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. John

    I can remember the time in the 1940's when Caucasions casted as Asian Monks in China . haha

    January 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Serita

    I think that this article is interesting because a lot of things like manga and anime, are whitewashed themselves. Think about it... When is the last time you saw a recent anime and the characters looked Asian? A lot of characters (Especially main characters) look white. With blonde hair and big blue or green eyes. Girls in Asia even get surgery to make their eyes more round and more "American" or "cuter" looking.
    My hope is that Hollywood would not "white wash" these parts, that they would find Asians to play them. But, I must also ask the question, when is Asia going to stop "white washing" themselves?

    January 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jacob

      First of all there are many asian with round eyes we get surgery to look like the ones that have them and "american" is not a freakin race.

      March 7, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Face

    Go Speed Racer.... Go Speed Racer... Go Speed Racer Go!

    January 13, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Face

      Never have seen an oriental with dish saucer shaped eyes yet.... unless you count Anime.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • Steve

        Never seen any person of any race with dish saucer eyes.

        January 13, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • arale norimaki

      it GoGoGo Mahha Gō Gō Gō

      January 19, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. Romney Un-Electible

    I thought Gran Torino was pretty accurate!

    January 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mark

    I have YET to see an anime character that looks Asian. Asian White-worship has been going on for decades. Why start crying now? Go Speed Racer Go!

    January 13, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Stanowski

      Why do people keep saying that?? ALL anime characters look asian. Scroll through all these comments, there's a video explaning it.

      January 14, 2012 at 6:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mark

    Akira? Not set in Tokyo? Bah! I'll never watch it.....

    January 13, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Spork guy

    I would care if it was something other than anime, which is lame.

    January 13, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • ready

      that comment makes you lame.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • Rob

        And that comment makes you lame.

        January 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Josh

    Even though I'm in the minority here (no pun intended), as a white person I truly understand minorities frustration with a lack of minority lead characters in movies. But what Hollywood is doing has nothing to do with any racial bias, rather just targeting the majority of their audience, which happens to be white people. People relate to their own kind, whether white, black, Asian, etc. Doesn't make anybody a bigot or racist for doing so, it's just human nature. I guarantee in 50 years or so when Hispanics make up the majority in this country, you're gonna see mostly Hispanic leads, and it will have nothing to do with who's running Hollywood at the time. Making movies is a business and it doesn't make sense to target only a small percentage of the movie-going audience.

    January 13, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      I agree entirely. Hollywood is going to target whichever audience is going to make them the most money. That's why they're in business. I'm so tired of racism being called for anything that happens anymore. Pretty soon there will be a call for Blacks, Asians and Hispanics to be playing all white characters because Whites have had a monopoly on these parts for too long.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • Rob Roy

        And when that happens, white people will surely kill themselves.

        January 13, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • zodasoda

      Your logic doesnt work. Black Americans never made more than 20% of the population ever, but they were accepted into main stream roles and achieved massive stardom. Why? Because White Americans could tolerate seeing a Black male character as the lead. Why can they tolerate it? Because they have been exposed to Black male characters in the past.

      As long as Asian male actors are given the chance to be shown, somewhere along the line, people will get used to it & tolerate it. The whole concept of 'audience not relating to character cause he's not white' is just a racism excuse because there is PROOF with Black male actors.

      January 16, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. Say What

    Klingons were originally white, how come they all black now?

    January 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • floris

      Totally. There was never a black Klingon in the 60s.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Josh

        That's because in the 60's, black Klingon's weren't allowed to serve on military ships because they were thought of as second class citizens. Since then, there has been a civil rights movement in the Klingon Empire, and they have now earned equal rights.

        January 13, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • ready

      Roddenberry didn't want to cast black people as villains intentionally. By the later shows that no longer mattered.

      Christopher Lloyd played the first new klingon villain, lol. Hes as white as you can get.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Rob

        I'd say Larry Bird is as white as you can get.

        January 13, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beefburger

      As Worf stated earlier, "it was an emberassing situation in the Klingon Empire at the time" (See Deep Space-9 Trouble With Tribbles). Technically, the Klingons were surgically altered to look more "human" (and I am guessing more white now, too) to more easily conquer the Federation by looking more "normal".

      January 13, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • d-rex

        Hey that's not canon, Mr. Beef. :/ Didn't you watch Enterprise??

        Black Vulcans now too. What the...?

        January 13, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Thomas J.

    Can you imagine if Idris Elba was offered the part to play "James Bond" as was once rumored. White folks would've had strokes. Casting white actors in roles originally for non-whites has been going on for years. Most memorable was "The Good Earth". Both lead actors were portrayed by white actors. This should teach Asian Americans a lesson. They always aligned themselves with white people. To Asians, other races – ESP. BLACK PEOPLE are degrading to them and they would'nt be caught dead with one of them. Oh and Tom Cruise and the other actor considered should turn down this role for "All You Need Is Kill". If they were truly humane, they would tell the film makers of this movie that the parts should go to Asian Americans!!!

    January 13, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • orrigionalbettina

      Back in the renaissance, male actors played female parts. As an actor, one must be versatile.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. corntrader19

    *Yawn* Big whoop. Hollywood has cast white people in asian roles since the beginning. Pooch: I agree with you. I am sick and tired of the whining about race.

    January 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |

    Keanu Reeves' father is part Chinese. Kate Beckinsale's paternal grandfather is part Asian. The Roc's mother is Pacific Islander. Rob Schneider's mother is Filipino. Enrique Iglesia's mother is Filipino. Meg Ryan adopted a Chinese baby. Katherine Heigl has an Asian adopted sister and also adopted an Asian child. The same for Nicholas' Cage with an Asian wife and biological half-Asian son. And we all know about the adoption of Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie. Hugh Grant has a biological half-Asian baby. James Gandolfini's current wife is Asian. Rupert Murdoch's current wife is Asian. Julie Chen is the current wife of CEO of CBS....... Hollywood is accepting and just needs to portray it on the screen. Hollywood downplays the intelligence of the mass and want to dumb down everything. Just give us Brandon Lee and Bruce Lee and see what happens. Sony and all the other studios that are affiliated or owned by Asian corps should take pride and ownership. We do need to stop all the Asian villains. We are in a different war now, and it's so politically incorrect to even portray those ethnic backgrounds in any negative way. Yet, Hollywood makes it so common place and acceptable to portray as the bad guys in almost every film.

    My all time favorite of WHITE WASH is Magnum PI. It's supposed to be filmed and shot at Hawaii. But watch it closely, maybe ONE episode – Magnum has a date with an Asian woman. But otherwise, you'd swear only white people or black people live in Hawaii. Magnun has no Asian/Hawaiian friends, they are only white or black. And of course, the enemies, then they are Asian/Hawaiian. Think the ORIGINAL HAWAII-5 O, with Jack Lord. Remember how popular that was and to think, they used Asian/Hawaiian characters because HELLO, they were supposed to be in Hawaii.

    Speaking of Hawaii, that is US' only royal blood line. Read about it - that song, Aloha he... it's written by and originally sung by one of the last Hawaiians of Royal descent.

    Sony and the other Asian owned/affiliated studios need to take ownership and pride. It begins with them, stopping all the villain, stereotype Karate fighting, communist gun toting bad guys. And actually start with depicting heroes casting Asians or the very least one of those actors listed above..... This is not the 1960's generation, this is the generation that grew up with nintendo gameboy, iPads..... We can really handle a minority as a lead. Even the Alist actors have a diverse family. And they don't hide it, in fact, we all know about it. Think about it.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • ???

      I hope that we can see a more mixture of different ethnic backgrounds in filming so that its gives creative movie making an edge. At the same time, Hollywood should also consider at least trying to take a more balanced approach to finance management and research better ways into recruiting creative screenwriters of all kinds of artistic perceptions and background. If the Renaissance could do it, so can we...right?

      January 13, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ???

    Making very creative films would probably grab better ratings and make them more money instead of beefing up their films with special effects and sensationalizing their commercials. I am not saying that all movies made currently by Hollywood are bad, but, I am starting to question the integrity of exactly how Hollywood manages their finances (no offense). In other words, where is all of this money going that is made after box offices close for each movie(?), and I hope that most of it does not go to celebritys' paychecks (theeeen we have a problem).

    January 13, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Berkley Hunt


    January 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Margatron


      January 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Paul

    racism ?? this is about money. Executive in the entertainment industry believe that white actors will bring more money.
    Not sure if they are right, but they sure are free to do whatever they want with their business. Trust me, when I tell you that if they could make more money with Asian actors .. they would be dong it already.
    So, in the end it's the American public that makes the choice .. if you think a white actor in a Asian anime movie is racism, then what you are saying is that Americans are racist, since they make the final choice.
    You might well be right ... after all, people go to Walmart and buy the Chinese made product ... then complain it's not American and complain they lost their job .. self inflicted wound indeed.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Detached HalfBreed

      I like "Firefly" and "Serenity" for the Chinese cursing by all characters. Not a single Asian actor, tho.....

      January 17, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Detached HalfBreed

      Oh that last reply went to the wrong place sry. For you, Paul, I wanted to say:
      Soon all roles will be Asian, as they are the job keepers, money savers, and business innovators in our Country now. The white jobless won't be able to afford the theatre because they never studied investment math and put all their eggs in a Madoff basket or lost jobs to overseas manufacturing, so the movie market will be forced to cater to the Savvy Consumer for once.

      January 17, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Speed

    Umm.. The orginal Speed Racer had BLUE EYES and an ELvis-like pompadour. Mukokuseki.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  17. KungFu Wu-Poo

    男人,这是某种朋克屁股废话。亚洲演员规则... ...杀死所有的美国人!!

    January 13, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • John N. Seattle, WA

      I agree 100%...except for the "killing Americans" bit! 🙂

      January 13, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Risky

    People need to stop thinking that anime and manga characters resemble white people. Yes that was true in the past, but more modern anime and manga do that less and less.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • ???

      Eh, no. I once read in this manga catalog (somewhere in the back) that USUALLY most of the manga/anime characters have really no actual ethnicity. To assume so otherwise would create a capacity for intelligence. In other words, unless you did some research, it would be safe to just disregard even the THOUGHT of a character's ethnicity to avoid getting confusing questioning the previous. Is it ok to ask oneself who is what? Sure. But I think it might be a bit over the hedge to get a little overexcited about it because that is where a stereotype can start...

      January 13, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  19. asian guy

    That's enough white banter from, too much of it will make white people angry if it already hasn't.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  20. asian guy

    I would like to more Bollywood than Hollywood, but we all know American theaters won't put up those types of movies.
    I wonder why?

    January 13, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • asian guy

      I meant I would like to see, waiting for the racist grammar remarks.....

      January 13, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • adam

        if you're eye were open then you wouldn't need spell check... happy now?

        As for more " bollywood" on american cinema... that may take a bit longer since most see those has pandering and not very refined when it comes to movies... true american movies and some that were mentioned are not exactly works of art.. but the movies that would be in the realm of "bollywood" really do not appeal to as large of an audience as those mentioned above... Now with other nations increasing influence on the US maybe that will chance but not in the next few years.

        January 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  21. jean

    What's new? Kung Fu with Carradine, Airbender... Otherwise, red states will never go watch the movie

    January 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • John N. Seattle, WA

      I cried when I watched Airbender! Seriously, how bad does a director need to be to take such EXCELLENT source material and butcher it so horribly? M. Knight should burn in hell for what he did to that show!

      January 13, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • Beth

        Couldn't agree more. Its amazing how someone could take such wonderful source material and butcher it so badly it scored an 8% approval rating. Please don't let them screw up Akira too!

        January 13, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      OMG, Airbender was a major disaster. It was a Major FAIL. An asian monk replace by a white character. They just don't learn....

      January 13, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  22. FedUpwithLA

    If Asian female roles were more like Sessue Hayakawa's role as Colonel Saito in David Lean's "The Bridge Over the River Kwai," then that would be more accurate.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Race

    Never mind the fact that anyone who has watched Anime knows that the characters all have big round blue eyes and a fair to white complexion.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • asian guy

      case in point.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Risky

      Sailor Moon is too outdated to use as reference anymore.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Pooch

    Whatever... China is taking over the world anyway

    January 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Good grief

    This is an imaginary problem. Despite the myth of multiculturalism, there has always been one dominant culture here and the majority has always been white. Like it or not, this inevitably leads to minorities being something a bit out of the ordinary. We are visual creatures. An actor who looks very different from everyone else in a film is going to stand out; viewers can make a reasonable inference that there is a reason for a minority to be playing a particular role (that it's relevant to the story). This is not racism. It's how we interpret visual media. There are plenty of affluent members of every race and ethnic group in America to finance films featuring their group if they really cared about this non-issue that much. This article is nothing but rabble-rousing.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Queen

      I think it is funny that "Red State" people who think they are so pure white, meanwhile they eat food that was harvested by Mexican farm workers, wear clothes that were designed by gays, sing rock and roll that started in black Mississippi blues, cheer on sports teams that have a lot of Black athletes and watch tv shows produced and staring Jewish producers and actors.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • d-rex

        Not to mention that most of them probably have African blood but don't know or want to admit it.

        January 13, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Queen

    TV Show – Kung Fu – white actor plays Chinese man
    Movie – GOOD EARTH – white actress plays Chinese woman
    Movie – A BEAUTIFUL MIND – the real life wife of the genius was Latina, not white
    Movie – COMING HOME w Jane Fonda, in the novel, the John Voit character was a black man.
    Movie – IMITATION OF LIFE – white actress is hired to play biracial daughter
    Movie – SHOW BOAT – white actress Ava Gardner hired to play biracial
    Movie – WEST SIDE STORY – white actress Natalie Wood plays Latina
    Movie – BLINDSIDE – the real life football player Michael Orr already knew the game of football before he moved in with that family, in the movie they portrayed him as a high schooler who had to be taught the game of football.
    Tyler Perry dresses as black woman
    Eddie Murphy dresses as black woman
    Martin Lawrence dresses as black women
    I am tired of being portrayed on screen by a man.
    Thank goodness for Viola Davis.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh, brother!


      January 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  27. john

    Akira is already doomed then....

    January 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Serg

      They already messed up the 2009 Dragon Ball movie. I can see that happenning again.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  28. chris

    The only color on this planet is green... everything else is a distant 3rd.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doodlebug

      Kermit has that covered (and he even says: "its not easy being green")...

      January 17, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  29. asian guy

    Americans in general are just really insecure.
    White Americans always bring up, "The country is going to minorities", and yet 80% of the U.S. population is white.
    What a bunch of weak babies! lol!

    January 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Queen

      LOL. Similarly, some straight people feel marriage is being "TAKEN OVER AND DESTROYED!!!" by gay marriage.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • asian guy

        Man, Asians can't even get a pizza without getting discriminated against,
        the insecurity in this country is hilarious.
        I guess they really don't like serving their fellow Americans just because they look different.
        Martin Luther King Jr's dream has not been reached even though most Americans want the world to think this country has gotten to that point. I feel scammed!

        January 13, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • Beefburger

        Hollywood is more concerned with advancing the Gay Agenda rather than promoting racial harmony. Since "Black America" was recently rated as being 25% more "anti-gay" than whites, they are being marginalized in Hollywood.

        Martin Lawrence in drag, FUNNY! Tyler Perry looking like a tranny in "I Can do Bad All by Myself", CREEPY!

        Bossom Buddies and White Girls, each with 2 guys in drag, FUNNY! Work It, 2 guys that look more like trannies, CREEPY!

        January 15, 2012 at 3:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Noocrat

      Wow, not only is your stereotype miles from the truth, your statistics are double digits off.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • Pooch

        Oh thanks for that!
        .....but where is the correct statistic...
        Enlighten us

        January 13, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • Beth

        How about the 2010 US Census at census.gov? That an obscure enough reference for ya'll? 16.3% of respondants identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino, 12.6% identified as Black or African American, 4.8% as Asian. Its time to embrace the multi-racial and multi-ethnic nature of our culture, fellow white people! Lets see more minorities accurately represented in films, particularly the anime knock offs. As horrible as the adaptations of Airbend and DBZ were, I would hope that at least they would have taught Hollywood not to racebend!

        January 13, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beefburger

      Actually, as of a couple of years ago, minorities, as a whole (including Latinos, Asians, etc) became 51% of the population.

      January 15, 2012 at 2:55 am | Report abuse |
  30. bill somebodyson

    Dude Hollywood whitewashes everyone so Asians take this one for team minority. Just be cool ok. Gees. Im balck and I have been complaining for years about the same thing but then I figured it out. no one is listening. Ahhhh thats it. Sarcasm aside this is yet another reason why movie sales are so down beyond just piracy. Point blank I get so tired of seeing the same over paid white faces. Angelina Jolie as Cleopatra REALLY what a friggin joke. So do as I do just stop going to movies... Go to the theater and see real actors doing good things on stage and guess they usually have minorities in the cast yayyyyyyy ...

    January 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • asian guy

      You are absolutely right, if you're not white, you're not right.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • asian guy

      Even if we know the fear in Hollywood and America, nothing will change, the majority of whites in this country can't let
      this country go to people who aren't white, even though on paper they're American.
      Smells like hypocrisy and whitocracy at the same time, (whitocracy- democracy for white people only)
      Kind of like that water fountain deal back in the day, they just want their own water fountain.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • d-rex

      Cleopatra was white. She was a Macedonian. Please get your facts straight.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        There is a movement among black intellectuals to reclass ALL Egyptians of black (regardless of reality).

        January 13, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • d-rex

      Of course she probably had a real good tan . . .

      Not that it matters. If she were black, that'd be great too.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  31. sat2121

    Waiting for that CNN special race baiting IN America

    January 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  32. asian guy

    white people can't stand seeing Asians on the big screen especially in leadership roles.
    They constantly need attention in America or else they'll feel like a second class citizen.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • d-rex

      Speaking as a white American, I think you're correct, generic "asian guy"... But I don't feel that way.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  33. John

    Since when is Rita Moreno "white?" And Breakfast at Tiffany's was made a half century ago. This article is really stretching.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  34. sharoom

    Eeewww, the actors are going to say everything in English.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Risky

    If hollywood really wants to make alot of money, they should just replace all the actors with australian actors. Theres something about them that is so irrisistable -_-
    You can find a few of them in super hero movies today: Wolverine, Batman, The Hulk(sigh).

    January 13, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • JT

      You sound gay !!!

      January 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • Risky

        Im actaully straight, but openly make gay jokes about myself.

        January 13, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • d-rex

        You make "gay" sound like an insult.

        January 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • Beefburger

        It is, deal with it.

        January 15, 2012 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
  36. joe

    No one said a word when Hollywood made Ripcord of GIJoe a black man for the GIJOE movie. But for 25+ years before that Ripcord was a WHITE male in comics, cartoons and toys.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  37. asian guy

    Another fact is Americans hate foreign cultures, and languages.
    They just say it to lure people to America so they can slave away.
    Look at the news this past month, nothing but racism from Americans.
    Minorities have to submit because we know what happens when Americans get angry, they drop bombs!

    January 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      That's ridiculous. If all Americans hate foreign languages and cultures, why is anime and manga so popular here in the first place? Why do most anime fans prefer subs instead of dubs? Don't generalize an entire population because of a few people's actions.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Diana


    January 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • The One

      Its funny to see suburban white kids hypnotized by hip-hop, or in general the wigger factor... A complete backfire haha...

      January 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Leaf on the Wind

    Hollywood wants to make tons of money. Period. I don't believe they give a ratz azz about race. They care about box office draw. If the studios cared about film as art, they wouldn't be constantly giving us sequels, remakes, re-hashed TV shows that were cancelled for a reason, and movies based on comic books. The few original ideas coming out of Hollywood these last couple of decades are like a breath of fresh air.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Krazy

    I think it is important to consider race when choosing actors/actresses to stay true to source material

    January 13, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  41. soapnut

    No wonder the media is shaping Asian women dating/ marriage preferences. They want a white guy ( here and in Asia). Its shocking to see how they clamor to white folks and they want to be white and behave white. They hate dark skin and probably themselves

    January 13, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  42. J

    First and foremost, no. Just no.

    Do not remake a live action Akira movie. It will not end well. It might do alright at the box office, it might even win an award or two... but there is absolutely no way it will live up to the original.

    If you want, make a movie LIKE Akira, based on the same concepts as Akira, but not called Akira. Look at "The Departed," based on an Asian movie ("Internal Affairs") but completely redone, renamed and cast with Americans. No one really complained too much. Now look at The Last Airbender.

    Or better yet, get creative and make your own movie. Isn't that why Hollywood types are paid millions and millions and millions of dollars to make these movies?? Because of their vastly superior creative skills?

    January 13, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      HA! Very funny, J. Hollywood wants money, and lots of it. Writers with good original ideas are expensive. The studios would rather hire cheap hacks to make a screenplay stolen from someone else's original idea. We keep paying to see this junk, too, so we get what we deserve.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • ???

        Sooo if very creative writers are expensive, then what is Hollywood doing with all of the millions, no, billions of dollars they make every year off of all of the hundreds of movies they produced to be seen by the public eye??????????

        January 13, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  43. asian guy

    knowing the history of the U.S. , if you try to be Asian and not adapt Americans will attack you and discriminate against you for being anti-American.
    This adoption of western ways is the only way to survive in the U.S. because we all know westerners can't stand foreigners in their country.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • d-rex

      Adopting western ways is in the immigrant's self-interest. You need to learn English if you want to be understood, read signs, get a real job, etc. We can't have 1,000 different languages be dominant in the U.S. My ancestors had to learn, so anybody can.

      It may be relevant to remember that the U.S. predominant racial group ("white") is believed to have originally come from Asia, the Indo-European language group came from Asia, and Christianity came from Asia, as well as many other customs and cultural traits; also the mathematics, astronomy, and much of the science taught in America.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  44. DaDoc540

    Othello, the eponymous Moorish general in the Shakespearian tragedy, was played by white actors as well as black. Since the play does not specify Othello's race (only stereotypical insults by Iago and Roderigo, which are not to be taken seriously in terms of Othello's actual appearance) and Moors (and Arabs) are not necessarily dark skinned, there is nothing wrong with that. However, if a live action role was specifically for a person of a certain ethnicity, such as Coalhouse Walker in Ragtime, then the actor has to accurately portray the role as intended, whether sharing the same ethnicity or not. It is hard for someone to accurately act as something one is not, especially in the case of black vs. white, so Coalhouse Walker would require someone with dark enough skin to imply sub-Saharan African decent.

    In short, roles should be portrayed as accurately as possible without stereotypes or prejudices. Whether or not a certain role is restricted to certain ethnicities depends on how specific the role is.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Robert

    It's called an adaption. You take a film from a foreign market and adapt it to another. Every nation in the world at least tries it. It's not about race, it is about culture and money. Twelve years ago Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt were in a reasonably successful movie called "What Women Want." Last year Andy Lau and Gong Li made a movie called (you guessed it) "What Women Want." This was the Chinese adaption. Why cast Chinese people in what was an American movie you may ask? So that Chinese people would want to see it. They get to see a movie with people that look like them , in a language they understand that wasn't dubbed, and a story line that was probably altered to suit their tastes better. Is this racist? No, it called making money.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnnyJohnny

      Exactly. I cannot even begin count how many Hollywood stories have been adapted in Hindi movies since the 1950s. The roles are all played by Indian actors. We must be all racist?

      This is not about racism. I bet if there was an Asian actor who is as sure a money maker as Tom Cruise then he would have gotten the main role instead.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  46. JR

    Hence the term, "whitewashed". America thinks every charactor on either the tube or radio should be white. That is except the voices. Oh, and the ridicules ways white kids try to dress. lol

    January 13, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Klaark

    I thought Akira was fine when they did it the first time. I don't need to see live people, white or otherwise, reenact it. Same with Avatar: The Last Air Bender. It got done once. Let the coke-huffing Hollwood producers go broke for all I care.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Risky

      Ironically, most of the people complaining are still going to watch the movie.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  48. HappyPills

    Check the box office of any film over $100M. See if you can find a minority lead. Not supporting cast, I mean lead actor. Check the box office of any film over $60M to see if you find a minority lead with a love scene. They don't happen. You want a hit movie, the guy getting the love is a white male. The minority females do OK, but the minority males get nothing. Check BOXOFFICEMOJO or IMDB. Check the number yourself. The truth is Plain and Obvious, white audiences will not pay to see minority lead actors in bed with the (white) lead actress. Or another actor!

    And I mean Lead actor, not a supporting actor that is a big name. Billy D Williams and Samuel L Jackson were in Star Wars, and it made Billion$. But who got the girl?

    January 13, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • BPollutin

      It's called being a "Minority". Look up the definition. If you don't like it, go back to Africa and make your own movies...if you can find electricity!

      January 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • HappyPills

        Did you write that yourself, or did somone help you hold the crayon?

        January 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • BPollutin

        Advice...don't use a crayon on your computer!

        January 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • Truth

        Truth be told, it is white people who are the world minority at only 8% of the global population. Asians are the majority of all humans on earth, with blacks coming in second, and white people are dead last.

        January 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • d-rex

        Truth, you need to define what you mean by "Asian." There are about 1,000 different ethnic groups on the Asian continent, including people who are commonly considered "white."

        January 13, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • HappyPills

      And Will Smith? He was the LAST MAN alone with the LAST WOMAN on Planet Earth in I Am Legend, but he never even got a kiss, did he? Remember Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts in Pelican Brief? She's attracted to him, but he's taking notes in the other room when she goes to sleep alone. Dress it up all you want, minority leads on screeen don't go anywhere near the bedroom. Look around.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • BPollutin

        Haha...well If I had the ability to give you a love scene with a White chick (something you're obviously obsessed about), I absolutely would...just to shut you the heck up!

        January 13, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
      • denzel

        White men dont want to see white women with black men and black women dont want to see black men with white women. Interacial scenes upset all races. White women and black men dont seem to care either way about things like that.

        January 13, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
      • Joshua Jones

        FYI, Julia Roberts wanted the kiss in Pelican Brief. In fact, the script called for it but DENZEL decided against it. Though overall your point is correct. The majority of American movie goers prefer white lead characters. That is where the money is. Even when films go over seas the ones with White lead characters do better then any other lead.

        January 13, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • Josh

        If I remember correctly, they didn't kiss in the book either. I could be wrong though.

        January 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • cole

      the rock,Samuel l jackson,chris tucker,jackie chan,

      January 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • brian

      Hmmm it seems as if you have never heard of Will Smith...

      January 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • HappyPills

        Will Smith got the girl in which film? Independence Day he got the dancer (Viveca) he started out with. Name another

        January 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • aslidh89

      asian females do better than asian males, black males do better than black females. It has to do with what society finds attractive. Men like exotic asian women, women like a cool black male.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • chris

        Funny how the overwhelming majority of the planet doesn't demonstrate it... just your wishful mind. Most people will not go outside of their race because there's no attraction. That's what the evidence points to. Are there outliers, yes. But that's about it.

        January 13, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      One of these days it simply will not matter. Won't that be nice?

      January 13, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
      • chris

        Nope. It will get worse. Trust me. When there are finite resources and too much demand, people will resort to anything.

        January 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • d-rex

        If every single person in the world looked exactly identical, except 10% or so had a tiny freckle at the end of their nose, that minority would be hated, feared, and discriminated against.

        January 13, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • OvernOut

      I seem to recall a few films with Will Smith as lead actor, and I do believe his films made quite a bit of $$$$$.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • HappyPills

        Oh yes, they make money. But is he the lead? Is he the romantic (or even lust-filled) lead? I'm not saying he hasn't made successful movies, I'm saying look at what he does and does NOT do in those movies in order for them to be successful.

        January 13, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
      Rush Hour
      Bad Boys
      Mask of Zorro

      There aren't many of them, but they are out there if you flip through wikipedia and imdb for 5 minutes.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • HappyPills

        www. boxofficemojo. com/ alltime/ domestic. htm == (take out the spaces)
        There is the list of top 100. Minority leads anyone? Plenty of supporting players, maybe a few that did better than the lead. but Actual lead player status?

        January 13, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  49. J Marshall

    THe Anime video comparison is junk since he's using young asian girls and comparing them to old white women in their 20s. apples and oranges. I am not saying anime is portraying white people just that the video is junk comparisons. I've been to cons and I have seen white girls that look exactly like the anime characters too.

    In regards to "whitewashing" I think the "professor" is just being overly sensitive. It's a fictional movie with fictional characters. WHo cares if you think it should be asian characters. That's the funny thing about America if you don't like something you don't buy it.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Chris

    Another case of political correctness run amok.

    Asian remakes in Hollywood cast American actors because they're made in America. Go figure!

    When Asian cinema remakes American films, they don't cast American actors because those films are made in Asia. Shocker!

    If you would like examples, visit IMDb and look up the casts of the Asian remakes of 'Blood Simple', 'Sideways', 'Fight Club', etc. and try to find a non-Asian actor in a prominent role. You won't, because they're Asian productions, filmed in Asia, for Asian audiences. I expect it to be the same with the upcoming Asian remakes of 'High School Musical' and 'Ghost'.

    And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • BPollutin

      It's CNN, what do you expect?

      Common Sense

      January 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Damien Tobin

        That's CSNN. If you're going to try to come up with an insult based on the Acronym, do a better job.

        January 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • BPollutin

        So Sorry...


        Will you be OK now?

        January 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • nino

      so what youre saying is that Films made in America are made for White audiences?

      January 13, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • BPollutin

        Considering the majority of the money is with White Americans...Yes
        Considering the majority of the people in America are White...Yes

        Is this too hard to comprehend for people? Apparently so!

        January 13, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • chris

        God forbid that a business caters to the majority of customers.

        January 13, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • jules

      American does not equal white, idiot.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • aiych

      American actors? American does not mean "white".

      January 13, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  51. loler

    Well they draw most anime/manga characters to look white anyway, I don't see what all the whining is about.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Risky

      You wish. Just look at the above picture in the article. They look filipino at best!!

      January 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Kimmy

    so ronery

    January 13, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Stephen

    Another Hollywood crapfest. The big studios don't create anymore; they outsource intellectual property. Try "The Stars Have Voices" on Amazon Kindle. Good read. They should make movies out of those stories.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  54. sarcasm

    I don't mind the whitewashing so much. I'm asian and it doesn't bother much as long as the roles doesn't really call for it to be asian. Now movies like Genghis khan, avatar, and dragonball z were definitely miscast. To add insult to injure they were terrible actors. Ugh!

    January 13, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  55. jumpingeebus

    herro horrywood i'm ready for my crose up ror

    January 13, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      Nice English there buddy. Guess you're a family screwing hillbilly eh? Incest is best right?

      January 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • jumpingeebus

        wow your dumb i still rove you rong time

        January 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Pete

    I watch alot of anime – its great. However the characters do not look particularly asian. They use artstic license in the hair color, body type, personality etc. This is to make the anime more interteresting and watchable. Holllyood guys are investing in the movie and own the rights. They should be allowed to make whatever changes they deem necessary.

    They don't need to cast women with pink hair – and they don't need all asian casts either.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • BloggerBlablah

      Asians have always tried to be white , they die their hair , pick up the accent and try to walk the wlk , but suck at it
      Asians = monkey see monkey do.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • Risky

        you sound jelly.

        January 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • Risky

        BTW we asians also love to point out bad grammar.

        -PS, your grammar is horrible.

        January 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • Pooch

        Asians don't want to be White, because Caucasians age WAY faster

        January 13, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • wetpaperbag3

      It's more about getting the story RIGHT. so many times, Hollywood mucks up a good storyline because the director and/or producer wants the film to be made in THEIR eyes rather than keeping true to the viewer's vision of a classic film. I remember a big stink was made when the English audio dub to Akira was changed when the production company remastered it. I remember watching Akira on VHS first, then on DVD when it first came out (they had a cool special edition metal pillbox designed DVD case). But I was disappointed when I bought the remastered Blu-ray. The english dub was very different. The accent of voice was weird, the inflection was off, and they even altered a lot of the wording/verbage. I opted to rip my own DVD copy and insert my own original audio track in order to preserve the quality of the experience of the original version. That's how much a subtle change can make a huge difference.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • BPollutin

      Exactly. Most anime characters have European features. Why? Because some Western Asian cultures really like American and European culture/appearances. Barbie anyone? China is responsible for some of Mattel's biggest profits...and their dolls are blonde hair blue eyes. And last time I checked, most production companies were started, owned, and operated by people of European decent...if anyone has a problem with it, then follow in the footsteps of Tyler Perry.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  57. CelShocked

    I'm of 3 minds on this.
    1) Easy to market a wild/far out foreign movie if actors "look" like your mass audience or you have a big enough name were race of actor doesn't matter (think Will Smith)
    2) Is it really "white-washing" on purpose or just a phenomenon related to my 1st statement? Basically an example of Hollywood looking to make a buck by rehashing other films.
    3) No animation to live-action has ever fared well and should not be attempted anyway.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      CelShocked (nice user name, btw), three minds, eh? There must be a drug you can take for that.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  58. joe

    the entire hollywood liberal establishment whitewashes any trace of ethnicity. even obama's campaign posters bleach his face so he appears less tanned than joe biden. any black characters in american media are following white roles, it's ridiculous.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • wisdom4u2

      Exactly!! That's their intent....always have been. Remember how they started the war between the Tutsi and the Hutu tribes in Africa …by telling the Tutsi they were superior to the Hutu’s because they were lighter in skin color? What a bunch of manipulators.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • wisdom4u2

        well.....maybe not Hollywood...but you know who I mean

        January 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Honesty

    Waffles defy all races. They are full of goodness. My pants are on backwards. Woe is me.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  60. theprophet556

    Someone should tell the author that Hollywood casts roles certain ways to increase the profitability and that he should get off his high horse and put on some big boy pants and take life like a man.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephanie Siek

      I was going to answer you, but I can't stop laughing at the fact that you think I'm male.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  61. aftermathcomic

    Hollywood? That PEA BRAIN! Akira has been designed for Asian actors, it's too much for kids like these. The fans will grind them up, and spit out the seeds, sport. If Hollywood thinks they can make it – yeah – maybe when they've downed their first clown.

    I'd rather take some Red Bennies, three of 'em.

    Just sayin'....

    January 13, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  62. steve

    It's not about race - it's about making money. If the studios are gonna invest a huge amount of money in a blockbuster movie then they're gonna do everything they can to make sure it's a hit - like cast mega-movie star Tom Cruise

    January 13, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Tha Chikin

    They are just going to screw it up! I wish Hollywood would just get it through their thick skulls that there is no way they can make an anime come to life without totally flushing it. Case in point: Dragonball Evolution was doggie doo... NOW they are thinking about re-making Akira?!? Do us all a favor and leave it alone.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  64. RamessesII

    I never have cared for most Oriental actors: male or female. I rarely waste my money on any of their films, any longer; I've seen enough.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edawg

      When did Asian actors become rugs (oriental). Oriental is a term used for a product, not an individual.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • BPollutin

        Sorry Edawg, but that Edumb. An "Oriental Person" is a perfectly fine use of the word Oriental. It's simply defining the area of origin. It can be a product or a person.

        January 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Worldwalker

        Why is "Oriental" any worse than "Occidental"?

        January 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  65. aMErica

    Any Anime or Comic remake has to be a hit with the die-hard fans or it will FAIL!

    These idiot studios trample over the plot and important details that the fan base cares about, offend their most important audience and as a result the project busts (Dragon Ball Z for example). It is so humiliating and infuriating to see a great cult classic with HUGE potential butchered and turned to garbage. The fans RESENT it.

    When will they learn to just get a director/producer who is a fan of the work ... that is the surest way to success. More important than the race of the actors is a worthy interpretation of the original work. PLEASE stop killing good Anime movies!!!

    January 13, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tha Chikin

      EXACTLY! Because in animes... there isn't always a happy ending. Sometimes it ends tragically like in Cowboy Bebop.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Worldwalker

      In some ways, it reminds me of the game Shadowbane:

      The bigwigs said "PvP doesn't sell."
      Wolfpack created a dismal failure of a game (crashing servers, glitchy world, poor customer service, etc.) centered around PvP.
      Naturally, it failed, thanks to the above issues; who wants to play an MMO that can't even keep its own servers from crashing?
      So the bigwigs said "PvP doesn't sell, Shadowbane proved it."

      They're going to do the same thing: "prove" that anime doesn't sell by butchering Akira until it has nothing but the name and some window dressing in common with the spectacular original, and they claim that's proof that the original was no good. That's kind of like me trying to copy the Mona Lisa with a sharpie on construction paper, and pointing to the result as "proof" that the Mona Lisa isn't very good ... because, y'know, mine is just like the original, right, and it's not very good.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Peter

    Asians always get screwed over.

    Asians are a population minority, however are considered a majority when it comes to higher education.

    They dont receive the same affirmative action benefits as Black and Hispanics do even though the Asian population is even smaller than both of them.

    Double standards? Absolutely.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Calistudent

      You seem to be under the impression that affirmative action policies were put in place to help level the playing field for people who are numerical minorities. They are not. They are supposed to level the playing field for people who have historically been victims of *discrimination*. These are not the same things.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • jumpingeebus

      You cannot fix stupid it would seem

      January 13, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Risky

    Ninja Assassins was kinda cool. But the ending was balls.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  68. No Need to Guess

    Hollywood is as white as snow, and if a token makes it lucky for him/her. Look at the awards, looks like a banquet for Warren Buffet. The minorities of the world must take a stand and finally make Hollywood tolerant! They are a Human Resource's Worst Nightmare. If Hollywood was mostly minority maybe prejudice in this world might finally end!

    January 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Bob

      See my comment below about freight cars...

      January 13, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Bob

      Cheer up! We'll be gone soon.

      January 13, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • Detached HalfBreed

        Hell yeah! Internment camp payback for WW2! See how you like it.

        January 17, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  69. jdoe

    Hollywood still stereolypes races including Asian. Movies or shows with Asians still typically show them as either martial arts experts or brainy nerds. Having said that, most Asians I know don't make a big deal of it.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • RapidOne

      Hard working, smart and somewhat docile. Yes, it's true. And I am one of the very loud and troublemaking types Asians Lol...

      January 13, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flora

      That doesn't mean they're okay with it, it just means that they know better than to waste the effort trying to fight it. I love horror movies, but I know that the black character NEVER makes it to the end (after all these years, I've seen only 3 movies where that isn't true – 13 Ghosts, Jeepers Creepers 2, and AVP).

      But I don't whine about it. Not because it doesn't bother me, but because I know that I'll probably die of old age before they even consider getting rid of that old standby.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  70. aslidh89

    Its the asians fault for not putting up a fuss like black people. This would NEVER happen with black people, there would be an uproar, but all asians do is just shrug their shoulders and complain on asian forums.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Big Bob

    They'll be packing us onto freight cars any day now.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Detached HalfBreed

      Blame your boyfriend if you're getting packed, Bob.

      January 17, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • Detached HalfBreed

        "Packing onto freight cars". Hmmmmm is that some kind of gay code for busting a train or something? Need a lot of dudes to satisfy the type of packing Bob likes.

        January 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Paul

    It always appeared to me that anime characters where Americanized or Westernized in the first place, by the Asian writers and artists.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dubious

      Of course, they're trying to sell it to an international market.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  73. you

    If they F up Akira and it sucks I'm going to nuke something.

    Don't mess up my favorite anime movie of all time.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tha Chikin

      I am totally with you.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Mei

    This happens in every culture: even in religion. Everywhere you go, Jesus is a different color depending on the people worshipping Him. In Africa, He is black, in Europe He is white, in Asia he is asian, etc. People need to get over this and realize that each culture does it; it's just that no other country has the movie making magic that America does. A vast majority of Americans want to see the characters they see. If they didn't, they would vote with their dollars, just like when a movie tanks. Enjoy.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael Brooks

      Like when Avatar: The Last Airbender and Dragon Ball Z tanked largely because it was ridiculous to have white characters portraying asian roles.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • ted

      Wrong! In africa, Jesus is white...every where in Africa, Jesus and God are white, Satan-black.
      Trust me...christianity would have never been accepted in Africa if Jesus and God were not portrayed as whites.
      I grew up in West africa.
      While in doarding school, a crime was once commited, and an investigation was launche. We had a couple of mixed-race kids in school. When we said that one of them had done it, the black principle literarilly said, a white man is not capable of such evil...only a black man with his black heart can do such a thing. Those were his words. Africans worship whites...always have. Thats why we can´t compete against them. If you doubt me, take any white homeless guy from US and drop him in any black african country...people instantly start singing and dancing around them...I am black, and yes, blacks have serious issues concerning whites...I never lie to mysekf about that! We blacks can only fix this if we recognize it!

      January 14, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  75. geologist

    Tom Cruise to portray Barack Obama in the upcoming movie: 2008, the election.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • KK

      LOL. I am guessing Morgan Freeman will play Joe Biden and Whoopi Goldberg will play Hillary.

      January 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flora

      I believe Patrick Mooney made a joke similar to that: "The Last N-word on the Earth", starring Tom Hanks.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • Detached HalfBreed

        The guys name is Paul Mooney. They hate it when you call them some other name. (racist? IDK!)

        January 17, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Bernie

    Of the TOP 200 most Grossing and most Expensive movies of all time, how many can you say had a predominantly minority cast or the main star as a minority? Unless it is historical. It's just how hollywood is run. Will Smith is the ONLY exception to this rule.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • raf

      Don't foreget Denzel. Same old faces.

      January 13, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael Brooks

      Morgan Freeman?

      January 13, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • HELLO!!


      January 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  77. geologist


    They should make a movie about Lance Armstrong and have a black man play him. That would be the best.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Bob

      That would be as realistic as Morgan Freeman inventing an artifical tail for a dolphin!

      January 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ozzi

      Morgan Freeman as Lance Armstrong?

      January 13, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • LMNOP

        Morgan Freeman as _________ is always the right answer

        January 13, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Detached HalfBreed

      Sydney Poitier. Everybody else is too muscular.

      January 17, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Mawingu21

    Sorry, but I don't see the point of even bringing this up... Films are made for their region of original usually. If an American film were to remade in Asia I would not expect them to use American actors, and I'd expect certain locations to change... There are of course exceptions, but come on... Use some common sense.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • JeffinIL

      Is common sense allowed here?

      January 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • jojo mofo

      exactly, there are asian remakes of american movies staring asian actors... sheesh. I get it that white folks did really bad things to other races, but it's ok for some stuff to be aimed at that big rich white american demographic. It's more economics than anything, at this point.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • djlockerthebrain

      In Hollywood where these films are made white people are the minority. If your logic were true every actor would be asian or mexican.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • kittkitty

      american =/= white

      January 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Detached HalfBreed

      Did you know that some Americans look Asian? We could get away with it if we just use Asian (looking) American actors, right?

      January 17, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  79. John

    It is there money they are spending to produce these films. They are looking at actors like Tom Cruise because they are known box office draws (in other words if you have Cruise in your film it will probably be a blockbuster). If you don't like it then pony up your money and cast anyone you want. Though I suspect if you did that you would choose a near sure bet over someone to fill a diversity quota.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Squeezebox

      I'm sorry, but you could've had just as big of a draw using Jackie Chan (Chineese, but at least not white) in the lead. No excuse for Cruise unless you attend the same cult (oops I meant church) with him.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • SC

      The point of the article, and ensuing discussion, is to raise awareness of the issue. Hopefully someday movie studios will make just as much money without feeling the need to whitewash. Or, hopefully someday the "Tom Cruise" superstars won't be all white, and studios can still make their money with more accurate casting. That won't happen, though, if everyone just says "suck it up. If you don't like it, make your own movie."

      January 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Michael Brooks

        Will Smith?

        January 13, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Roklobstah

    Let's just admit, to truly Americanize it, we'd have to include a black (excuse me "African American") character in order for it to not be racist.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • you

      No we'd have to have every subset of races in there so we don't get in trouble. Where are the Asians..where are the blacks, where are the women. Blah blah blah. If a US OWNED movie studio wants to remake something and use white American actors then so be it. You don't see the Asians using a lot of white actors when they remake our crap do you? Then stop whining.

      January 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Michael Brooks

        Now I would say your ignorant. (Reference to "you.") A US movie studio should represent as many races as possible, especially when the US is made of many different races. Its a shame when you say that its alright for the US to "white-wash" movies. Your excuse that its alright because other countries don't use white actors is negligible. Other countries don't claim to be a land made of all peoples like the US does.

        January 13, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roklobstah

      You- you do know I was being sarcastic, not whining right?

      January 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  81. scdad

    Asians sure don't mind casting little white girls in anime. Look up the word "lolicon" to see what I mean

    January 13, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  82. DDM

    Anime and other asian/oriental based properties look stupid with white actors, since we are already familiar with the works being asian. I believe there would be a much more appreciative audience with asian/oriental actors, definitely including me. The world has grown much more accessible, we don't live in a white vacuum in the USA.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Samian

    Hollywood perpetuates racist stereotypes and promotes Caucasian superiority?
    Omg who knew?!

    January 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  84. Peter Lutwyche

    There are only a handful of Asian actors in Hollywood that anyone has ever heard of. Since the films will presumably be in English and would not have the backing of a major studio otherwise, this is just crying over spilt milk. The actors in Akira will have the same names as the manga / anime, but the setting won't be "Neo Tokyo", but instead some unnamed city. Hollywood owns the film rights to these intellectual properties, it's their prerogative to change them to try to make a decent movie.

    Btw- Avatar: The Last Airbender was terrible because it was HORRIBLE, not because of the white actors in it.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Michael

    Crying foul on "The Magnificent Seven" is wrong. It's not "White washing" when you are changing the country, time, etc. in an adaptation of a story. The Cohens's "Blood Simple" was remade a Chinese film with an all Chinese cast, was that wrong? Absolutely not.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • tuppence

      Well said.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Jim P.

    They left off John Wayne as Genghis Khan or some such Mongol type if I recall correctly. About like casting Frank Sinatra to play Sammy Davis Jr.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  87. guest314

    Either way, the remake will be a giant flop. Nothing can touch the original and remaking it with white people won't help. Some things should just be left alone.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Rex

    Just as a point of clarification, the Airbender movie didn't tank. $150 mil budget, about $315 mil box office worldwide.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • cnnssiek

      Rex, you are right – the movie tanked as far as many critics and fans were concerned, but it was not a box office failure. I've changed the wording to reflect that. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

      January 13, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Punk

      And that's why Hollywood keeps making cheap, crappy movies.

      January 13, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • F


        January 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Jimmy Crack Corn

    Is everything all about race with CNN?

    January 13, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Detached HalfBreed

      Well, CNN acknowledges other types of people. If you want your white sensibilities catered to, FOXnews can help you.

      January 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  90. Nate in CA

    Funny, because it sure seems that the original manga art is pretty well whitewashed.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  91. George

    seriously even in dragonball z the ultimate race known as the super saiyans is portrayed as blonde haired blue eyed gods who can never be defeated.....they always portray westerners in there shows...

    January 13, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  92. djdv

    Akira is awesome

    January 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  93. jtooshoes

    What is funny is that manga and anime characters are drawn to not look like asian characters at all. They are made to look like western characters, not asian characters and there is a reason for that.

    January 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      No, they aren't.


      January 13, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Debbie

        Eric, thank you for posting that. That was a very interesting video clip. I actually enjoyed it and learned a few things. II especially enjoyed the segment on the different hair/;eye colors and styles on the same faces. Manga authors and anime artists always use the same facial features and I've always wondered about it so this was very informative.

        January 13, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • Thomas


        Great post. I really liked it. Thanks for that. Much more informative, interesting and intelligent than some of the low brow "herro" posts.

        January 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • just me

        I have a daughter who is an anime artist, and she draws caracters of color. she's very talented.

        January 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • Just sayin'

        All very good points, though it doesn't address why so many of the east Asian characters also have blue or green eyes. Yes, I know of people with brown eyes who wear colored contacts. But last I checked, light hair color and eye color are most commonly Western traits.

        January 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • just sayin'

        Out of all of the anime characters in that clip, 12 had brown eyes, 6 had blue or green eyes, and one had gold eyes.

        January 13, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  94. lebowski1776

    The people with the money make the rules. Don't like it? Don't use their money.
    Bruce Lee's "Kung Fu" series was stolen and given to David Carradine because studios thought "Nobody will watch an Asian guy doing Martial Arts". So, that's what happens when studios 'think'. We haven't come too far since.

    January 13, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • wr

      Nonsense. Don't believe everything you see in the movies. Lee auditioned for the role and couldn't articulate well enough to get the part. Just as well – he wasn't a good enough actor for the role.
      But that's racist, right?

      January 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • Detached HalfBreed

        So was he used as a technical advisor or choreographer? Did he get any creative credit? Was he involved with his brainchild show at all, or was he excluded by execs? Please tell us, since you were obviously there.

        January 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Cycle of Castration

    It's all about money, clearly. There has always been a perception that there's no money in specifically catering to Asians in America, since Asians are a small minority (~4%) and because they don't have a strong pop cultural presence.

    But what if, by white-washing, the studios are actually preventing that pop culture presence from forming? They might be stalling the growth of anything Asian in American culture thereby removing any possibility of future Asian presence in media. And without that growth, the money won't ever come.

    They justify their actions by stating the current situation, then cement that situation into the future by continuing these actions. Lather-rinse-repeat.

    January 13, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cycle of Castration

      Btw, Thank you, Stephanie Siek and CNN for writing this.

      January 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  96. gah

    i believe hollywood definitely is whitewashing. this may be a lame example for those who never saw the cartoon and only the horrid film, but the last airbender should have been an entirely Asian cast. i watched the cartoon with my kids now and then and it was a beautiful Asian-themed animation that was witty and well-written (unlike the movie), but absolutely every character except the antagonists ended up being white. i'm white, and i still think it was horribly horribly miscast

    January 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Princesssookeh

    ^I'm glad you mention that! I don't in any way agree with whitewashing fictional characters(Isn't hollywood white enough?), I don't see how ANYONE can defend doing that to REAL PEOPLE.

    January 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  98. myopinion

    Why not let Asian actors play those parts? There are just as many talented Asian actors as there are white actors. The studios just want the money that certain names can bring.

    January 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gaylaird

      Asians are too busy manufacturing everthing that white peole wear/use to become actors. I did like Charlie Chan though...

      January 13, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Hiro the Eighth Samurai (and 14th Assassin)

    This writer easily could have mentioned the recent movies "21" and "Extraordinary Measures" as a couple more examples of how Hollywood whitewashes Asian-American roles. Those were real-life stories in which the protagonists are Asian-American, and yet Hollywood changed them into white. So Hollywood is not only whitewashing fictional characters, but characters based on real people as well. Warner Bros., the studio behind Akira, has at least a couple more movies on tap that force a white actor into the mix when an Asian or Asian-American actor would do just fine. It's the typical white savior comes to save the day and be the center of whatever "exotic" world he enters.

    January 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • cnnssiek

      You're absolutely right, Hiro. Those are also very good examples – in truth, I wanted to include them, too, but this piece is already over 1300 words in length.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mandie

        How does owning anime production artwork translate into expertise in topic of "whitewashing"? Also, how do you know that said collector has the largest privately owned collection in the world? Are you aware that there are collectors who have large, privately owned collections that choose not to publicize them?

        I'm of Hiro's mindset – Cite examples that can easily prove your point.

        January 13, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • Just sayin'

        Using "21" and "Extraordinary Measures" as examples would have made more sense than citing two Yul Brenner movies. As an ethnic Russian, he isn't a good example of "white-washing" Asian roles with his casting.

        January 13, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Hmm, what other examples can we think of recently? how about "The Departed" (an adaptation of the "Infernal Affairs" series), the Ring, the Grudge, etc... At least they didn't redo the Jackie Chan movies but just dubbed them, and let Jet Li and Jackie Chan play martial arts roles in the Rush Hour series.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Detached HalfBreed

        It would be difficult to remake Chan movies without special effects. Nobody, Asian or otherwise, can do what he does without training from childhood. Too bad he can't act.

        January 17, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • SilentBoy741

      Yes, that was my problem with the entire "Rush Hour" franchise - Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker were way too white for those roles.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
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