I understand the misrepresentation of culturally diverse Actors and Actresses in Hollywood. One of the biggest controversies on social media is the accusation of white-washing. What is Whitewashing
White Washing- is a casting practice in the film industry of the United States in which white actors are cast in historically non-white character roles.
Iron Fist came under heavy backlash by fans and non fans alike, due to many believing that the casting of Finn Jones as a practice of whit-Washing. When it was explained that the original character was white, many started to argue that Danny Rand was a racist character since its inception.
But is he a racist character? We should think of the times, due to Martial Arts and Kung Fu craze of the 70’s and 80’s. Martial Arts became huge, every single action star who remotely knew how to fight wanted to be the next big thing. Marvel and Iron Fist’s creator Roy Thomas probably say the craze and wanted to tag along.
A lot of the people in the Asian community argue, that the white-washing allegations is due in part to the characters origin being steeped in Asian culture, and his apparent mastery over other Asians to become a Kung Fu master.
Even though I can understand the argument, Asian actors are unfortunately typecast, So would Iron Fist be a good role, can it stir up a franchise for a great Asian super hero, sad to say it could be portrayed as another stereotypical character for the Asian community.
Do not get me wrong, I like the idea of an Asian American “Iron fist” but would it really break open doors for Asian actors? They are actors, they can do more then play another Kung Fu master. I am not Asian so I can not speak on what will be good for their community, but I would as a fan, like to see more roles for them in a better light.
It’s no secret, I watch and read a lot of Anime, Manga. Japan creates masterpieces, thought provoking stories that rival some of the best comics here. These stories would be great roles, showcasing acting range, depth, emotion and everything that really divides a great actor from a mediocre one.
Ghost in the Shell
Is a wonderful introspective piece about the reality of existence, does humanity exist solely as body, a brain, or are we really just ghosts trapped in a shell.
This is a role that could have been for an Asian actress. To play the Major would be perfect, it could really showcase real acting skills, and not the stereotypical roles that Asian women are cast in, but does the Major need to be Asian, Not necessarily.
Spoiler Alert ……………….
“The Major’s original human existence is a Japanese runaway, named Motoko Kusanagi. Motoko was kidnapped by a clandestine government agency, to be used in their experiments. In Motoko they produced the perfect cybernetic soldier”.
I will say Scarlett Johansson did a great job. Her cold, odd walking portrayal mirrored the 1995 movie. Imagine being ripped from life, your own body and forced into another one and sprinkle false memories to boot.
You would be awkward as well and she was awkward. Very robotic, the perfect android/cyborg. She couldn’t even feel her own limbs for God sake’s.
The way she walked to the way she talked, she questioned her overall existence and that’s what the movie is about asking the question why. I personally think this was a good example of humanity and the question of life as a whole.
A lot of people think the ending and reveal is racist as a whole. State that it further displays the practice of whitewashing by transforming an Asian person into the “White Savior”. I can see that and I understand the the disdain but if you want to look deeper it can show so much more, I will say the scenes were Motoko as the Major interacts with her Japanese mother is weird, but it is supposed to feel weird. They have altered this women’s daughter to look and feel like a different person. I do not know if the director wanted us to feel disconnected I do feel it is a good attempt at expressing the reasoning behind an foreign adaptation of a seemingly Japanese character. That’s it, it is a foreign adaptation.
For centuries “beauty” and “social acceptability” have been dictated by “white personification of beauty and structure”, with time this has steadily broken down. Now we are showing that social norms are not solely white purification but a global and multi cultural diversity that represents all cultures.
By the Major being a “white perfect soldier” the characters constant separation from the world, mirrors the separation from societies antiquated standards and real life diversity.
Mamrou Oshii the original director of the 1995 movie has stated
‘The Major is a cyborg and her physical form is an entirely assumed one” he went on to say “The name ‘Motoko Kusanagi’ and her current body are not her original name and body, so there is no basis for saying that an Asian actress must portray her”.
Is it really white washing, is it racist, I don’t think so
The character is of no particular background but was later altered in further Movies and TV series to have one. So the character can be anyone honestly.
Look at the uproar for Death Note who cast Lakeith Stanfield a black actor as L. the internet was infuriated with the choice, again another movie I believe should have an Asian cast to really dive in to the complexities of human emotion and show more Asians playing grittier roles.
This doesn’t mean we can not get a fresh new take on the story using a more diverse cast.Remember this a foreign adaptation L is an amazing character and I love to see how Lakieth portrays him. Yes he was originally Japanese so should we be more concerned with source material or expressing artistic freedoms.
That’s the real question, It’s too easy to point the finger and say no that’s wrong and its too easy to say its right.
So why did the movie bomb, well people have opinions that supersede actually looking at art objectively, everything is polarized, based on its outward aesthetic, but that’s not the only reason it was a decent movie that was doomed to fail ever since the cast was made public and unfortunately Death Note may follow suite.
We need to reserve our doubts and fears until we watch these movies, seeing what is the message behind it, if there is one at all and if it is blatantly offensive then we attack.
Ghost in the Shell is a hard movie to adapt, honestly any Japanese Manga is hard to adapt n the west, how do you stay true to the source material how do you make it relevant.
I love fresh ideas and new takes on art, I’m not a fan of remakes and adaptations (except novels if it is done correctly) because I want fresh new stories with diverse characters and new perspectives.
I know a lot of people will disagree with me and that’s okay, open dialogue is better then outward hate and dismissals. Leave a comment below
Tell me what you think in the comments below.