...

    January 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • andy

      so basically you are saying is that the studios and producers are responsible for spreading racism.

      actually I think you're right about that

      January 15, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Adam

    I like how the author did not bring up Prince of Persia, having a white guy play a persian prince who doesnt look persian at all and doesnt bring into account any real authentic persian cultural things!

    January 15, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  29. George

    Does cnn.com run any stories that aren't about how the Man has his whip on the back of every nonwhite in America?

    January 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Captain Obvious

      Yes. Occasionally, they will run stories on how Apple has its whip on Microsoft.

      January 15, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Nick

    Unfortunately Hollywood is still very racist against Arabs, Indians and Asians. These ethnic groups rarely if ever get any roles.

    Whites and blacks dominate America today and don't want to give any other group a chance. Thank god Asia is rising. Soon the balance of power will be restored!

    January 15, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • scott

      That is because evidently they're not supposed to have any roles that weren't specifically written for their race. I mean, judging by the complaint in this article.

      January 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • JC

      Black Americans neither dominate America nor Hollywood. Were you not paying attention when Countrywide settled in a case for systematic loan discrimination against Black Americans? Don't you notice that aside for a 3 to 4 black actors, most black actors are forced into stereotypical roles? When was the last time you saw a Black actor (I aside from the 3 or 4 usuals that worked for years to break through) playing a role that was not specifically designed for a Black person and did not evoke some stereotype or cliche? Don't confuse visibility with dominance?

      January 15, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Anna

    YES!! THANK GOD THEY AREN'T DOING BLEACH!!!! OR NARUTO!!!!

    I say these movies that are American copies SUCK!!! like Avatar!!! My little sister even said it was terrible!!!!!!! and Dragonball Evolution too!!! i saw the commercial and Bulma DOESN'T HAVE BROWN HAIR ITS BLUE A TOTALLY DIFFERENT COLOR!!!

    January 15, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  32. SocialReason

    Siek fails to mention that Kurasawa himself made movies based on western stories; Throne of Blood was based on Macbeth, Ran – King Lear, Kagamusha – The Prince and the Pauper. None of those movies had western actors. If Akira is moved to a western setting with western names for the characters, I don't see what the problem is. If the director keeps the setting in Tokyo, but uses western actors, then he raises problems with believability and bad storytelling.

    January 15, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  33. OrangeW3dge

    Hollywood movies are merely the mechanical manifestation of Theatre. And Theatre is the physical manifestation of imagination. It has never been possible to directly convey our thoughts to another, so we use devices such as theatre, language, painting, and music. None of these are a perfect medium, and each on requires the audience's forgiveness. Traditionally, there have always been critics. The Greeks, Shakespeare's, and Kabuki theatre have all used only male actors from within their troops. If they needed an actor for a female role, a younger man would be used. If they portrayed a character from another race, makeup and costumes were employed. Yet, now, we can change those conventions because we can complain on websites and cellphones ? ? ?

    January 15, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Jeff

    As a European-American, I don't see that it is such a big deal.

    January 15, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Kinda like

    It's like saying they're making a film about Martin Luther King Jr. and having an Asian guy play it. They have every right but doesn't really work

    January 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Alejandro Sins

    How are Mexican-American portrayed? The whole concept of Hollywood is to perpetual the white, or I mean the white colonist interpretation of what they perceive as celebrity material. This whole nonsense that equality has been somehow instilled is ridiculous the representation doesn't reflect the true demographics. Consider yourself lucky if you're even casted as the black token guy, as suppose to the weakly Asian stereotype guy or the Mexican maid.

    Hollywood just plain racist.

    January 15, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Sergey Nikolayev

    It is very good idea to regulate Hollywood!

    January 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  38. CNN Rubbish

    "Kent A. Ono, a professor of Asian-American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said the practice of casting white actors to play Asians and Asian-American characters has a long history in Hollywood."

    Kent, I think this why they call it ACTING. I think the observation that needs to be made is why is there a practice of giving someone like this a job as a professor?

    January 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • choco bumbs

      What do they do in China when they need to have white or african roles? Oh wait, they probably just pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist.

      January 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kim Jong Il

        No, you must be thinking about North Korea.

        January 15, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Callie K.

      I'm curious if you have as little problem with the practice of blackface as you do the practice of yellowface. Having white actors color their faces to play black characters primarily revolved not around a lack of potential black actors but a condescension toward giving black folks jobs.

      [If somebody gets smart and points out Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder I'll point out in advance that he was sending up the practice of blackface and Brandon T. Jackson spends a lot of the movie expressing how folks feel about that practice nowadays.]

      Yellowface is the same thing. You don't want to scout an Asian actor? Get a white person. No one can tell the difference, right? Except the excuses I've heard out of people's mouths are literally "There are barely any Asian actors in America" and "Asians can't act." This isn't a matter of just being too lazy to scout Asian actors, it's a matter of ugly bigotry and condescension toward a significant part of the American population.

      Taking it down a notch, not only is it bigoted and unnecessary but it leads to seeing the same or very same looking white Hollywood leads cast in everything. Even Asian films. I have such a fill-in for the assumed features of same looking white dudes I remember my slight confusion after the film Pearl Harbor when someone pointed out to me Matt Damon was not, in fact, the other lead character (before going back to not caring since I try to keep stories/characters separate from Hollywood in my head). It's hard enough to sort out some of these generic Hollywood plotlines from each other without casting a clone army.

      January 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Ian

    If you examine Hollywood's history, there always has been horrible stereotyping within films. It's just the target has changed over the years, based on which group it's socially acceptable to do this to. Today, misandry is totally acceptable, as is stereotyping of Asians.
    In the end, Hollywood California never learns or betters itself. It just re-arranges the same old inaccurate stupidity in different forms. For all the talk of that region of the US being "progressive", it's actually one of the worst offenders of all, and has certainly caused some of the most influential damage in regards to popularizing various forms of prejudice.

    January 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • choco bumbs

      If you look at much of hte world, the US's so called "racism" is a joke. The US only gets heat for it because it actually deals with it. Other countries just deny it exists. Single culture countries have no "racism" because they only have one race. Their racism is in their nationalism.

      January 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • pretty

        Thank you Choco Bumbs. Time and time again I read about how its always the americans who are the screw ups but its only because the americans pull it out of the open. The english claim that they are so much better yet in the same sentence they say the americans have taken every thing they do from the english. Which leads me to believe this is another issue the english have that the americans have put in the forefrount.

        January 15, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  40. leradron

    as an asian american myself i don't see the big deal about this

    January 15, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • chritophe

      If you don't see a big deal, you will never see asians playing main character in hollywood...period.

      January 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • VampireJack

        Yeah because Jackie Chan and Jet Li are so typically white trash ain't they?

        January 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ryan

        @VampireJack

        Yeah but all of the films they're in for American audiences has them doing kung fu. Almost 100 percent. How often do you see an Asian male romantic lead in a film that's meant for general audiences? Off the top of my head, I can't even think of one...

        January 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  41. WhiteManMustDie

    What's weirder than seeing an Asian cowboy is a white guy in a karate uniform – trying to act all Bruce Lee – HOTSY TOTSY HA!! Always found it amusing.

    January 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • choco bumbs

      So Asians walk around in karate uniforms as their culture?

      January 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      so i'm going to say it. Chuck Norris who was trained by the big man looks funny in a karate gi right? Your comments are the most backward out of anyone I see on here.

      January 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  42. sam

    Yup Brynner was of part Buryal-Mongol ancestry, and Keanu Reeves is part Hawaiian and part Chinese, how are these people not asian enough? This makes no sense.

    January 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • ZnHcats

      Keanu Reeves was born in the US and abandoned by his Chinese father at the early age, and later raised by his mother. It's difficult for him to adopt the Chinese culture. I'm not sure Yul Brynner's background, may be he was also born in this country and knew little about his Mongol culture as well.
      Hollywood should have given more opportunities to the American-Asian who want to pursue their acting career like the other ethics do. We've a diversified cultures in this country.

      January 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • ZnHcats

        sorry should be "adapt", instead of "adopt"

        January 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • choco bumbs

        I agree and mainland China should have more lead white acting roles.

        January 15, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • in Asia

        Before I moved to Asia, I would have agreed with you. I grew up with many Asian American friends. But you know what, I have experienced a lot of discrimination here in Asia. I hate being called 老外 or 外國人 in front of my face. It bothers me when people ask my Asian boyfriend 是不是外國人的女生比較開放? or people asking 妳每天吃麥當勞嗎?對啊,從出生那一天我開始吃漢堡,到現在都沒有吃過其他的。==
        I don't feel welcome here at all. Why should the US have to accept Asians and the (wonderful) Chinese culture, but you think we are all stupid and can never learn Chinese. In Asian movies sometimes we still 洋鬼子 and in your countries bad things are written about us in your books 中國人比西方人謙虛的多。(哪裡??) I guess it's okay because we are too stupid to ever learn to read them. I have tried very hard to assimilate here but you only judge me based on my race. You must reflect on how you portray us in your own countries. You laugh at us when we ride in the same elevator. And then you want to take over our own movies. Why don't you just be honest that you feel we are inferior. We need a place to live and feel good about ourselves too. At least we have multi-ethnic models in our countries. Your pride is too high to admit that any besides an Asian is attractive. My daughter is half-Asian and some idiot made a comment that 'Your daughter is much prettier than she would be if she were all Caucasian.' Thanks for saying that my daughter is pretty, but don't down my race. 華人也必須要反省一下,不要看不起我們,記得在你們的國家,你們也看不起我們。

        Here are some corrections on the English in your e-mail.
        Keanu Reeves was born in the US and abandoned by his Chinese father at AN early age and later raised by his mother. It WOULD BE difficult for him to adopt Chinese culture (or adapt to). I'm not sure ABOUT Yul Brynner's background, maybe he was also born in this country and knew little about his Mongolian culture as well. (WOULD IT BE HIS CULTURE IF HE WAS BORN IN THE US)
        Hollywood should GIVE more opportunities to American-Asians who want to pursue their acting careerS like it does to other ETHNICITIES. We've a diversified cultures in this country. (YOU DON'T SOUND LIKE A PART).

        January 15, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vina

      I did the math once. Keanu Reeves is 1/8th Hawaiian and has a part-Chinese grandmother. At most he's 1/4th Asian, depending on how you count the Hawaiian. More importantly you wouldn't know Reeves was part anything if you weren't told. He's passed as Caucasian for most of his career, a luxury most Asian-American actors don't have.

      January 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tony

        only n asian would say its a luxury to pass for being white. you must be a real loser to sit around and figure out how much asian keanu reeves has in him

        January 15, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Andrew

    Oh the smell of ignorance it drives me to these forums, like a capitalist to money. 90% of the movies that come out of Hollywood of late have been down right terrible. Akira will bomb. With all these re-envisioning or remakes planned.. I guess I wont be heading to the theaters for years to come. I finally watched Transformers 2 .. holy hell, it was the worst piece of crap I've ever watched. I love transformers but Michael Bay ruined everything.

    January 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      You're late to the party. Akira has been shelved and isn't coming out anytime soon.

      January 15, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  44. DRC

    Some of this may be true but then some of the examples are a stretch too. To say something like the Magnificent 7 is a slight to Asians, or other stories that have been made by Hollywood, is just looking for something to complain about. Westerns were big in the day so why not take a great story and adapt it. If Tom Cruise if popular and you want to make money you use him. Not every thing is racist.

    January 15, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Obviously I'm not going to read all 900+ comments, so this is just a general response to people. As an Asian-American male, I have long been perturbed by the emasculation of Asian males in entertainment, primarily Hollywood. I understand that many of you that are white may find this annoying, don't understand this, think it's paranoia, etc. I can appreciate that it's difficult for white males to feel that they're bombarded with anti-racism propaganda while being discouraged from displaying white-pride. I understand that it's all frustrating, and to you, articles like these are just another example of paranoid minorities.

      However, please try to understand that being a minority in America, whether black, yellow, brown, actually can be difficult in various ways. No, we do not live in the 1960's South anymore, thank God, but there are many subtle forms of racism that exist in this country, as well as not so subtle. One of the subtle forms is prevalently found in the entertainment industry. When is the last time an Asian actor was found in a leading role? If they were, have you ever seen an Asian male have a love interest in entertainment? And now we have examples that this article is highlighting – these roles were intended for Asians, and Asian males are once again looked over for white actors. Sure, there are no big Asian male actors that will draw names, but by continually passing over Asian males in leading acting roles, you deny them the opportunity to become ticket-selling names. Hollywood and entertainment have perpetuated this cycle.

      Before getting defensive about white actors, please try to humbly understand the frustrations of Asians and minorities. Simple facts – what ethnic group controls most of the money in this country? What are most of our CEOs? What are most of our leading entertainers? Most of them are white, and while there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this, it does at the least create a mental uphill climb for minorities – some more so than others. So when Hollywood constantly portrays us Asians as having accents, and not truly being American, it gets annoying. Furthermore, Hollywood subtly has us Asians in only supporting roles, devoid of romance, testosterone-deprived, etc. It all gets frustrating. Since the black movement has gained much more steam, and deservedly so, let's correlate to them. These Asian movies with white leading roles is like the equivalent of movies being made about the NBA and hip-hop, and all the leading roles are white. Wouldn't you find that odd? Would you understand black people's frustrations?

      January 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jen

        @ Paul – Great post. I'm a white female, but I have long been irritated with Hollywood's "whitewashing." I am somebody who can't stand the race card being thrown around when clearly no racism is being shown, but in this case the entertainment industry is totally in the wrong. Asians have been reduced to martial arts experts, math geeks, and comic relief (The Hangover? Ugh). There are a few exceptions but in general that's the way it is. It shouldn't be acceptable and I hope more articles like this one come out.

        January 15, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really Jersey

      So, Holywood(that's sarcasm not a typo) couldn't find enough "real" Native Americans. to act in westerns for decades? Plus they created stereotypes in the costuming, behavior, & culture that we still cannot get rid of today. The kind of racism decried during civil rights is still perfectly acceptable in Holywood. The damage they did to our perceptions of different cultures still lingers. Heck, we had people trotting out the drunken Indian stereotype just this week when a father turned to his tribe for help in regaining custody of his baby from a white couple. Holywood has been using those tired old excuses of yours, way too long. There are plenty of Asian actors just like there were plenty of Native American actors in holier than thou Holywood. It's time for an Asian star in an Asian flick..

      January 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  45. yippee-ky-aaahhhh

    whitemanmustdie....i agree...a wigger trying to be black...i have never understood why someone born white would ever want to be black,or try to act black...

    January 15, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • OrangeW3dge

      or anyone wanting to be white...

      January 15, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  46. yippee-ky-aaahhhh

    you must admit,nothing looks stranger than an asian cowboy.

    January 15, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seymour

      Muscle bound, deeply tanned with a scraggy beard and wearing nothing but a cowboy hat positioned on a nice pile of hay? Listen.........some stereotypes were meant to be busted.

      January 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Too make people think

    Let me tell you the story of the little white girl who came home from school in tears devastated. Her mom asked her "honey whats wrong, what has you so sad?" and the little girl responded "I tried to join the african american club at school and was told I didn't belong and couldn't join." her mom comforted her, held her and soothed her. The next day the little white girl came home again from school, in tears, devastated and again her mom asked her "Honey whats wrong, what has you so sad?"
    and the little girl replied "I tried to join the spanish club at school and was told I didn't belong". Her mom comforted, held and soothed her daughter.
    On the third day, yet again in tears came home her mom gringed as she asked "honey whats wrong, what has you so sad?" the little girl responded I tried to join the asian club but I was told no I didn't belong".. her mother soothed her, comforted her and held her.
    The next day the little white girl went back to school thinking she understood and had a plan. That day the mom was called into the principles office as she walked in the door she saw her little girl in tears, sobbing uncontrollably. She asked the little girl what happened and the VP answered for her "It seems your daughter wants to start a white club, we find this highly disturbing and not something we want to promote here at this school." The daughter looked to her mom and said "mommy, I don't get it, they all get to have clubs and exclude people but when I try to do the exact same thing I get in trouble... mommy I don't understand"
    The mother glaring at the VP but holding her tongue, for she knew it would do no good and only make things worse held at her hand to her daughter. On the way home the mother tried to explain to her daughter that sometimes life isn't fair... and one day she would understand.

    anyone see the moral problems of this story? On all fronts everyone is told this race can't hate this race and its reverse racist if someone hates whites... racism is racism regardless of what color you are. I had to toss this in here for all the I hate whites and other racism comments on this post. I think this post is designed to get everyone to think about things, not to cause race to fight race..

    January 15, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • WhiteManMustDie

      YAAAAAAWWWNN.

      January 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gwen Corbitt

      What is not fair morally or legally is that the white girl was stopped from joining any of the clubs. The people in the clubs were full of hatred. Anyone should be able to join any club of their choosing. For example. If an Asian wants to join an Black club, the forcus on the awareness of the Black Club, not Asian. If a black person joins a white club then the awareness on white culture not black culture. In other words, the focus is on the people whose the club is named after but anyone can join

      January 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • liz

      OMG I am so sad about the made up story that NEVER HAPPENED. You know where the white club is? It is every single day for 90% of kids who are surrounded by all things white and wonderful. Why does it offend you that people who are regularly stereotyped and treated like crap might want to spend a few minutes a week talking to other people who understand them.

      January 15, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Lovecraft

    Racism is a concept perpetuated by people that use hate as a way to get fame, infamy, money etc.. Don't buy into it. Hollywood is only racist if you choose to believe so. If you all would just start ignoring this racism crap – it'd go away... let it go.. stop thinking about it and it will cease to exist. A bit like the current economic crisis, stop fretting and it will go away..

    January 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  49. No Need to Guess

    I say we go a few years opposite effect! And, see how that turns out! So, if its currently 85% white now, make it 85% minority for 10 years. Any one opposed, You hypocrites and bigots don't get a vote!

    January 15, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      No hablo español.

      January 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • VampireJack

      Dude, it sounds like it's YOU who is the bigot here by presuming that white people are bothered about skin colour.
      Do yourself a favour and look at YOURSELF first before throwing around insults.

      January 15, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  50. jazz

    that's really sad. but i'm not surprised. that's piece of crap hollywood for us all. but i'm sure in the future, this will not be a problem.

    January 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Brent Blomquist

    Clint Eastwood had plenty of Asians in "GranTorino". It depends on the subject matter. People are too sensitive.

    January 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • amen

      I vote for putting the best actor in there so that it is fun to watch, I have enough 'lessons'

      January 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      And the Asian family in the movie was portrayed as fresh off the boat...

      January 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vina

      And we've never seen any of them in anything since.

      January 15, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  52. WhiteManMustDie

    Nothing sounds more STUPID than a white guy trying to talk Black or sound "street". No originality.

    January 15, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pepito6

      You are one of the reasons why racism still exists. What would you say if my user name were BlackManMustDie? Or AsianManMustDIe? or IndianManMustDie? You are just a hypocrite.

      January 15, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  53. johnkeating

    The U.S. is unique among nations in that some Americans do deliberately seek high diversity and 'integration' among those diverse cultural groups. I guess they call this ideology 'multi-culturalism'. shrugs. Not too many other nations try to achieve this. I'm not sure why the U.S. seeks this aggressively as it does. Some racial/cultural mixing does occur naturally between peoples of some nations, but not on the scale that they try to achieve in the U.S. Is it to try to unite all people under one umbrella somehow? I don't know. I guess seeking diversity might be ok, but you're not going to please everybody, because everyone is going to want a piece of the pie.

    January 15, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Mbrowns

      Except unlike many of those 'other countries' the United States was multicultural from the beginning. Get the difference?

      January 15, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Pepito6

        Actually the US was *not* multicultural from the beginning. Read your history. Until recent decades most immigrants were Europeans.

        January 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        @pepito6, the guy said "multi-cultural," not multi-racial. The Dutch and Irish are two different cultures, but not of different races.

        January 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cam

      Pretty interesting let me expand on it by saying. Is America a test for what they want the entire world to become?

      January 15, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Pepito6

        Hopefully not. Huge deficit,good for nothing in Congress, ACLU bickering... you name it...

        January 15, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • jazz

      that is so ignorant. we ARE a multicultural country, so ignoring entire populations of people makes no sense!

      January 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Nick

    The Akria movie's been scrapped. Glad to know CNN does their research.

    January 15, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • cynthia hicks

      it has? WAIII WAIII WAIIII! やった!! やった!! (int) hooray, whee, Hot dog!, ETC.
      If you can't do it right,,, then DON'T do it at all.

      January 15, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vina

      It's being retooled. They're trying to figure out how to make it for a smaller budget.

      January 15, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Dan

    I guess Jackie Chan's busy?

    January 15, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • cynthia hicks

      umm Chan is way too old...

      I know this film VERY well...
      The 2 main Chrs in it are...
      Shotaro Kaneda age 16 and Tetsuo Shima. Age: 15. I don't care how good Hollywood makeup is,,, there aint enough to make Chan or Cruise look like teens...

      January 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  56. nateium

    White people are a minority on this planet and Asians are the majority. There's no white guilt or historical legacy with East Asians, and as a group they are doing just fine in Hollywood and in every other sphere of society. Asians are over 5% of the US population and it appears to me that at least 5% of the roles in American TV/movies are Asian!
    Are Asians typecast? Certainly some of the time, but what this article doesn't present us with is some real research on the issue. Without any real info, this is all just whining.

    January 15, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Kam

      Where's is your research? That still doesn't explain why movies based on true stories (21, Hachiko) replace the Asian actors with White ones!! I have no problem watching a movie with a cast full of Asian actors and Hollywood needs to learn that many other people don't. The funny thing is Hollywood is quite upfront with it's racism and acknowledges it, so it's funny to see the mental gymnastics people use to defend them.

      January 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Cam

    This isn't new at all. This is how our media operates. Asians are now the biggest threat to America. So they make movies like Avatar and keep the villians as asians and the heroes as white. They are making you see Asia as the enemy when they really are not. Subconsciously society in America is being told to view them as almost less than human. It's what they did to black people a long time ago. They are literally seen as animals in America. No matter what their social status is. Again not all white people are like this or even on this level of thinking. You can't even blame white people honestly the vast majority are very innocent. However, my theory was made eerily apparent when I took my good white friend with me to an upper class Jazz club and he couldn't have been more uncomfortable. The crowd being predominantly black middle class. Nothing to be afraid of yet he was. Why? Like I said not his fault at all, but this is how powerful the media is =(

    January 15, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  58. nateium

    How often do Europeans (white people?) appear in "Asian" film? And, are they typecast?

    January 15, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Ahem... Christian Bale... got TOP billing in a new movie from China. Adrien Brody is also appearing in another film from the same Country... from what I understand, also casted as one of main characters.

      Personally, I watch movies from all over the world, so maybe you should your facts first?

      January 15, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
      • Nateium

        Mike. Facts don't come with question marks, and examples don't satisfy the question of "how often.". There are plenty of examples of Asians in Hollywood. The complaint is about how often they appear

        January 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob A. Boohee

      Why are asian people such bad drivers?

      January 15, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
      • tank

        Asian are not bad drivers. Asian share the road; they don't think they own the road and drive like everybody has to get out of their way. Learn from them ;).

        January 15, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        They are not. It's actually you who's not driving correctly, so from your perspective, they become the bad drivers. Next time you crash into one, let them know that you're sorry, and you just didn't happen to see them swerving into your lane all of a sudden. Then tell them, it's unfortunate that you don't have Jedi reflexes, but you would like to learn the way of the Force from them.

        January 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • it is you who are driving incorrectly?

        in my wife's case she didn't learn until she was 27 and came over on an academic scholarship

        be nice, share the road and realize the world doesn't revolve around you

        January 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • manchurian canidate

        glad you agree

        January 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • aqa

        did your momma suck your dick when you were a little boy

        January 16, 2012 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  59. ah

    its not about race it is about who is the better actor. If i was making a movie and was casting, whoever played and portrayed the role would get the part. Acting is a tough business and has no room for anyone who is too sensitive.

    January 15, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  60. John Schweiker

    This is a common phenomenon in asian adaptations of american film and cartoons as well– does Racebending.com object to when properties like the X-Men and Batman are given the anime treatment?

    January 15, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • white man is evil

      how come a man didn't get to play Margaret Thatcher? How come whites don't get to play Malcom X or Muhammed Ali?

      really CNN find something else to report

      January 15, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
      • Canada_kun

        Because they aren't talking about replacing roles that are traditionally white. They couldn't name an instance where an Asian onscreen in a major Hollywood picture had played a white historical role because it hasn't happened. The point is that roles from history or traditional asian media sources have preffered whites over Asians in every instance in order to "Americanize" the role however they keep the context of the source material while painting a lilly white picture that doesn't actively reflect America. To say that Asian Americans are somehow less American that whites is I think an openly racist concept.

        January 15, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vina

      I've actually seen a few of these. The properties are redone in the anime style, They don't replace Tony Stark or Blade with Asian people all of a sudden.

      January 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Ben

    When Hollywood made "The Grudge" or even the Magnificent 7, should they have cast all Asians? If a theater Group in Nagasaki puts on McBeth, should they look for Scottish and English actors? This is about money and practicality.

    January 15, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Canada_kun

      Which again implies that there are not Asians actors in America. None of them are prohibitively expensive I assure you. For a story like 21 or Extraordinary Measures, or Howl why couldn't you find an American to play an Asian American? Those stories don't loose their context because they accurately reflect the race and nationality of the people in the real story. The people in the story were asian yes but Asian Americans.

      January 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Sheila

    In movies based on books, if the book doesn't state a race or a culture, Hollywood should be more creative. But if it is based on a certain race, or a certain country, then we should use actors that match.

    January 15, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  63. MG.

    Hollywood liberals are racists too! Typically, they don't like asians, because they're educated, have a good work ethic, are successful in most of their endeavors and are not easily fooled by liberal ideologies ...oh yes and being good business people not willing to have their wealth redistributed by socialist doesn't help them with hollywierd either!!! ...LOL

    January 15, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  64. Grovian

    Jesus is usually played by a white guy which he was not.

    January 15, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      You're right. He probably looks more like Osama Bin Laden.

      January 15, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  65. secretfish

    Anime characters are made to look European, specifically Western European with large round eyes, low cheekbones, small mouths and thin noses. argue all you want but these, that's how things are currently. Asians should start celebrate their beauty themselves, with almond-shaped eyed, wide flat nosed characters with high cheekbones and full lips. Even Asian celebrities get surgery to look more European and then lie about being Eurasian.

    January 15, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • bananasandeggs

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FsaReX4ej0&w=640&h=360]

      January 15, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Kam

      Anime characters are Asian. When they are White they will draw them with big noses and sometimes big ears and they will always be blond and blue-eyed (even if the person is only half-foreigner). Asian people think it's funny and pitiable when Whites think that anime characters are White.

      January 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • VampireJack

        Ah, so it's acceptable for racism aimed at whites.....yeah, I forgot that.
        But as soon as a white guy portrays an anime character.......

        January 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • David

        Why they all have big round eyes though?

        January 15, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • medallon

        Look again, they look far from asian. Also dont forget that many asians go through plastic surgery to look more Western.

        January 16, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy

      why you an idiot

      March 7, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Joe

    Racism against Asian Americans run rampant in Hollywood. You rarely ever see Asian Americans in any movies. the few that ever are in any movies are cast in some racist stereotypical role. It is sad how racism against blacks, Jews, Mexicans, Muslims are not tolerated but is allowed against Asian Americans.

    January 15, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  67. shannon

    The article only mentions as far back as the 1940s but the problem with Hollywood's portrayal of the Asian race goes all the way back to silent films. Anna May Wong was born Chinese-American and became the most popular Asian silent film actress, but the roles she played ruined her life. The only roles she was allowed to play were your typical 'temptress' roles, and if she were allowed to kiss her white male co-star on screen it was only because her character had to be killed off at the end anyway so he could be 'happily ever after' with the white woman who co-starred in the picture. In real life, the anger towards her for taking these kinds of roles cut her off not only from her Chinese-American community but also Chinese culture as a whole, and so the asian men did not want to be seen with her. On the other hand, off-screen she was only allowed to sleep with the white men in Hollywood and be their mistress, because none of them would cause a scandal by marrying outside their race. There were not any single Asian-American actors at the time for her to meet. As a result, one of the most beautiful actresses to ever grace the screen battled insecurity, alienation and depression and became an alcoholic in the 30s and died early from the complications.

    When people say that these roles don't matter...they do matter to the people that want the acting jobs. We're not very much better today in Hollywood than we were back then, when it comes to hiring Asian-American actors in roles that they deserve. Hollywood still wants to put these actors in stereotypical roles such as the nerd, the doctor, the martial arts expert, the bad guy/girl, the spy, the tramp, etc. Meanwhile, perfectly acceptable everyday roles that could be played by Asian-Americans are kept away from them.

    January 15, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • TimT

      We are conditioned in America by the media to trot out the victim stories about someone not being appreciated because of their minority status. But the more the media does that, the slower it will be for things to change.

      There are actually a lot of folks of Asian background doing rolls in Hollywood from the Harry and Kumar start to Jackie Chan. But Hollywood is not going to hire a non-star for a character that carries a picture. Not going to happen. If they are betting $100+ million on a movie, they want someone who is a huge box office draw - a Tom Cruise level actor, not an Asian-American who may be equally good but no one has heard of.

      Hollywood casts based on the "brand." They want a director, actors, etc that will fill the seats. Sure, there are a handful of movies that make it with no "name" actors. But for those movies to work, they need a brilliant script, a great final product, support from the critics, and a major film distributor that will believe in the product and spend millions on marketing. It's way safer for them to hire name actors than to trust in unknown people.

      January 15, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  68. Matt

    Yes, America has a 80% white population. If you want to make movies here, you go for white actors. It's a simple business ROI logic. America's "race issue" are anal and backward. Get over it.

    January 15, 2012 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • ghostmasseur

      Matt,

      I guess that explains why Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Spike Jones, Halle Barry, Morgan Freeman, Samuel L Jackson and their peers are so well regarded and sucessaful. You reallly need to stop posting before you make yourself look like and even bigger fool than you already ahve.

      January 15, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
      • Nateium

        No. The African American population is about 13%. That's about how often we see blacks in movies (if not slightly more). East asians are a less than half the percentage so naturally we see them less. It all makes sense. Nothing to complain about.

        January 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • IxNay

      I think America could tolerate seeing someone that looks like Ryo Nishikido in leading role. I know I could 🙂

      January 15, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
      • Geeshgirl

        The actors on Hawaii 50 (Daniel Dae Kim, etc) have been gorgeous! Tom Cruise is a has-been.

        January 15, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
      • now there is some truth

        higher principles? no it really boils down to who is 'hot'. you put something up there because there statistically is not enough of some race, if that person doesn't deliver a good performance, whose money was just lost... yours?

        it was the backers... it is easy to trumpet how unfair something is when you have no money in the game

        January 15, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      80%? You're a little off there. Actually, you're a lot off. You apparently haven't viewed any census reports recently.

      January 15, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • JL

      Matt,

      Your view is so short sight and it is sad that there is no improvement in Hollywood after all these year, despite all the talk of globalization.

      JL

      January 15, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  69. imzz

    I know America mainly from Hollywood movies. I have learned from them , that every white person in US has Afro-American friend especially in police forces and about 1/3 of all population are Jews EU,LV

    January 15, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
    • CSMinDC

      Actually this is not far from the truth. My wife is Chinese. When her family came over for a visit they thought the US population was 70% black. Others think everyone is rich (by our standards, not theirs). Perception is what it's all about, especially in politics.

      January 15, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Conquistador

      Hey imzz- Many Americans talk about race equality and may know a black from work or school, however, at the end of the day, they do not invite the blacks to their homes or viceversa.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
  70. Zargon

    Everyone knows Asians are just upgraded white people.

    January 15, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
    • nateium

      obviously you haven't spent much time in Asia.

      January 15, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • davey

      lol yeah, right, go to the philippines and take a look around....

      January 15, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Nina Christian

    SOON THE TABLES WILL TURN

    January 15, 2012 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
    • or our stomachs

      nice try christian... 2nd coming?

      only think I see is the demographics changing... and that much change something... more asian and hisspanic

      really though, change is the only constant for the U.S., part of what makes it so exciting to live here

      January 15, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  72. Nina Christian

    This is stii a VERY RACIST COUNTRY.

    January 15, 2012 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      To people like you, this country will always be racist until whites are the discriminated minority. Which is also racist of you. Your problem is, that you live in a country founded, designed and fought for by white people. They have accepted your presence, let you live here and share their prosperity with you. You don't like it, you move back to your own country.

      January 15, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
      • ghostmasseur

        Matt,

        You do not know what you are talking about (big surprise). Even in the Revolutinary War both Free Black men and Slaves fought and died for the US (as did Native Americans) nd that has been the case in EVERY war since then. I am white and this is not my country because I am white, it is my country becuase I am a human being of US citizenship. And the prosperity of the US is NOT white prosperity, it is US prosperity. Maybe you should keep your mouth shut before you make yourself look like an even bigger horse's rear end than you already have.

        January 15, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
      • Pianki

        To people like you, this country will always be racist until whites are the discriminated minority. Which is also racist of you. Your problem is, that you live in a country founded, designed and fought for by white people. They have accepted your presence, let you live here and share their prosperity with you. You don't like it, you move back to your own country.
        The thing not realized is Whites are in his country, and others, complaining about what is going on. Interviewing and in some cases coercing the locals to think of something negative to say about whomever the story is based on. White Hollywood done the same think with Blacks as we see happening to Asians. Well,when Asians and Blacks move to exclude whites from their markets and begin changing the ethnicity of white characters into what ever they desire will whites begin to understand what others have been and are still complaining about.

        January 15, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
      • WhiteManMustDie

        The Eurotrash invaded and decimated the Native American (and every other indigenous culture) culture. PUH-LEEEZE go back to Europe – where you belong!!!

        January 15, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
      • how about your cross back over the bering strait

        you are not exactly native either

        January 15, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • ghostmasseur

      Nina,

      For all of Matt's garbage you too are wrong. This country still does have racism but so do most other countries (check out the racism that exists in Asia against blacks for example, or the racism that exist throughout Europe.) . The US is far less racist than it was 30 years ago. The biggest form of discrimination that exists in thr US now is religiously based put forth by those who think they speak for their god.

      January 15, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
      • mark9988

        ...And those who condemn individuals they do not know, solely on religious stereotypes.

        January 15, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • nateium

      Nina. What country do you think is less racist?

      January 15, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
      • she is a drive by troll

        she is just throwing out empty phrases and not expanding on anything

        January 15, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  73. Bill Brasky!!!!

    Ching Chong Ting Tong

    January 15, 2012 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
    • WhiteManMustDie

      I prophecy that BILL BRASKY will DIE SCREAMING – hahaha. Wonder what goes through your mind when you're all alone, sitting in the dark? Peace? Joy? Naw – depression, loneliness, anxiety, and fear. Bet you're NOT in a relationship – or if in one – a real CR@PPY one – hahahahah.

      January 15, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      This is actually a real statement. The French believes that American English sounds like dogs barking. I'm not bashing American English, since that's what I speak, just saying...

      January 15, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • jazz

      you have issues dude. the sad part is, i bet you're respectful to people who don't look like you to their faces but then, when internet opportunity knocks, this comes out. grow up.

      January 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Chris

    Wastrel has a good point: "The result is fewer opportunities for Asian and Asian-American actors who want a shot at a powerful role."

    January 15, 2012 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
  75. terri

    Hollywood is not in the business of portraying reality. Hollywood is in the business of creating fantasy to make money. Apparently this is a fact that Asians have not yet realized. A few years ago I noticed that the facial features of Jennifer Lopez had changed to resemble a white European. I don't know if she had surgery or the photo editors got creative. The bottom line is that if you want to become rich and famous, you may have to let go of certain standards of integrity.

    January 15, 2012 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Jennifer Lopez is too tame of an example.... Michael Jackson, now we are talking!

      January 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Joe

    I remember in the movie "21" ... in the real life story the lead character was an Asian-American but in the movie that character was replaced with a Caucasian person.

    January 15, 2012 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Quoting the mighty James Hetfield: "SAD BUT TRUUUUE!"

      January 15, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  77. studdmuffins

    First lesson – actors play people they're not. Second lesson – if Asian nations produce movies we could understand then we could use more Asian actors.

    January 15, 2012 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Damman

      Wait... We had to learn english to understand the films USA put out, why don't you go learn some of our languages to understand the films asia puts out?

      January 15, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  78. zionists are evil

    up your nose with a glass hose

    January 15, 2012 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
    • wait

      what do zionists have to do with this?

      and

      OUCH, glass up the nose would hurt

      January 15, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        Hollywood is controlled by Jews, that's what he meant. I'm just stating a fact. Not that I'm agreeing with anything.

        January 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  79. Fittest

    After 30-35 years old, white folk start to look really bad. Sad but true.

    January 15, 2012 at 5:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      ...unfortunately, this also holds true for women of all races.

      January 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  80. flarnkingsgargle

    CHING RING

    January 15, 2012 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
  81. Antidjinn

    Given that the original Akira was nearly perfect, why does it need to be remade at all?

    January 15, 2012 at 3:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Bozobub

      This is a live-action version. If the producers weren't being idiots, it would have the potential to be very good. As it is, however, it'll merely follow the sad, lonely path of The Last Airbender, as it falls off the map...

      January 15, 2012 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  82. Trent

    So when other countries create remakes or spinoffs of "white" films, do we get to complain and whine when the actors aren't white?

    January 15, 2012 at 3:36 am | Report abuse |
    • kitt

      Sure, if you live in that Asian country as part of a significant percentage of people who are not considered to be the dominant race and are a citizen in that country but it is often implied that you aren't simply because of the color of your skin and a large number of white actors live in that country and are trying to get work as actors but are bypassed for actors who supposedly look more like they belong in that country and therefore will bring in more money and if that movie is going to be imported internationally as representative of that country and its people. If all those things are true, then yes, you will get to whine.

      January 15, 2012 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
      • huh

        Wow that is a long statement. I lost interest in deciphering it after the first 'and'.

        January 15, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
      • snore

        nothing here

        January 15, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      This is a true fact... The 80's TV series of Hunter became so popular in China that after the series was cancelled. China hired Fred Dryer to go to China to make movies. Nope, no yellow washing there.

      January 15, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Scientolalalagy

    Well Tom Cruise can play any role he wants. He is level 99 thetan. That is like only second to the Scientologist Gawd or something.

    January 15, 2012 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
  84. j

    waterboarding ?

    January 15, 2012 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
    • very useful

      that is how I get my kids to eat vegtables

      January 15, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  85. Blursd

    Ja, something tells me most Bollywood films have prodominately Indian actors in them ... Doesn't take a genius to figure out why that is.

    January 15, 2012 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
    • AGuest9

      Which are almost always rip-offs of American movies, anyway.

      January 15, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
      • one big incestuous circle

        music and movies blatantly steal from each other worldwide

        but nothing is in a vacuum, physicists stand on the shoulders of the giants that came before them

        January 15, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Joshua

      Yes, that's kind of my point. Racebending isn't the sole purview of California's movies. To complain that Hollywood has this practice and to not complain that everyone else does is the worst kind of hypocrite.

      January 15, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  86. Joshua

    I really have a problem with this article and the fact that people have a problem with the practice. How is this any different than casting a black man for one of the Norse gods in Thor? No one complained about that. I mean, really. Either it's okay or it isn't. And if it is, then it is for everyone. If it isn't, then it isn't for anyone, so what are you going to protest next, that they don't use white actors in Bollywood films?

    January 15, 2012 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Seriously?

      Even black people complained about that. What rock have you been living under?

      January 17, 2012 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
  87. The_Mick

    After watching John Wayne's ridiculous portrayal of Genghis Khan, I've been opposed to white people playing Asiatics at all.

    January 15, 2012 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Bozobub

      Exactly. "The Destroyer" is unintentional high comedy, nothing more.

      January 15, 2012 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  88. Lost

    Why do "Asian Roles" always typecast them w/ accents and having stringent cultural differences?

    January 15, 2012 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      You're right, and Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Americans in his movie with that German/Austrian accent. You show me Jackie Chan playing American some day.

      January 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Ash

    Tvtropes.org has a trope about this, it's called "racelift". If you look at all the examples of this from various media, you can see it's a fairly common practice unfortunately.

    January 15, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  90. kim

    That is why movies such as "Avatar" and "The King of Persia" failed. The King of Persia was white? People want orginality, and Hollywood is caught up in its formulas. That is why people don't go to the movies anymore. They need to give new actors a chance. We need diversity in Hollywood.

    January 14, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • David K.

      You didn't pay attention in school, huh? Yes, the King of Persia was white. You know why? Because Persians are white. Yep! Persians (Today they are called Iranians) are simply the Caucasians who didn't go on with the rest of them into Europe, and instead went down into Persia (Modern day Iran). So they are as 'white' as any European. But wait, I bet you're one of those silly people who think people of Hispanic decent aren't 'white' either, even though 'Hispanic' means they are descended from people from Spain, and are therefore as 'white' as any other person of European decent. Kinda funny, huh?

      January 15, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
      • lol

        Well played David. For some reason no one seems to understand that. Most all of the middle east is genetically white.

        January 15, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
      • VampireJack

        Yup – and even in the hadith so beloved to our Muslim friends, their prophet mohammed was described as a WHITE man.
        If you have actually ever been to Saudi Arabia (I have on many occasions) you may be suprised to see the amounts of white people in the population (and I don't mean visitors....).

        January 15, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • Detached HalfBreed

        Iranians are white? Call the war off, boys

        January 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bozobub

      Um, no. Persians are olive-green. I have modern-day Persian friuends, and they laughed their a$$es off at "Perians are white" – lol...

      You fail.

      January 15, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
      • Zargon

        hahaha, thank you. He failed miserably. Persians aren't white, they're light skinned. I guess you'd say Arabs are Black?

        January 15, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
      • VampireJack

        In the modern era the Iranian people are darker skinned than they were back in the old days (much like Spain used to be a completely white country – but then the moors turned up and started mixing – so a lot of modern Spaniards are darker skinned (olive) much like a lot of Italians, the same thing is now starting to happen in the UK with mixed raced children. The same as the Greeks who are generally more olive skinned in the modern era – they were originally whities.
        The Persians changed their country name to IRAN as a symbol of pride as Hitler believed the original Aryans settled there. Hence Iran – Aryan.

        What's the big deal about skin colour? It seems fine to have a black guy play Kojak and The Kingpin without CNN having to insinuate racism is involved.

        January 15, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • nocarenomore

      Yup. As I have said many times, unless you are black from Africa, you are white.

      January 15, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Fil

    Hm... Most of manga and anime characters have distinctly Caucasian features. Why doesn't t it concern the CNN authors?

    -
    Cohen the barbarian

    January 14, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Yep, I noticed that too. Nearly all of the anime characters I see look white to me. Avatar is the only exception I can think of off the top of my head, although I don't really watch enough of anime to be sure. In fact, in the picture at the top of this story all the characters look white. Maybe it's not Hollywood that's racist, it's the animators.

      January 15, 2012 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
  92. Lee S

    Akira is fine just the way it is. COME UP WITH SOMETHING NEW OMG

    January 14, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  93. John

    It's ok while ppl used to play baseball, football, basketball ...

    January 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Hung Lo

    I quote Coldplay,
    Look at the stars,
    Look how they shine for you,
    And everything you do,
    Yeah, they were all yellow.

    January 14, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Wastrel

    "The result is fewer opportunities for Asian and Asian-American actors who want a shot at a powerful role." Will the powerful, box-office magnet, Hollywood Asian and Asian-American actors please stand up? Oh, wait. No wonder they cast Tom Cruise instead. This article fails to deal with the facts. What's the idea, Stephanie Siek; should the studios cast the actors that you think are politically correct so that they can go bankrupt?

    January 14, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      All actors and actresses need "breaking" roles to get their faces and acting abilities there. More Asian male as well as female faces need to be exposed. Even the A-Listers like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, etc. got their break somewhere along the line. So, as the tradition follows, Asian faces need to be given more and more chances so the audiences can get a chance with them and make up their own minds.

      So, yes, when the chances are given – the Asian faces WILL step up. It's called a "Glass Ceiling" for a reason.

      January 14, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      tom cruise and those other 'a-listers' have had box office bombs aplenty – a good movie with good source material can make money without name actors

      January 14, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tom

        Historical revision is stupid. But lets have more Chinese Cowboy movies. That is retarded.

        January 16, 2012 at 6:06 am | Report abuse |
  96. AG

    Well maybe anime artists should stop drawing the characters as white. They certainly don't draw them as Asian.

    January 14, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edward

      It isn't just anime. '21' the movie whitewashed the real life Asian Americans behind that true story. 'The Departed' is a scene for scene ripoff of the Asian movie 'Infernal Affairs' but with white actors. There are many many real-life and fictional examples of whitewashing. The underlying justifications for it rely on tolerating xenophobia or bigotry.

      January 14, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Just because the characters don't look like stereotypical asian does not mean they are drawn white. Asian people think they look asian

      March 7, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  97. washingtonpharmgirl

    The Na'vi totally misrepresented cats. Shame.

    January 14, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  98. JJKID

    Hollywood likes to whitewash everything to the point that it is not even realistic. I remember very clearly, on a MTV program the host was interviewing a bunch of people on Waikiki beach and they are all white. I lived in Hawaii for 10 years and anyone else that has been there knows that on any given day, more than half of people on beach are Asian. there is another terrible show called "one waikik" or Waikiki one, everywhere the character go in Honolulu, most of the people are white. I do not see the point that the producer has to present a unrealistic whitewashed environment. someone explain to me why?

    January 14, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      They probably didn't think the Asian on the beach spoken English.

      January 14, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • BillyH

      Unfortunately the average american's exposure to asians is what they see in movies, which isn't exactly flattering. Hollywood obviously needs a white character to battle and conquer people who look different from them. How else are you going to maintain cultural biases.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vina

      Remember the OC? The one where no Asian or Latino people seemed to exist? I swear that show was made by people on the East Coast who had never been here. They made the wrong side of the tracks Chino. Chino!

      January 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • ron jeremy

        no that show was created by people on the west coast. an asian on that show would have ruined it. face it. no one wants to see asians on tv.

        January 15, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Riff

    Man who cares! Much ado about nothing!

    January 14, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
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