Memo to Non-Asians: Jeannie Mai is Not Brenda Song, and Riz Ahmed is Not Dev Patel

Originally posted at Reappropriate

It’s only been a month since racist Trump trolls misidentified a woman at Rex Tillerson’s confirmation hearing as Washington Post editor Doris TruongInside Climate News’ Lisa Songtravel and parenting writer Leslie Hsu Oh, or basically any East Asian woman journalist of any prominence — and already people who think all Asians are the same person are at it again.

Over the weekend, the Twitter account for Burberry tweeted excitedly about actor Dev Patel at the British Academy for Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) ceremony, who wore a custom Burberry tuxedo to accept his Best Actor in a Supporting Role award for his part in Lion. The picture that accompanied the tweet? That’s actor and Swet Shop Boys member Riz Ahmed… who is also not Dev Patel.

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Hollywood’s Strange Erasure of Asian Characters

Originally posted at Reappropriate

A mere week after I wrote a post swearing off of sharing fan news, the fandom insidiously pulled me back in.

This week, rumours began circulating that Tilda Swinton was in casting negotiations for Marvel’s upcoming Doctor Strange film starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role. Swinton is being considered for the role of the Ancient One, a nearly-immortal Tibetan sorcerer who becomes the young Doctor Strange’s mystic tutor and personal mentor.

That’s right. Tilda Swinton — a British actor whose Wikipedia article notes that she can trace her Anglo-Scot heritage back to the Middle Ages and who is about as far from “Tibetan” as one might get — may be cast to play a racebent and genderbent version of one of the few Asian characters of prominence in the Mystic Marvel world.

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The Time Travel and Ending of Edge of Tomorrow Explained

Originally posted at Reappropriate

I went to see the new Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt science-fiction film Edge of Tomorrow, which is based on the Japanese novel and manga All You Need is Kill.

The racial cross-casting of Cage’s character aside — he is inspired by Japanese protagonist Keiji in the manga — this film is phenomenal. Nerds and feminists — and especially nerd feminists — will adore this movie. It’s sharp, funny, entertaining, compelling, and visually stunning. Haters of Tom Cruise get to see Tom Cruise get killed about a hundred times in stunt scenes that Cruise himself described as “channeling Wile E. Coyote” on The Daily Show. Emily Blunt’s Rita is stellar: she is the aspirational super-soldier, and not the simpering girlfriend; she’s also got a bad-ass giant sword. Those who loved Pacific Rim‘s portrayal of a male-female peer relationship that was largely non-sexual will adore the relationship between Rita and Cruise’s Cage in this film.

Basically, it’s just really good. Go see it. I’ll wait.

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Steven Yeun to Star in Animated Chew Feature

Originally posted at Reappropriate | (H/T Angry Asian Man)

After much effort to create a live-action version of Chew — understandably hampered by the story’s routine use of cannibalism as a central plot device — producers have decided to go in a different direction and create an animated feature instead (that is expected to go straight to home release). This, I think, is a good decision: the book has a very specific tone and atypical humour that I think would not translate very well through a live-action script.

And, in what is a near-perfect casting choice, producers have tapped Steven Yeun, best-known for his incredible portrayal of The Walking Dead‘s Glenn Rhee, to voice the main character of Tony Chu.

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How Avengers is Ruining the Superhero Movie

As of April 2013, The Avengers had grossed more than $600 million dollars in the US, a box office performance that has nearly tripled its (already bloated) production budget. It would be fair to say that if you’re a Hollywood movie producer, The Avengers makes you very, very, very happy. In fact, you’re hoping to make as many Avengers franchises as you possibly can.

Against this backdrop of undeniable success, it seems major Hollywood production companies are hoping to do just that. For the last few months, the Internet has been a-buzz with casting rumours for Man of Steel 2: first with news that Ben Affleck was being tapped to play an aging Batman, and last week with the announcement that virtually unknown actress Gal Gadot (of Fast and Furious franchise fame) was assuming the mantle of Wonder Woman. Although fans have long clamoured for a live-action Justice League adaptation, the fact that all three members of the heralded DC Trinity will be making an appearance in Man of Steel 2 — a movie that we all expected would be just another Superman solo vehicle — is clear indication that WB/DC has drawn inspiration from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is looking to fast-track the Justice League movie by rapidly introducing other characters to the silver screen. Fans have since speculated that while Gadot might make a minimal cameo in Man of Steel 2, it’s likely that she will subsequently headline her own Wonder Woman movie that would further stoke the fires for a full Justice League film.

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Identity in the World of Locke & Key

There’s a comic book out there by Joe Hill. It’s called Locke & Key (from IDW Publishing). And, it’s the best comic book you’re probably not reading.

In fact, it’s proof that while the conventional superhero comic might be for children, the comic genre can and does create compelling, sophisticated, and intelligent stories for adults. And, it can do so while appealing to the cape-and-cowl crowd.

This post contains very minor spoilers. Please read with care.

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NOC Recaps The Walking Dead: And It All Came Tumbling Down

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This is my recap for The Walking Dead season 4, episode 8 — the mid-season finale — titled “Too Far Gone.” Please also check out our live-tweeting session #NOCemdead, featuring me at @Reappropriate and J. Lamb through @TheNerdsofColor.

And, here we go! Spoilers ensue, after the jump!

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NOC Recaps The Walking Dead: The Governor’s Endless Groundhog Day

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Welcome to my recap for The Walking Dead‘s season 4, episode 7, titled “Dead Weight.” Also look for our Sunday night live-tweet session: #NOCemdead, including J. Lamb through @TheNerdsofColor and me through @Reappropriate, with a quick guest appearance by Keith via @the_real_chow.

And without further ado, on with the recap! Be mindful of spoilers!

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Live-Action Akira: An All-Asian American Dream Cast

With all the debate this week over cross-racial and trans-racial casting of comic book movies, one aspect that hasn’t really been discussed in depth yet is the phenomenon of Hollywood White-washing of explicitly non-White characters in live-action adaptations. Famously, Aang of The Last Airbender was played in the live-action adaptation (directed by M. Night Shyamalan) by a young White actor despite repeated references in the comics to Aang’s non-White racial makeup. More recently, a non-comic book (but nonetheless grindhouse-esque cult classic) Korean movie called Oldboy is being remade in Hollywood with an all-White cast.

With the existing dearth of non-White faces in film, let alone comic book film, it’s safe to say that most of us can agree that cross-racially casting a non-White character with White actors is problematic.

A few years back, Hollywood was also rumoured to be developing a live-action adaptation of the landmark anime, Akira. At one point, the film was going to star Zac Efron, and although he has since backed out, it’s still unlikely that today’s Hollywood will cast Asian actors to play Akira‘s all-Japanese cast of characters.

And why not? Hollywood typically argues that there aren’t enough (or talented) non-White talent in Hollywood.

Well, that argument sounds like complete trash to me.

After the jump, check out a re-post of something I wrote in 2010, containing my own all Asian/Asian-American casting of a hypothetical Akira live-action movie.

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