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.

CNN Red Chair Interview: Why Yul Kwon ditched law for TV

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.’”

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

    if the point here is to argue not for authenticity but proportional racial representation, in your analysis of the issue bear in mind that white people make up 72% of american population. so, you know, white guilt might trick you into an overly sympathetic ear toward the unrealistic inclusion of token minorities – just saying.

    January 14, 2012 at 3:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      So the 0.03% representation of Asian Americans is FAIR???? By your argument, Asian Americans should make up 6% of the media representation, which would be 200 times the representation that we see today!!!

      January 14, 2012 at 4:14 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cherie Del Angel

    Asians are HOT! I want me some more!!!!!!!

    January 14, 2012 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. Richard

    If you want to see AKIRA watch AKIRA... the original is amazing. Oh my god Hollywood needs some new writers. Or at least just steal parts from it and go a different direction with the rest.

    I'd go see the original Akira in theatres before a hollywood version unless it looks absolutely incredible.

    January 14, 2012 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Random

      Ha ha! It looks like the writers went on strike and never came back. So, the producer says "Hey I liked this as a kid." ... “I will just dress an actor as a cartoon character and make a mint."

      January 14, 2012 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. Stacy

    Hollywood needs actors that are adept at dropping the "F" bomb every other line. Most Asians would probably sound a little off key with that word.
    (See Austin Power's "Goldmember".)

    January 14, 2012 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. Majestic_Lizard

    It is stup!d that they are remaking Akira at all. It is a masterpiece as it is. You don't re-make a Rembrandt unless you are a useless, arrogant, jack a$$.

    January 14, 2012 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. cruisecontrol

    No surprise. We live in a Western culture, and these films are produced by Western film companies led by Western executives, to be shown to mostly Western audiences. If you watch Hawaii Five-0 on TV, you will have noticed that Kelly Hu's character was named Laura Hills, Masa Oki's is named Max Bergman, Daniel Dae Kim plays Chin Ho Kelly. All Asian characters with Western surnames. That's the culture we live in, right or wrong.

    January 14, 2012 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      The 6% of Americans that are Asian-Americans are Westerners living in a Western Culture. They are Americans, period. Of Asian descent. So, they should be marginalized and kept from media representation? Talk to Asian-American actors about how difficult it is to get any roles in film, TV, etc.

      January 14, 2012 at 4:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Beefburger

    HA! My favorite whitewash was Charles Bronson as a Native American.... with blue eyes and a mustache.

    January 14, 2012 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. Beefburger

    We in the US are far too caucasian centric. Open your horizons a bit to foreign entertainers. The Philippines alone have some awesome singing stars. Check out MYMP or Kitchie Nadal (yes, they sing in English xenophobes).

    January 14, 2012 at 2:55 am | Report abuse |
    • JVB1217

      Yeah, and it seems many of our caucasian actors are Brits so even white Americans are having difficulty landing roles.

      January 15, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. Observer

    It wouldn't be a big deal if the practice of 'whitewashing' wasn't so prevalent in film production. The movie '21' with Kevin Spacey focused on an MIT student who was really good with numbers. The character (as written in the book 'Bringing Down the House') was white. The person it was based on in real life is a guy named Jeff Ma (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Ma). Although Aaron Yoo was included in the cast, his role was supporting. In the imdb.com photos from the production, they even post pictures of Ma with the producer Dana Brunetti and author of the book Ben Mezrich but don't bother to mention Ma's name.

    January 14, 2012 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      January 14, 2012 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. Pooch

    White wash all you want – that doesn't change the fact that Asians comprise 56% of the world population and China is taking over the world.

    January 14, 2012 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      And South Korea has taken over much of the pop culture world.

      January 14, 2012 at 4:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. Cannon

    Amazing! Some of you act as if this suddenly startles you. Hollywood has been doing this for decades.

    Anyone remember Elizabeth Taylor playing Cleopatra, or Charlton Heston playing Moses in the Ten Commandments along with Yule Brynner as the "Pharaoh?" How about all of the old cowboy and Indian films where all of the Indians were played by white actors? Ring a bell?

    It's not only about Hollywood wanting to make money by appealing to the largest racial population in the states. It's also about Hollywood attempting to rewrite history and deceive the younger generations coming up, by having Caucasians take credit for accomplishments they were never involved in.

    January 14, 2012 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
    • jas0n

      Wow – a Hollywood conspiracy! And here I thought I they just wanted to cast big names for their movies.

      January 14, 2012 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
    • DA

      Oh please, there is no Hollywood conspiracy to rewrite history.

      These guys care about one thing: money.

      There is a long history of white actors doing all roles because the traditionally white movie-going population likes watching white people.

      January 14, 2012 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
      • Cannon

        Sadly.......you are mistaken. White's do not have a monopoly on movie watching. I'd imagine every race enjoys a good movie as much as the next.

        Your statement proves my point though,

        "There is a long history of white actors doing all roles because the traditionally white movie-going population likes watching white people."

        Exactly........white Americans only want to see white actors playing in roles, even if it isn't historically accurate. Intentional or not, this deceives the young public who don't know their history, into thinking that whites have accomplished things they actually never took part in.

        January 14, 2012 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
      • Michael

        Not true DA...Look at what the jews do to American tv... Watch ANY american tv show or movie and you`ll see the jews ideal...On tv they protray jews as people who socialize with Non-jews... Ive lived in New York City my whole life where the biggest population of jews live in America and ill tell you this they do NOT socialize with nonjews unless it has something to do with money...On tv shows all you hear is about jewish traditions Now i dont have a problem with jews or there traditions the problem i do have is what about american traditions on tv what happened to it?? jews make up a small portion of american population why do we cater to there needs first and Americans second??? example: Law and order had a show where the bad guys name was jewish...Jews went into an uproar(google it) Law and order had to make sure jews werent betrayed in any Negative way... Look at the show NEW GIRL the black guy doesnt have a job but the jew on the show has alot of money... Shows like..The League,Modern family,Up all night,Whitney,Saturday night live(which is all jews now,why?) Basically channel 4.... Saturday night live is proof in itself how jews look out for one another because SNL hasent been the same ever since the jews took over it...The jokes are very lame and dry... Also notice how the jews are always up front and the blacks are barely in skits...I miss the America i grew up in... America some how turned into israel...

        January 14, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
      • Michael

        Cannon You have no point because whites arent the majority anymore...If they were then you would be correct... But there not anymore... The problem is Hollywood hasent caught up to that fact yet... White people just want something that they could say "thats still ours" throughout history white people have been getting(taking) what they want now there just mad because the times are changing and they dont get half of what they use to...How does it feel to be normal???

        January 14, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • jiangw

      Yeah that's pretty absurd
      I'm Asian and I"m sure no one thinks those people were white except Cleopatra, who was Greek

      January 14, 2012 at 5:52 am | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra was not whitewashing. Cleopatra was Greek.

      January 14, 2012 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |
      • ryan

        (To be fair, it's entirely possible Cleopatra might've had some African blood, as her Greek family had lived in Egypt for some time... but it's also possible that she looked just like Elizabeth Taylor.)

        January 14, 2012 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
  12. joe

    This is another attempt by Asians to claim victim status so they can have the same reparations that black people get.

    January 14, 2012 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
    • lservis

      tired of the white guilt thing...

      January 14, 2012 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
    • tfresh11

      you know, blacks weren't the only race of people with a history of American racism and discrimination...look up "yellow peril" and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

      January 14, 2012 at 3:21 am | Report abuse |
      • alex

        The exclusion act wasn't racist. It excluded Chinese nationals not ethnicity. This was after they got MFN status btw.

        January 14, 2012 at 3:34 am | Report abuse |
  13. Tom Vogler

    I'm ashamed to be an American because of this. Every single member of the cast for such a movie should be Asian!

    January 14, 2012 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      Well, we can aim for better than 0.03%!!!

      January 14, 2012 at 4:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      You really need to find more important things to be ashamed about!

      January 15, 2012 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. Novusod

    It is not just East Asian roles that get whitewashed. Look at the casting of Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince of Persia. How hard is it to find an actual Persian to fill the role.

    January 14, 2012 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
    • alex

      I hear Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is available after he's done trying to start a nuclear war.

      January 14, 2012 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
      • Beefburger

        I hear that Mahmoud Ineedastraightjacket will be playing the part of an AIDS infected gay man.

        January 14, 2012 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. alex

    Maybe if more Orientals became movie stars and pop icons instead of doctors and engineers then there would be more to star in movies. Jackie Chan can only do so much.

    January 14, 2012 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
    • chris

      the correct term is asian, jack

      January 14, 2012 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
      • alex

        Oriental – Of or relating to the countries of the Orient or their peoples or cultures; eastern.

        January 14, 2012 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
    • John Stanowski

      What are you talking about? There are tons of asian movie stars. Just not in Hollywood.

      January 14, 2012 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
      • alex

        The problem is they can't speak English very well. Even Jackie Chan had issues with "Baby sister" vs. "Baby sitter" in Rush Hour. That's fine for comedies but not for much else.

        January 14, 2012 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
      • John Stanowski

        Okay. I thought you were saying there weren't very many asian films. (I have an entire wall full of them.)

        January 14, 2012 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
      • Taylor

        There are tons of Asian American actors that speak perfect English, but move to Asia because they cannot get roles in the US.

        January 14, 2012 at 4:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      There are a ton of Asian American actors that move to Asia because they cannot find film or TV roles in the US... they are American, fluent in English, and many are amazing actors. Examples include: Wang Lee Hom, Han Yeseul, Daniel Henney, Eric Mun, Maggie Q, etc...

      January 14, 2012 at 4:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      The "Orient" technically refers to Persia and neighboring countries.

      January 14, 2012 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
  16. jdoe

    Akira is a pretty long movie. The Hollywood version will likely be a lot shorter. Don't see how they can do it without mangling the story.

    January 14, 2012 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
  17. jdoe

    Akira is a pretty long movie. The Hollywood version will likely be a lot short. Don't see how they can do it without mangling the story.

    January 14, 2012 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
  18. duke

    I want Brad Pitt to play Jackie Chan

    I also want Brad Pitt to play Oprah.

    January 14, 2012 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  19. Crom2112

    I wonder if all of you who are hot and bothered about this "controversy" were this upset when Arnold played Abraham Lincoln on Diff'rent Strokes.

    January 14, 2012 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      Perhaps you do not comprehend the points that many of the posters are making. Please read more carefully.

      January 14, 2012 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
    • alex

      Somebody's been up watching TV Land reruns.

      January 14, 2012 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Crom2112

      Help! Help! I'm being oppressed!

      January 14, 2012 at 3:43 am | Report abuse |
  20. Pike

    Stop begging. The people who run CNN corporation only care about making money. They're just trolling to try to get more asians to read and watch CNN.

    January 14, 2012 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Benjamin52

      It's far from only asians who are concerned with the Hollywood style of adaptation – worldwide anime and game fans have been talking about this sort of thing for literally decades. With that said, I will agree with you about CNN – after all, it took them how many months to run a story about SOPA?

      January 14, 2012 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  21. Jennifer

    Only those idiots in "hollywood" white wash things and what happens they ALWAYS bomb....

    January 14, 2012 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  22. Steve

    I will only watch a live action American made Akira film if I pirate the piece of garbage for free.

    January 14, 2012 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  23. Ivan

    "Yul Brynner as King Mongkut in the 1956 film "The King and I,"

    Wait a minute there. Yul Brynner was definitely Asian. He was born in Vladivostok, which is in Asia. His mother was of part Buryat Mongol ancestry. It seems obvious enough when you look at him. The problem isn't that he wasn't Asian, but rather that he wasn't South-East Asian.

    January 14, 2012 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
    • SERI

      Yul Brynner was half Swiss (father), part Romani (mother), and had a tiny bit of Mongol. Vladivostok is part of Russia, and most people that live there are ethnically Russian and Ukrainian (Caucasian).

      January 14, 2012 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
    • E

      You have any concept of how far apart Siberia and Thailand are? Go look at photographs of the king that he portrayed, they are on the internet. They look nothing whatsoever alike in any way.

      January 14, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  24. CaliMafia

    ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE. They won't stand still long enough for you to whitewash 'em.

    January 14, 2012 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  25. Dean

    who cares what race the actors are hollywood should just focus on making some decent movies, They seem to struggle enough with that

    January 14, 2012 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  26. Brade Lunnel

    Novelty, boys, novelty. No one wants to see the new Hamburger Samurai version of Akira. As a die-hard fan of this amazing Manga, I guarantee you that a mostly Asian cast speaking perfect English on a very ethnic set will make a lot of money in the Western world. Do you want to watch your old white granny nit a sweater for money? No, you want something a little different to watch. Watch the original Akira on Youtube, and you will see how it should be.

    January 14, 2012 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  27. Buzz

    LIve action Akira???? Only someone who's never seen Akira would even consider making (or watching) a live action Akira.

    January 14, 2012 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian P

      ^^^ Can't be said any better.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Joshua Ludd

      Which is why Hollywood wants to make it... because none of the people involved HAS seen it.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Dean

      i have seen Akira and loved it but i will still watch this movie. I will most likely suck but i wont just ignore it because of the material it's based on

      January 14, 2012 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  28. Dennis

    I can't believe they whitewashed the background of this webpage. It was colorful when they first invented the Internet.

    January 14, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  29. Hale

    I don't get it. What is the big deal? You don't see American stars make it big on Asian movies! So what? These are American movies. Play what we want to see and not teach us a lesson in affirmative action.

    January 14, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • SERI

      Asian Americans are Americans, too. The fact that you are equating white with American is racist itself.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael M.

      The deal is, it's often NOT what we want to see.

      Just look at The Last Airbender – story problems aside, the animated series has a HUUUGE following. Then the fans go to see the movie, and instead of any identifiable characters, they received a cast full of mostly caucasian remakes. The major audience for the movie was already attached to one version of the characters, and there wasn't ANY reason to make them a different race. It was Director/Producer fiat, plain and simple.

      So M. Night basically alienated the vast majority of the fanbase by unnecessarily changing the characters, and then alienated everybody with a script that read like a Middle School interpretation of the animated show.

      Same argument can be made for Akira and other animated-to-live-action type deals. The fans are already attached to one version of the character. Unless the change fits, unless the character is written so well, unless the film is good – you're alienating your most devoted audience.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  30. jdoe

    Forget about the casting. How about movies with realistic action scenes instead of stylized slow-motion shots, fake shaky-camera motion, dizzyingly fast cuts, unconvincing CGI, or sudden loud noises. You would with today's technology movies would be more realistic, but often they're so overblown that you stop caring about the story.

    January 14, 2012 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  31. EuroAmerican

    I have an idea: let's cap the percentage of Asians in science / engineering graduate programs and jobs at 3%, seeing that they are vastly overrepresented in those areas. If Asian American leaders call for this, then in exchange, we can cast more Asian American actors in films.

    I think that there are too many Asians in these programs, who are taking away spots from European Americans. Oriental leaders never seem to mind European American underrepresentation in these areas, they only care about Asian underrepresentation in media. I would gladly exchange proportionate Asian representation in the media for proportionate European American representation in science / engineering jobs and graduate programs.

    January 14, 2012 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
    • jdoe

      Lame. Many a tiny few do, but most Asians don't care who's in the movies.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Edward

      The thing is, studies already prove that Asian and Asian American applicants score significantly higher than their white and black counterparts for the same chance of admission. They are already facing discrimination in the admissions process and are still doing well. This is also different from making movies off of real-life Asian stories or fictional Asian characters and repeatedly whitewashing them. It makes even less sense given how popular Asian entertainment is on Youtube, the internet, and many other media channels. Asians are commercially viable but it's almost like they are deliberately whitewashed to not portray them positively. In some ways I feel it's related to the white supremacist narrative that they invented everything in history. It carries over into entertainment because these same supremacists get real uncomfortable if the hero isn't always white.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael M.

      Are you mad because you can't do Kung Fu, or are you mad because your 2.5 GPA wasn't enough to get into Harvard without a trust fund?

      Either way, you should probably think a bit more before you speak.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
    • SERI

      This is already done to some extent... it is 30% more difficult for Asian Americans to get admitted into top schools relative to whites, and despite the high accomplishments, it is more difficult for Asian Americans to advance to top positions in Science relative to their high achievements.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • alex

      Orientals are good at math and science but not very good at thinking creatively or artistic expression.

      January 14, 2012 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
      • jason

        "Orientals are good at math and science but not very good at thinking creatively or artistic expression."

        you do realize you are commenting on a story about Hollywood remaking Asian movies/animes that are hugely popular worldwide.

        January 14, 2012 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
      • Pooch

        Anime = Art

        You must be Caucasoid

        January 14, 2012 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
      • Beefburger

        Ok, that was about the most retarded statement ever. Considering that we are stealing their movie ideas to remake them because Hollywood would otherwise have kept making sequels until we were down to The Bourne Incontenence and Scream 25; I Know What You Did Last Season of Matlock.

        January 14, 2012 at 3:43 am | Report abuse |
      • Taylor

        Uh EXCUSE ME??? Most people I know in Asia are artists!!! including creative writers and composers. What is the basis of your incredibly idiotic statement????

        January 14, 2012 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
      • Taylor

        Half the Hollywood films I've seen lately have been ripoffs of Asian films, like The Departed, the Lake House, the Uninvited, etc... so who is lacking in creativity here????

        January 14, 2012 at 4:35 am | Report abuse |
  32. Isaac Bickerstaff

    When will we learn to ignore the diversity racketeers? If they want movies with actors they deem proper, let them raise the money and make them.

    Really, its a pathetically weak line of reasoning. Can only English actors appear in Shakespeare? What about his plays set in Italy or Greece? Should they have Italian, Greek or English actors?

    We need to tell everyone in the diversity industry to shut up, sit down and go get a real job.

    January 14, 2012 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
    • marcus

      I take offense to this email as a worker in the diversity industry. Not only do we have good benefits, we also get paid vacations. But on your other points, I'm completely with you.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Edward

      You say this but I bet you have a big problem with Tyler Perry movies. Minorities (not Asian) have recognized this problem and decided they have to create their own market for their own movies. Then, people like you probably complain why Tyler Perry and others make movies geared towards minority audiences. You basically blame them no matter what.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  33. Edward

    The blackjack movie '21' was another whitewash. Almost all the real-life characters were Asian American but before they auditioned any actors the studio already decided to whitewash the movie.
    Another example is the movie 'The Departed'. This movie, which earned Best Picture and Best Script Oscars, was almost a scene for scene rip-off of the Asian movie 'Infernal Affairs', which was a great movie and did not have to be whitewashed. The fact that the writer won an Oscar for best script is laughable, all he did was translate the script.

    January 14, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • John Stanowski

      It was a Hollywood remake of Infernal Affairs.

      January 14, 2012 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
  34. crickets

    i don't see the big fuss. of course they cast white people. the industry makes more money that way – it's a fact. fewer people will go see asian characters. don't blame hollywood, blame the viewer. hollywood is a business at its core, and it will do its most to make money. that's why the films they make aren't even that good.
    maybe asians should worry less about being in crappy hollywood remakes and just make themselves known on their own terms. same goes for blacks, latinos, and others. why make a fuss about not getting into the white man's party? start a different party.

    January 14, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Edward

      There are many many examples of Asian art, media, and personalities in TV, film, and the internet that prove you wrong. There are millions of non-Asians who are big fans of Asian faces in entertainment. Hollywood is basically saying white Americans are xenophobic or bigoted towards seeing Asian faces in movies when there is plenty of evidence to prove that Asians are commercially viable. I suspect the real reason is studio bosses don't want to portray Asians positively, period.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
      • mark

        I don't think there are 'millions,' perhaps more like 'thousands.'

        January 14, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
      • Edward

        Over half the top 10 Youtube personalities are Asian, and these personalities have many millions of subscribers who view their content every time they post something. There is huge interest and popularity for Asian faces and they are commercially viable. Building a large audience and attracting eyeballs is normally the path to larger roles and media jobs, but for Asians they are still ignored or whitewashed.

        January 14, 2012 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
      • SERI

        @Mark, out of the 3 BILLION YouTube hits for Korean pop, much of the interest is coming from the United States. There is also a large following of Korean and Chinese TV and film coming from the US. The viewership is in the MILLIONS.

        January 14, 2012 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
    • SERI

      There is definitely a demand for Asian and Asian American media that is not met in this country... of the 3 billion YouTube hits for Korean pop, a disproportionate number of clicks are from the United States.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  35. Hale

    I'm an Asian American and I want Tom Cruise to play Tetsuo!

    January 14, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
    • frou frou

      It would be double awesome if Tom Cruise played Jackie Chan in the next Jackie Chan film.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Beefburger

      Maybe Keanu Reeves, but maybe 50% is still "too Asian".

      January 14, 2012 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
  36. Blombach

    Stephanie Siek is a war monger. To say that Hollywood is "white-washing" Manga is to show ignorance of the genre. many Manga feature blond, round-eyed, light-skinned characters. Remember Speed Racer? Hellsing? Dragon Ball Z? Pokemon? If Hollywood is casting white (or hapa) characters for a Manga movie, then they are honoring the spirit of the Managa that its creators intended. Any attempt to divert this into a racial attack against Hollywood/whites/etc is just ignorant and inciteful. Baka da yo!

    January 14, 2012 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  37. Miguel Caron

    It's only wrong to make Goku a white kid if it was wrong to make Nick Fury turn into Samuel L. Jackson.

    January 14, 2012 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Hale

      Goku turns white when he goes super saiyan. How about that? Look it doesn't matter what color or maybe it does, but I don't care.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  38. Voice of Reason

    Thank God Asian Americans are making this an issue. Something is wrong with White America if all they want to see are Whites portrayed in film. Hollywood created this privileged way of thinking. Why are American heroes White? Why are most sit coms White? Why do many White parents not allow their children to attend non-majority White schools even when the school is better than the private school they opt for their child to attend? I will tell you why. The question is will you embrace the answer.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lew

      Who really cares? It's just a freaking movie. It is not important. And by the way, white people are not the owners of Hollywood. Hollywood is 100% a Jewish thing...

      January 13, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • friend

        I'm sorry, I can't believe you would say this. I think Hollywood is 52% Jewish, 28% Holly, and 9% Woody. The rest is dandruff and bellybutton lint.

        January 14, 2012 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
      • Lew

        100% kosher . So if you want "diversity" (just an the illusion because as I said it before it's just a freaking movie) talk to them..

        January 14, 2012 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  39. Lew

    guys, the thing is who cares if you see blacks, browns, whites, Asians if only one ethnicity (2% of the population) has the real power. They are laughing at us fighting for some stupid crap..while they own this country

    January 13, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • lewb

      Trust me, they do not own this country. I do. And I will not reveal myself.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Ben Goldman

      yeah right..Zionists own this country.. everybody knows it

      January 14, 2012 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  40. QuietStormX (Carroll E. Gant, JR)

    I saw this headline and said, Hmmmm.... Reading it sounds like what we Black Americans say about what is put out by Hollywood. For me, I've just stoped paying my money for crap or boring stuff with white actors or white stories only. I have a serious problem with the implied "American" reference (white). America is not all white! Have you looked around? I would like to see Black actors like me in real stories or caractors in leads. When I watch a Film or Story I say is this a white story or subject? Could a actor of color be in this Film or Story? Wondering who is behind the project. Are they all white? Untill we people of color or non white stop paying or seeing this white wash of Hollywood. I'll watch or pay to see a subject or Story that interests me. But I've just stoped going to see this white wash of Hollywood crap. I see it mostly all media....

    January 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • SERI

      Well said! Most people I know have completely stopped paying attention to Hollywood or MTV. We have checked out and gone elsewhere... to YouTube, Youku, Tudou, MySoju, etc.

      January 14, 2012 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
    • yummyboy

      I never thought that African-Americans were underrepresented in Hollywood, there are so much more of them, big name-wise. Wasn't the problem black characters die first?

      January 14, 2012 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  41. Natalie

    There is nothing wrong with taking movie/tv/books ideas from other countries and making them 'american'. Of course american can be people of european, middle eastern, asian, african, etc descent. Other countries do the same thing, they remake them to fit their culture. As long as the caucasian actors aren't portraying asian actors (like some of the examples they gave in the article) it isn't racist. But on another note they really should try to use non-european actors more.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • greg

      "Other countries do the same thing, they remake them to fit their culture."

      January 13, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lew

        They do. Or do you see any Asian movie with white or black people in it?

        January 13, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lane

        Asian-Americans are part of American culture.

        January 14, 2012 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
      • Natalie

        Really I will leave you with one example: What Women Want (Chinese). It is a remake of that stupid movie with Mel Gibson. It was remade to better fit Chinese culture.

        January 14, 2012 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Adrian

      It'd be better to leave it how it was originally made (maybe besides the language). It would give foreigners a sense of another culture... maybe more people would be open-minded. America pumps out enough movies. I don't think foreign films need to be Americanized.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lane

        YES!!!! Rather than Hollywood remaking Asian films (The Departed, The Uninvited, the Lake House, etc.), I'd much much rather see the original Asian Films. The best vampire movie ever was the Korean film "Thirst," and it hardly got a showing in the US, despite the Cannes Award.

        January 14, 2012 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  42. SERI

    This is also why me, my friends, and all my relatives have abandoned Hollywood and MTV. Now I watch Korean and Chinese TV and films, and get my celebrity news from allkpop.com.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • SERI

      Hollywood: take note – we are the biggest per capita spenders in this country, and we have abandoned (because you have abandoned us).

      January 13, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • SERI

        Sorry, Typo

        Here's the correction:

        Hollywood, take note: We are the biggest per capita spenders in this country, and we have abandoned YOU (because you have abandoned us).

        January 13, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • choco bumbs

        You aren't "US"

        January 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • SERI

        @Choco bumbs: Because of Hollywood neglect, the consumption of Asian media by Americans is HUGE. "US" comprises a large number of Americans, evident from the large number of YouTube clicks of Asian media by AMERICANS.

        January 14, 2012 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
    • choco bumbs

      No one in their right mind watches Chinese tv.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • SERI

        You are a moron

        January 14, 2012 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  43. flippin tree

    If you want it pure, you keep to the original down to the core. But it is not uncommon for any country to adapt a movie or play or song to their part of the world. Not a big deal. if you want teh original, then download the original and see it that way.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  44. popejon

    I love it, the overwhelming majority of main characters on the 4 free networks are white. Yet you get people crying here that their are not enough white people on BET or the Spanish channels or on TV in Asia. There's a reason there's not many white people in Asia. Tell you what, be a ground breaking white immigrant and go work for $2 an hour in Vietnam and live in a hut with a dirt floor. Then get back to me why there's not that many whites in Asia....

    January 13, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • flippin tree


      January 13, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lew

      Asians are only 5% of the population. And the networks owners are Jewish not white...

      January 13, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • waka

        most jews are more or less white,besides they answer to a white audience!

        January 13, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lew

        Jewish themselves aren't white. read a book

        January 13, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • SERI

        Genetically, many of them are; studies show that Jewish populations originating from Europe (predominantly Ashkenazi) are genetically related to the populations of the European countries in which they resided. Most American Jews are genetically proximate to Germans, etc.

        January 14, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
      • Ben Goldman

        That's why they promote hatred toward white people doh...

        January 14, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
    • crickets

      i don't see the big fuss. of course they cast white people. the industry makes more money that way – it's a fact. fewer people will go see asian characters. don't blame hollywood, blame the viewer. hollywood is a business at its core, and it will do its most to make money. that's why the films they make aren't even that good.
      maybe asians should worry less about being in crappy hollywood remakes and just make themselves known on their own terms. same goes for blacks, latinos, and others. why make a fuss about not getting into the white man's party? start a different party.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  45. SERI

    This is true of popular magazines, as well. Vanity Fair features Asians and Asian Americans in 0.03% of their ads and features, when they make up 5-6% of the US population and spend the highest per capita in clothing and luxury items among all demographic groups in the US.

    Also, MTV.com does not feature Asian musicians even if they win major awards (BIGBANG, best world act award for 2011), or make it to #1 in the US charts (Far East Movement), or have the largest number of YouTube hits in the world in a given week (Super Junior).

    January 13, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lew

      Watch some commercials..Most of them have Asian people...Sometimes you think the commercial is from Vietnam or something...

      January 13, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • SERI

        I have not seen a single commercial with an Asian person on TV where I live. I do not live in CA or NY.

        January 13, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lew

        Maybe you are blind...whaterever

        January 13, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • choco bumbs

      How many white people are in Chinese ads? lololol can't have it both ways shorty

      January 13, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • Nicole

        There's not enough white people to make a dent in the chinese census, which is why you may THINK they're not in a lot of ads. Reality: there are white people in ads in Asia.

        January 25, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  46. sup

    bottom line is, an asian character doesn't sell well in America – whether its the physical appearance or just plain blandness of an asian person .......but it sure doesn't help that asians don't have pride in themselves...they always look up to the white or blacks......maybe if asians would stand stall and say hey F you all, this is who we be! maybe asians can gain a little more respect.....only person that ever pulled this off was Bruce Lee , mainly because he had huge amount of self confidence...

    January 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • SERI

      Korean pop received 3 billion YouTube hits, with the largest number of hits from the United States, so obviously there are Americans that are interested in Asian celebrities and media.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  47. SERI



    January 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • hugh

      good, they can all move back to korea

      January 14, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Al

    Yul Brynner was born 11 July 1920, in Vladivostok, Primorsky Krai, Russian SFSR, USSR [now Russia]. He was Asian, not Caucasian.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • cletus

      So race is Geographic?

      January 13, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • SERI

      Yul Brynner's father was Swiss, his mother mixed

      January 14, 2012 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  49. K

    Articles like this are retarded. How many white roles have been recast or changed to non-white actors all in the name of "diversity?" Why is no one complaining about that? Walking Tall, Charlies Angels, Shawshank Redemption, Conan the Barbarian... just to name a few. Then there was that casting director who got fired for turning down an audition from an Asian actress for the Hobbit film. So now we have Asian hobbits.

    The complainers quoted in this article are just ethnocentric closet racists as far as I'm concerned.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      The Hobbit thing annoyed me cause let's face it, Tolkien wrote Shire Hobbits described as white, and Hobbits in other areas as darker, plus he wrote the books in Iceland and based on the looks of nordics. Regardless forcing one race into a role for the sake of diversity. Hollywood casts based on MONEY! If they don't think they'll get profit – why do it? I wouldn't mind seeing more Asian guys or Asian women playing more than a girlfriend role.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  50. cj

    Chris Tucker covered this when he told Jackie Chan "Don't nobody understand the words that are coming out of your mouth man."

    January 13, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Anchorite

    Racebending,com is a site with a chip on its shoulder and I think does a disservice to Asians and Asian-Americans. In the past racial miscasting was about racism; now it's about markets. Charlie's Angels actually added an Asian actor (Lucy Liu) because audiences liked her. U-571 replaced British historical figures with Americans to appeal to an American audience. Wild Wild West (Will Smith), The Nutty Professor (Eddie Murphy), and Dr. Doolittle (also Murphy) turned white protagonists into a black ones because the particular black stars were popular. U-571 and Pearl Harbor also featured black actors in roles they never would have been allowed in WWII by a racist white military to please modern day audiences.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Lew

    And by the way, if you watch American commercials most of them have Asian people, sometimes you think you are watching commercials from some Asian country...and they are less than 6% of the population...

    January 13, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • nonnoboy

      Huh? Asian are the majority in population with over 1.6 billion Chinese and 1.3 billion Indians? Asians make up some 40% of the world. (facts vs perception)? Maybe?

      January 14, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  53. D. Surprenant

    I'm a white guy living in the international city of Hong Kong and the local movies here have all-Chinese casts. The occasional white guy is either a triad thug or sleaze bag. Asians don't seem to mind this though.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Lew

    Diversity? Ok let's talk seriously: All the chairmen of the Federal Reserve have been-are-will be Jewish...

    January 13, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lew

      And remember they are only the 2% of the population...

      January 13, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Bernanke and Greenspan, yes, but who else? I think that's it, really. What's your point, anyway?

      January 13, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lew

        My point is that in things that really matter, there's no diversity...Because I don't care if I see an Asian, white, yellow , brown,red, black on Tv while some ethnicity (2% of the population) has the real power

        January 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  55. rushbaby

    Hollywood is proof that those liberal elite are a bunch of racists

    January 13, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anchorite

      Hollywood is actually run by conservative producers who are mostly elitists and racists. Any actor will tell you Hollywood is right-wing. Ever heard of the blacklist era against leftists?

      January 13, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • cletus

        The blacklist grew out of Mcarthyism...and he was from Wisconsin.

        January 13, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Jupmna

    as a matter of fact here is the link watch the interview!

    January 13, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Jupmna

    There is a New Episode of the Daily show this week where George Lucas explains it. He doing a movie with an all black cast. No studio wanted it because it can't sell. Even Dave Chappell on Inside the Actors Studio for a move he did. The studio wanted to cast a white person in one characters place. After hearing Mr. Lucas' explanation being a well know director I get it now.

    Hollywood is all about pleasing dumb uncultured white people world wide just to make money. Its not about race. Hollywood is a drug and selling to sheep is their hustle. Don't complain to a coke dealer about not selling weed or meth.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  58. sup

    whitewashing asians? thats nothing new , remember Kung Fu ? lol I like David Carradine, but he was NOT chinese LOL

    January 13, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  59. ANnoyedAsian

    As an Asian American, I find this article retarded. Why are Asian films full of Asian Actors? THey're being racist! THEY should cast more WHITE Actors! Black Actors, Da*M those RACIST ASIAN FILM MAKERS! Wait, could it be BECAUSE there is a large majoriity of the population who would NOT buy a ticket to see a film with a star that they could not relate to? Really...the author of this article should go buy a clue. If there was a large enough chunk of the American population that would want to buy a ticket to see a movie with an Asian actor as the lead, believe me, Hollywood would cast an Asian actor in seconds.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • sup

      right, but the difference here is that, these are asian based characters , and theyre using whites? that makes no sense.......

      January 13, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • a real asian

      you're too retarded to be an asian. first of all, no country in asia has a population that's is as multi-colored and multi-cultured as the USA - so your comparison is just plain stupid. second, we are not talking about asian actors, we are talking about asian-AMERICAN actors. third, these people are adapting IPs that are CLEARLY asian-inspired (dragonball, akira, etc) and wrapping them around white leads. if you don't think that's ridiculous, imagine an asian superman or an asian batman.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • dsffs

        actually singapore is very diverse

        January 14, 2012 at 2:55 am | Report abuse |
  60. alex

    People don't get it. They start arguments such as Tyler Perry's movies are "racist" because they cast only African Americans. Well... the characters ARE African Americans, so somehow that make sense. Then someone even more intelligent say that Spanish TV only cast latinos ... well they are in Spanish and only those latinos who can speak Spanish could potentially play those characters.
    The point is that there are VERY FEW opportunities for Asian American to play Asian American characters on movies or TV and that it seems somehow unfair that those parts go to White actors who can play PLENTY of White characters on TV and movies. It is an issue closely related to representation. The Anglo community have no idea of what that is because it has NEVER been an issue in the story of this country

    January 13, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Huh?

    Asian-Americans (particularly guys) needs more of a presence in Hollywood. They need to save the day, GET THE GIRL, and manage to look "cool" while doing that. And white actors have been hogging practically 90% of that in Hollywood nowadays. So, get rid of "white-washing" and let Asian-Americans shine!

    January 13, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • lindey

      oh please, the problem is that many DO NOT find asian men attractive

      January 13, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • sup

        true, but most people dont find black women attractive either, but the media throws them out there whether we like it or not

        January 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • Albeebee

        And it is largely the result of under representation, stereotypes, caricature, and "villainization" of asian men as history has shown. This trend started after WWII.

        However, the reality is often the opposite. They have the highest average income in America according to the last survey if I remember correctly, and the most educated in average. Their status and achievements are far from the way they are almost always portrayed in movies, making them unattractive to the uneducated public, and to film casters, and so only more bad roles for them. It is a vicious cycle.

        In fact, there were asian men casted in lead romantic role in Pre War era.

        January 14, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
      • Realist

        Speak for yourself. You'd be shocked at how many women of all races like Asian guys. Plus it's just a matter of time before an A-list Hollywood actress would out herself as a fan of Asian guys and would willingly date one publicly, whether the moguls or the public like it or not.

        January 14, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
      • willie

        i think thats true. in california i know MANY asian women who do not date asian men.

        January 15, 2012 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
    • choco bumbs

      So where are the white guys in China?

      January 13, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
      • Albeebee

        I don't think China has plans to remake Superman anytime soon...

        January 14, 2012 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
      • SERI

        @Choco bumbs: America is NOT a White Nation

        January 14, 2012 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  62. Catch-22

    As one who always looks to Hollywood for my moral guidance, and being one of the perpetually offended, I have to admit it always upset me that they never used real Hobbits in Lord of the Rings!

    January 13, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • a real asian

      great comparison, as we all know asians are a mythical race that doesn't actually exist

      January 13, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anchorite

      I know, right? Plenty of real, talented Hobbits tried out for the part, but they were unknowns so they went with humans who had a following even though it cost a lot of money to make them look short and do their fake body hair.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • cbm49

      come on. this isn't a funny issue. since the eeoc began recognizing bfoq's (bona fide occupational qualifications-in this case, an historical drama for example) hollywood producers and directors have insisted they needed white women or men only in certain parts because having a minority in such roles would be incongruous with history. If logic hold true for using white men and women for certain parts then it should also hold true for who is or is not considered for parts based on stories from Asia.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  63. RonCarlos319

    Since when was Rita Moreno white?

    January 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  64. LarryDaCableGuy

    ya know that B.E.T. channel seem bit racist to me. Dey need bit more diversity. Get er' done.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      So, ONE "black" channel versus TONS of "white" channels? Fail. Next!

      January 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • sup

        BET is the one that needs to get with the times.....all the "white" channels, now have a balanced amount of black/white/hispanic faces on their shows.

        January 13, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon Mak

      W.E.T. Awards we have all the other ethnic groups why not call it what it is OR are we US SOOO PS pathetic

      January 13, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Chris

    All I know is that Detroit, BET and Philly are way to black washed. Waaaay to black washed....

    January 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • cletus

      spell check, spell check, spell check...

      January 13, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  66. jytlm

    The "All You Need is Kill" adaptation actually seems like a translation though. It's not like they're actually trying to pass off Tom Cruise as an Asian guy. I don't have any problems with Hollywood taking stories from other countries and doing a cultural translation, i.e. making The Departed from Infernal Affairs. It's not original, but it's at least a new take on it.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  67. PDXSerric

    Yeah – after seeing what we did to the Avatar anime under M Night Shamaln's direction and knowing what they are doing to one of my most beloved animes, Akira... well... WHY can't we dare to have Asian actors for an Asian story? Why does Hollywood have to F**K everything up lately?

    January 13, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • PDXSerric

      Heh – I actually have a cell from the original anime – it couldn't be used because the artist smudged it. One of my favorite pieces in my collection.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  68. YinYang

    Tyler Perry films seem pretty racist. Need more diversity.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • sup

      ...of course there is....but there's a (way past due) double standard when it comes to blacks...

      January 13, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • AnotherNCnative

      I'm not a fan of Tyler Perry, but was curious as to what makes Tyler Perry's movies seem racist? His movies are set in an urban area in the south(Georgia). The cast of his movies are representative of the area in which they're set. Very little diversity in those areas. If he were to throw in the stereotypical Asian shop keeper in the hood, then I'd understand your point. Maybe his movies are about the way of life he knows personally. They're just a presentation of one culture living in America, which happens to lack diversity.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  69. Patrick

    Slow news day?

    January 13, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      Uhhh... have you seen the number of comments for this post? Obviously, this is not "slow" news.

      January 14, 2012 at 4:40 am | Report abuse |
  70. OhthatChar

    Maggie Q started out in "Nikita" (CW) with much darker hair than she has now.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Jim

    My advice: buy the script, make the movie the way you see fit.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      A lot of Asian-American write the scripts, and even sometimes make the films, but the Hollywood corporations fail to back them.

      January 14, 2012 at 4:41 am | Report abuse |
  72. MarcSK

    Just because people in anime "look like Americans", doesn't mean they're American.

    They're still Asian

    January 13, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  73. F


    January 13, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • choco bumbs

      Have some pie

      January 13, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • lepatriot

      Calm down. Their children are paying for the sins of their fathers.

      January 14, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  74. Jim

    I go to the opera quite a lot. Probably since the quality of the singer's voice is as important as his or her skill as an actor, I am quite used to seeing black singers portray the King of Sweden or Asian singers portray Spanish gypsies. Should I complain to the Chicago Lyric opera that they are blackwashing or Asianwashing (?) these roles, which should be played by Europeans?

    January 13, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • PDXSerric

      Because there are no European black or Asian people?

      Sorry – you present a soft argument

      January 13, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • Huh?

        My sentiments exactly.

        January 13, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  75. JohnU

    Isn't the whole point of anime/manga is whitewashing? Besides the spiked hair, I've never seen an anime/manga character that looked asian.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      Akira is one of the few manga/anime that the characters are actually very Asian looking. Their hair and features, for the most part, are distinctly Asian.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  76. JoeyG

    Relax, let's not hate.
    Go back a couple of decades, West Side Story, with Natile Wood playing a Puerto Rican!!!
    And Chita Riveria could only get a dancing role in the chorus!!
    The industry that is Hoolywood is not about reflecting reality; it is about what is not real;
    and at that, they always seem to succeed.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kerry

      Reality? You know that this is about manga and anime, right?

      January 13, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      That was back then. This is 2012. Please be in the here and now.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  77. www.dressdo.com

    Jet li is a very outstanding martial arts star, also very famous in the world, had taken a lot of famous large, I always like to see, his quick powerful

    January 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  78. zzz

    so what

    January 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  79. Argle Bargle

    Oh, please. The Asians don't even make their Asian characters look Asian. They look European/American. Why should anyone go out of their way to make them look Asian if the Asians don't even do so?

    January 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      Because Asians need more representation i.e. television and movies. If white people keep taking what little Asian-oriented roles in the media, then Asians keep getting pushed out. Therefore, it'll only seem like a glass ceiling.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Madcat

    And boom goes the dynamite

    January 13, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  81. dressdo

    li lian jie

    January 13, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  82. informer

    I hate when Hollywod has different actors playing ther roles that were written as. I did not like the Kingpin being black in Dare Devil, although he had the perfect physical build. I hated when Starbuck on the new Battlestar Galactica was a women. That was also BS. When a role is supposed to be Asian, then I want to see an Asian playing that role. I like diversity, and I don't care who it is just let the roles be played by the races they were written as.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • PDXSerric

      The whole Starbuck / Apollo romance thing was just wrong to me. If Starbuck had still been a guy and it was a gay relationship, I could have accepted that more easily...

      January 13, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Callie K.

    I frankly don't see the appeal of an American Akira and I'll be skipping any American Akira. The manga is a fantastic work of literature and it would be hard to do it better justice than with the movie.

    I'd love to see a proper live action Akira but I'm not shelling out for some "Manga is in, right? So no matter what we do to it they'll gobble it up." I don't have the time or money to waste on crap like that.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  84. lol


    January 13, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  85. lol

    Go and watch Kane and Lynch 2 Dog Days trailer.

    Now tell me? Does the lunatic, balding Lynch look at all like Jamie Foxx?

    Race bending shouldn't happen regardless. Stick to source material if you're making movie.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Cosmos42

    Upcoming "Akira" remake with white Americans: Will do to Akira what the recent Dragon Ball movie did to the original series.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Saint

    Most of the anime characters don't appear Asian. "Appear Asian? Whatever do you mean racist bigot???" Really? We're going to play this game? Slant-eyes, soft features, dark hair, dark eyes. It's not racism, it's anthropology. Most of the Asian anime and manga characters don't appear Asian so it's not a huge stretch casting a human who also doesn't appear Asian.

    Batman is being played by a British actor. James Bond is now being played by a blonde actor. Nick Fury (a white character) is now being played by Samuel L Jackson. Robert Neville was recently played by Will Smith (the original film Omega Man was played by Charlton Heston. I really do not see what the big deal is.

    If you need actors of the same race to portray their fictional characters to make your feel recognized, then clearly you have bigger issues...

    January 13, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anderson

      Have you seen an actual anime? It is hardly racist to suggest that anime characters are highly stylized often ethnically ambiguous renderings. Of course it's just as easy to hop on a message board and toss out "OMG RACIST!"

      January 13, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Franz Geffers

    Asian Americans are ABSENT from TV and FILM ... and this is unfortunate ... if they held a civil rights march, I would join them.


    January 13, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      LoL, forgive me if you said that in jest but... Are you saying you liken the fact that not enough asians are actors in Hollywood to the Civil Rights Era!? lol Really? Just Ignoring the fact that Asians are well represented in the Medical, Scientific, and Medical fields... Thats funny either way.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • Franz Geffers

        As amusing as it sounds, Asian Americans are stricken from TV and FILM or relegated to bit parts ... there are many Asian Actors ... but there are no A-List Asian Actors ... it is unfortunate.

        I think it is a bad thing ...


        January 13, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cassie

      George Takei....Jackie Chan...Lucy Liu?! Common.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  89. CMC

    "casting calls invited actors of “any race” to audition... That’s troubling to both the series’ devoted fans and advocates of diversity in casting."


    January 13, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  90. George L.

    How can there be doubt that Hollywood is whitewashing Asian movies? Look at Hollywood's entire history. It's covered with negative portrayals for Asians. Needless to say, it has alot to do with what the American audience wants to see. And sadly, they don't want to see much Asian.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Allen

    Asians white-washed themselves decades ago with their GOD-like treatment for whites. My asian friends would rather be with whites than their own race.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Shaqul

    when I watch asian films I never see any black people in them or when I turn on a mexican spanish Tv show I never see any black or white people on them. When I watch films from the middle east I never see any black people in them. Why doesn't CNN report on that?

    January 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |


      this story is not about blacks, it is about whites playing as Asians.

      Damn, you must really hate blacks to the point where you bring their name even when it has nothing to do with the subject. LMAO

      January 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeremy

        JUGGERNAUT, your ignorance has blinded you so much as to prevent you from infering the simplest of messages. He has a valid point and is only saying that CNN is publishing rediculous articles to keep us wasting our time on arguments.

        In case you haven't noticed, race has a way of sparking a lot of tention very quickly – quite pathetic of today, isn't it.

        January 13, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |


        blah blah blah blah blah

        POINT STILL REMAIN, the story has NOTHING to do with blacks. and this guy is just showing his racism by bringing up blacks.

        January 13, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeremy



        January 14, 2012 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • jdoe

      Maybe because there are very few blacks in those countries.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bernie


      January 13, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • HarryT

        "THERE AREN'T LARGE IMMIGRANT POPULATIONS IN THOSE REGIONS " Why is that? Is it because they're actually the real racist? I think CNN should focus more on those racist countries on why other races are not immigrating there. Also I would like to see more diversity on spanish Tv shows. Lot of them are located in the United states.

        January 13, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • a real asian

      you're an idiot. you are comparing countries that have absolutely NO diversity in population to the USA. get out more.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  93. That Guy Over There

    pfft Tom Cruise. Is it me or is it like all you need to become a successful "Actor" is good looks, and thats it..

    January 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • ei8htx

      someone's got a man crush...

      January 13, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Jeremy

    Wow, I almost cared. This makes me forget we live in the year 2012.

    Enjoyable movies. I've never once been bothered by the 'whitewashing' of our media. I personally have never associated my self with any culture in particular – I am who I am. Further, I try not to associate anyone with any predefined culture. We're all different. I think this article & the people commenting are up to their neck in ignorance.

    Some people are disgusted – saying I should be more strongly attached to my cultural roots; what can I say though, I love who I am and I love MY culture.

    In summary, most people couldn't care less – or in my society they couldn't. Canada BC.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |

      it does make a BIG DIFFERENCE for the fans of mangas and anime. I was very disappointing to see SONGOKU as a white guy.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeremy

        Why? Its just a skin colour. Help me see things through your eyes – I am interested in your perspective.

        January 13, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      Because Asian-Americans don't really see themselves on T.V. or films. For instance, the Asian guy doesn't get the girl – now does he? And if life imitates art, imitates life, imitates art – then the racism would root from Hollywood since "white-washing" went from the get-go.

      By the way, what race ARE you?

      January 13, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Gonzo

    Not only that, but count how many actors and actresses in Hollywood movies (and television programs) have brown eyes vs. those that have blue eyes. Many people in Asian countries think that there are no brown-eyed white people in the US, thanks to Hollywood.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • jdoe

      I've noticed. Hollywood has gone out of its ways to use blue-eyed actors. This must be a throwback to some era, because I don't many people care for that anymore. Very few (white) people in my area have blue eyes.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Taylor

        Also the number of blondes are way way overrepresented, which is annoying because I do not like blonde hair on women.

        January 14, 2012 at 4:47 am | Report abuse |

    I was very disappointed when SANGOKU from DRAGON BALL Zwas played by a white guy.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • A

      Except that Son Goku is an alien (Saiyan) adopted by an Asian. He's not Asian himself.

      Bulma might be ethnically Asian, though. Krillin probably is, too.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Hiruu

    Racebending is a problem, imho. Take for example a Heimdall in Thor...WHY is he black?!?! (I'm African American, btw)...but then Hogun is Asian, but Marvel created him as such, where as Heimdall is actual Norse lore. So, I'm confused by that casting decision, but it is a minor supporting role that can be overlook. As for Nick Fury, Marvel in it's lore changed the character, so I've no problem with Samuel L. in the role...it is way cool, imho. Now, as for Last Airbender and Dragonball Z (Horrible films), the casting was horrible, and it really killed those films. Racebending in minor characters is one thing, but changing the entire cast, is another thing, since it takes away from what the likely audience has preceived for the characters. it is one thing to change character from a book, but from an animated or comic series...yeah...super bad idea!

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

      Need a good azz kicker like Samuel L. for Nick Fury, the only other person I could have thought for it is Gunny from Full Metal Jacket.

      January 14, 2012 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |
  98. Forrest

    Can anyone name one Asian actor besides Bruce Lee that portrayed a leading role ? Just name one?

    January 13, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Chow Yun Fat, Sammo Hung, John Cho, Ken Watanabe, James Shigeta, John Lone, etc. Pick one.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • J. Fred Muggs

        Yes, you are correct...Those are all asian actors....2nd question....would the US movie going public spend $15 to see any of these guys in a movie when probably 98% of the country has no idea who they are? Doubtful.

        January 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |

        @J. Fred Muggs

        there as been plenty of amateur actors who brought in lot of money.

        nowadays people even prefer a no-name rather than someone who is known.

        January 13, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • ohsnap

        Loved James Shigeta long before the Die Hard movies. One fine looking man and great actor.

        January 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • ohsnap

        It's all about money. Hollywood hasn't caught up to taking a chance that a minority in a lead role (in this case Asians) can bring in $$. Some one will eventually. All I can say is two words...Will Smith.

        January 13, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Beefburger

        Chow Yun Fat! The Replacement Killers! AWESOMESAUCE!

        January 14, 2012 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
    • jdoe

      Jackie Chan, Jet Li, ... Of course they're still typecasted as the stereotypical martial artists.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Risky

        Harold and Kumar, those guys are nuts.

        January 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • Beefburger

        Uhm, maybe because they are martial artists? Or maybe you missed Li's turn in drama, I think the name of the movie was "Dog"?

        January 14, 2012 at 3:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Yorkiegirl16

      Asian-American actor in a lead role? How about Ken Leung in Shanghai Kiss. Ken Leung has an impressive set of TV/Movie credentials. Why is he not mentioned here?

      January 13, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  99. frickenhollywood

    It is not a matter of "whitewashing" as much as the actors they get to do so, did anyone see DBZ? the actor they chose had to be one of the most horrible actor ever, and the entire film was so much B.S. that it was not even close to the actual anime, it was so off it was laughable.
    Maybe if hollywood took it seriously and used good actors and good writers there wouldn't be a problem.
    Avatar is another crappy movie, that went so far from the actual anime that I had no idea where they even got half the lines that they did.
    If you want to use white actors, fine, use good ones, if you want to copy an anime, fine, use the actual story instead of making up one or skewing it so far that you have no idea what your watching.

    Honestly though, there are far better asian actors at the moment, anyone who has seen crouching tiger, iron monkey, the bride with white hair,shaolin, the sorcerer and the white snake etc etc. know what asia has to offer.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Stevenson

      A very good point. Those live-action adaptions were just terrible in and of themselves. Shouldn't say anything about the quality that they could have with the right actors, directors, and budget. It is the same thing with Halo. I bet people would love to see it but it would have to be done right. Can you imagine how terrible The Lord of the Rings would have been if they hadn't funded it right and used bad actors?

      January 14, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5