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Battle Angel Alita Lead Role Once Again Devoid of Asian American Prospects

In 2015, Nerdist announced that the live-action adaptation of the famed Japanese anime had been revived by directors James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez. Battle Angel Alita, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi action manga/anime written by Yukito Kishiro, is set in the 26th century and follows the female cyborg Alita, as she trains to become the world’s most deadly assassin. The latest report from the Robert Rodriquez/Jame Cameron production reveals that the filmmakers have their top three actresses for the lead role: Maika Monroe, Zendaya (who is the front runner), and Rosa Salazar. In other words: more bad news for Asian American actresses.

There has been a wave of whitewashed casting — and invalid excuses from studios. No explanation or reason makes sense as to why Asians aren’t being cast in roles where they could benefit from the exposure. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy bi-racial pop star Zendaya is the front-runner here, but she is still a safe choice. Battle Angel Alita would have been another perfect opportunity to cast a young, unknown Asian American actress for this role. The excuse “We need someone with star power to make money,” is complete nonsense and here is why:

Aside from Zendaya, none of the actresses in the running are overly famous. They have done no more than three films each, so the “star-power” excuse doesn’t apply. Secondly, with Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron attached to the project, anyone could have been cast. Cameron has made stars out of complete unknowns. NO! We shouldn’t be satisfied that someone of color is in the running. This is more than that

This isn’t about double standards. People of color rejoice when cast. The same doesn’t happen for white actors because white is the standard, the safe bet, the status quo. White people are represented across 85%-90% of the business.

Yes! This is about gaining 100% visibility and representation for all PoC across the board.

If you’re are pissed off, you’ve got to continue to hit them where it hurts, in their pockets. Don’t continue to support these productions if Hollywood cannot deliver the basic level of representation in film.

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