Hollywood Reflecting a Trump World

Like many others in this nation, I am still processing the results of election night and coming to acceptance [denial] that we will have Donald Trump as our Commander in Chief starting January 2017.

But what does this mean for the Hollywood entertainment industry, which is known to be overwhelmingly liberal? It is too early to exactly tell what the ramifications are but according to this Hollywood Reporter article, we may have rather troubling times ahead.

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The Great Wall, Matt Damon, and the Thing About Chinese Money

The trailer for The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon and directed by Zhang Yimou, dropped yesterday and my first reaction to seeing it:

What. The. Frack?

Why is a white dude in a film about the construction of the Great Wall? And there’s dragons? One of them is voiced by Willem Dafoe? HUH??

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The Significance of Kelly Marie Tran in Star Wars Episode VIII

Last week was a pretty discouraging one for the APA community — and for all POC folks — with Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi, Tilda Swinton as a bald Tibetan monk, and Nat Wolff as Light Yagami. There has been massive outrage on many fronts and thankfully, the concern has been taken seriously by major publications such as the Hollywood Reporter. Over here at NOC, it’s been covered numerous times, so it’s safe to say that the anger and frustration is still very much present for many of us.

Let’s, for the time being, look at a happier place; to a story where a relatively unknown Asian American actress by the name of Kelly Marie Tran has been cast to play the new female lead for Star Wars Episode VIII. Not much is known about the role but being an actor in Los Angeles, it helped knowing a few folks who went in when auditions took place last September. The role was open to ALL ETHNICITIES and was surely for the new female lead in the upcoming Star Wars chapter. Whoever would get the role had to have a chemistry test with John Boyega (whether it’s a love interest for Finn or someone who is best friends with him is unknown) and once they nailed that, the rest would be history.

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Giving Diversity a Chance to Play the Lead

“Give Me A Chance and I’ll Change The World” — Beau Sia

One of my favorite spoken word poems of all time belongs to Beau Sia. In his piece “Give Me A Chance” he talks about the extreme difficulties of being an Asian performer in a country where far too often he is seen as an exotic commodity or is just plain invisible. Although the poem came out over 10 years ago, it is just as relevant today as it was back then, as his poem has been on my mind the past few days, what with the recent reveals of Tilda Swinton playing a Tibetan bald monk in Doctor Strange and now Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell. And in case people forgot, The U.S. adaptation of Death Note is now coming to Netflix with Nat Wolff playing Light Yagami. Yes, just like the other anime adaptation, they didn’t bother to change his last name (I can already hear the arguments that white people can have Japanese surnames too, how dare you be so narrow-minded Edward).

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The Epic Failure of Batman v Superman

Before I begin this review, I want you all to watch this clip from Man of Steel.

I remembered watching that scene from that film and actually yelling out loud how incredibly stupid and unnecessarily melodramatic that was.

That’s exactly how I felt after watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

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Let’s Talk About Police Brutality: A Black-ish Recap

On last night’s episode of the ABC comedy show black-ish, the sitcom took a big chance and dedicated an entire episode on police brutality, racism, and the effectiveness of the American justice system. Although I only catch an episode of this show every now and then, I was made very well aware of this particular episode for some time because of its decision to center this episode on such heavy topics. And boy, it did not disappoint.

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Overplaying the Whitewashing Card with The Martian

Back in June, our NOC mastermind Keith Chow wrote a probing article about how a Korean American character was being whitewashed in the film adaptation of the Andy Weir novel The Martian.

Now that the film has been released for over a week — with considerable box office success, trade publications like Deadline and Variety, among others have released articles about how the Asian American media watchdog group, MANAA, has followed Keith’s lead and declared the film to be guilty of whitewashing:

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Finding the Right (White) Actor to Cast in that Non-White Role

Over the past weekend, The Hollywood Reporter released an article about the heightened alert placed on ethnic casting. The article starts off with the controversial choice to cast Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily in the upcoming Warner Brothers picture Pan, which will be a re-imagined take on Peter Pan lore. Throughout the article, unnamed producers and studio execs justify their casting decisions with the “tried and true” reasoning that it’s always the best actor being cast for the job, regardless of race, even if that means casting white people to play non-white folks. Ideally, I would be in full support of this idea as I think it really should be about choosing the best actor for the job, regardless of race and nationality. Ideally, casting should be “colorblind” because as actors, we are trained to bring a character to life as far removed from us as possible.

And that’s as far as I can go. No really, that’s it. This is where that dreamy ideal world I’d like to be in is instantly crushed by the not-so-sugary reality that “choosing the best actor for the job” and all that hippy dippy freedom-of-the-arts talk is usually reserved only for the status quo. Or in blunt politically incorrect terms: white people.

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NOC Recaps Penny Dreadful: Attack of the Naked Witch Groupies

This will be the very first NOC recap for the Showtime horror show Penny Dreadful, which just premiered its second season on Sunday. And what a relief it is to have it back as I very much miss this delightfully dark show with freaks and ghouls that have a penchant for murder. For those who are just catching on, season one focused mostly on revealing dark secrets for the main cast, which includes Vanessa Ives (Eva Green), Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton), Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadyway), his creation Caliban aka The Creature (Rory Kinnear), and Ethan Chandler (Josh Harnett) whose big secret was that he’s a hairy rampaging werewolf.

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