Why hasn’t Hollywood gotten this through their heads yet? There’s been so much controversy lately over representation for minorities. There were calls to boycott the Academy Awards when no actors of color were nominated in the major categories. ‘Gods of Egypt’ was attacked for casting Caucasian actors as… well, Egyptian deities. And perhaps most egregious of all, Johnny Depp played Tonto in ‘The Lone Ranger’. (And to a lesser degree, Rooney Mara, Tigerlily in ‘Pan’. Then again, no one saw either one.) Most recently, Latina actor Zoe Saldana has been criticized for appearing in black face for her role as the African American soul singer Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic.
One of the most shameful legacies of the film industry has been the casting of white actors as ethnic characters, including one of the first movies ever made, ‘Birth of a Nation’ which featured numerous white actors in black face.
Sure, Robert Downey Jr. brilliantly lampooned the practice of black face in ‘Tropic Thunder’, but that was a satire!
Now Paramount is in hot water over the latest Hollywood racial controversy. It appears some people never learn.
Fans were already upset that Caucasian Scarlett Johansson was playing Major Motoko Kusanagi in this Americanized adaptation of the Japanese anime ‘Ghost In The Shell’. But since this was a Western film, made for Western audiences, perhaps that wasn’t so bad.
But word has emerged that the makers of the film (the movie is directed by Rupert Sanders with Avi Arad, Michael Costigan, Tetsuya Fujimura, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Steven Paul and Jeffrey Silver producing) experimented with CGI to make at least one Caucasian cast member look Asian.
Paramount doesn’t deny this, but were quick to deflect any criticism from Johansson, saying:
“A test was done related to a specific scene for a background actor which was ultimately discarded. Absolutely no visual effects tests were conducted on Scarlett’s character and we have no future plans to do so.”
So… the idea was discarded because the results didn’t look good? Not because, um, they put an actor in YELLOW FACE?!?!
If they wanted Asian actors in the background, I’m pretty sure there are THOUSANDS of them in Hollywood!
Or maybe they thought racism wasn’t racism if it was CGI. I mean Zoe Saldana’s not really blue either, yet in ‘Avatar’…
*Sigh* Honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked if Paramount– who, by the way released J.J. Abrams’ ‘Star Trek’ which took great pains to include diversity in its background cast– to send out fortune cookies that say “Me so solly!”
Usually I wrap up an article by asking for opinions, but what am I supposed to say? “Hey do you love racism?!” So… comment below, if you want.
‘Ghost in the Shell’, directed by Rupert Sanders and starring Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt and Juliette Binoche arrives in theaters on April 14, 2017.
Jason got called Long Duck Dong a lot in middle school, so forgive the bitterness. You can follow him on Twitter.