Hey! Just saw this video by Totally Biased, featuring Kevin Kataoka, about Hollywood's evasion of Asian actors in starring roles. This is a huge problem that I've certainly wanted to talk about more on this blog. Now it's certainly true that Asians get stiffed casting-wise in Hollywood in general. As Kataoka explains, even films that take place in an Asian setting will almost always star a white guy. This is true and this is frustrating.
|Tom Cruise as the last white samurai.|
|Remember all those white actors in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? Me neither.|
|I remember thinking when it came out that this movie was going to be full of awful Asian stereotypes, and I avoided it out of fear of that. Big mistake. Now it's one of my favourite movies.|
|Whether or not you like Far East Movement, they were one of the few Asian-American acts to receive widespread mainstream success. Why is that so unusual!?|
|Finishing the Game, a satirical look at the studio completion of Bruce Lee's Game of Death, deals a lot with movie casting and ethnic stereotyping.|
|Toronto's Reel Asian International Film Festival showcases films produced in Asia as well as a wealth of Asian-American and Asian-Canadian productions. Wouldn't it be neat if more of these sorts of films entered the North American mainstream?|
My theory? Hollywood is a business. They care predominantly about capital and as such stick to formulas that will likely make money. In other words, they don't like taking chances on investments. While I can certainly understand the mentality behind this, I feel it's led to a sort of cultural stagnation within Hollywood, breeding producers and marketers who are out of touch with the ever-changing demographics and sensibilities of Americans (and Canadians). Perhaps think about it this way: it took them decades to realize that you could have a black protagonist and still have a marketable product. My guess is that Asian Americans will have to wait a similar amount of time to become "viable" as lead roles. This is, of course, extremely shitty, and the sooner our mainstream film industries become as dynamic as the societies they are attempting to portray, the better.
That's my two cents on the matter.