This morning, Entertainment Weekly unveiled Shirley Li’s cover story featuring the highly anticipated romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians — which is set to hit cinemas on August 17, 2018. Seeing Constance Wu and Henry Golding looking fab on the cover got us thinking, how many EW covers* have featured Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders? So we dug into the EW archives and unearthed the following.
On a recent episode of Kevin Smith’s Fatman on Batman podcast, Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada revealed that Marvel Studios has retained the rights to Namor, the Sub-Mariner. Of course, this isn’t the first time Quesada has assumed the rights to Namor had returned to Marvel — and Namor’s movie rights are some of the most confusing in comic book movie world. Still, it’s long overdue for a movie featuring one of the high-profile members of Marvel’s Illuminati, not to mention the fact that Namor is a perfect opportunity to cast an Asian American male as a lead in the MCU!
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.