Whitewashing had been the bane of the existence of Asian actors in Hollywood. Asian erasure was the easy way for Hollywood to cast big-name established white actors to play Asian roles. Hollywood use to do yellow face. They give makeup to white actors so they can play Asian roles because of anti-miscegenation laws. When people started seeing it as offensive. They just cast white actors for those Asian roles and change the ethnicity of the characters.
Here is a trip to the memory lane to some of the most recent whitewashing Hollywood did to Asian characters in adaptations.
Starship troopers is an Adaptation of the science-fiction novel of the same name. It is about Juan “Johnny” Rico. He is a rich kid who joined the military against a war with an Alien insect race. The movie version turned him into an Argentine so they can cast Caucasian actor Casper Van Dien for his role. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPYuV_jGk7M
Dragonball Evolution cast Canadian Actor to play iconic anime character Son Goku. Their excuse is that Goku has big eyes and he is an alien. Yes, Saiyans are Aliens but Goku can pass as Son Gohan’s grandson because he looks Asian and he is inspired by a Chinese legend.
Ghost in the Shell is the most recent one . Motoko Kusanagi is played by Scarlett Johansson because they think an Asian actress wont draw.
This live adaptation of an Anime causes a lot of debates. Hollywood director Max Landis made the explanation that whitewashing happens because of money. Asian actors don’t draw because there are no big Asian stars in Hollywood but his statement got debunked when Asian August happened in 2018. Asian August is an event where all box office charting movies have Asian leads.
The Last Airbender is the most crucial one because the characters from the source material are inspired by cultures of the Mongoloid race. Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native Americans are most needed actors to be cast but Paramount pictures decided to go for a mostly Caucasian cast and have the villains be played by South Asians.
Netflix will try to fix that mistake by making a live action series of Avatar: the last airbender. This time no whitewashing. Here is the description of the casting calls for the characters.
Netflix live-action ATLA official casting call ethnicities:
– Aang: Asian
– Katara: Native American
– Sokka: Native American
– Zuko: Asian
Like the characters' ages, this is from an official source I saw and confirmed myself.
— Avatar News (@AvatarNews_) May 27, 2021
Netflix is actually guilty of whitewashing in the past . They had whitewashed the cast of their live action adaptation of Death Note. Netflix will now take risk and cast unknowns for the leads.