Are Asian actors less expressive?
An unnamed casting director has waded in on the issue of whitewashing in Hollywood… and it looks as though their comments aren’t exactly helping matters.
During an article by Paste Magazine, psychologist Nancy Wang Yuen recalls a discussion she had with a Hollywood casting director about why Asian actors are more difficult to cast.
“I work with a lot of different people and Asians are a challenge to cast because most casting directors feel as though they’re not very expressive,” the Hollywood casting director allegedly told her. “They’re very shut down in their emotions… where they really have to act and get some kind of performance out… it’s a challenge.”
Unsurprisingly, the comments haven’t exactly gone down well.
— Maurene Goo (@mauxbot) September 8, 2017
— Jaye Y. Zhang (@phirephoenix) September 9, 2017
And others even challenged recent casting decisions…
— flux (@ConstantinFlux) September 9, 2017
The quote by Yuen comes from her book, ‘Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism’, in which she also claims that 77 percent of casting calls specify a ‘white’ actor for the role.
And this just highlights the problems with whitewashing in Hollywood.
In recent months, Hollywood has come under fire for whitewashing a variety of Asian roles – most notably Scarlett Johansson as The Major in the sci-fi flick ‘Ghost of the Shell’, who was a Japanese character in the original anime and manga.
But it’s not the only one…
‘Doctor Strange’ was accused of whitewashing when Tilda Swinton was cast as The Ancient One – a comic book character usually depicted as a wise Asian man. And Ed Skrein recently made waves after pulling out of ‘Hellboy’, in which he was cast as Major Ben Daimio – who is usually depicted as Japanese-American.
Of course, these new comments aren’t going to help matters.
But with the internet responding accordingly, will this actually make a difference? Could the outrageous comments (and the #ExpressiveAsians hashtag) make casting directors reconsider their approach?
For now, we’ll have to wait and see.
But Hollywood still has a long way to go.