Tag: whitewashing

crazy rich asians

Hollywood Wanted To Whitewash This Bestselling Novel And The Author Was Not Here For It

When some Hollywood producer announces that they would like to adapt a popular book, well, typically that is pretty damn awesome. When they suggest changing the race of the main character….well….that can get awkward.

 

If you haven’t read Crazy Rich Asians yet, (and yes that is the title), it’s the hilarious debut novel by Kevin Kwan, and it captures the complex, shocking, and incredibly devious relationships in a well-off Chinese family. The main character, Rachel Chu, is an American-born Chinese woman  who accompanies her boyfriend Nicholas Young to his home country of Singapore to attend his cousin’s wedding. 

 

Kwan’s novel really delves into discussions of culture, race, and cross-cultural relationships. Culture is an incredibly important element in Crazy Rich Asians, which makes it in no way surprising that Kwan turned down an adaptation offer from a producer who wanted to make Rachel well….Caucasian.  

 

Via GIPHY

 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Kwan said that he was approached early on to adapt his best-seller into a Hollywood blockbuster and the producer (whom Kwan didn’t name) wanted to depict Rachel as a Caucasian character.

 

“That was their strategy,” Kwan told EW. “They wanted to change the heroine into a white girl. I was like, ‘Well, you’ve missed the point completely,’ I said, ‘No, thank you.’” 

 

Me trying to understand the producer’s state of mind | Via GIPHY

 

I have to say, I’m pretty happy Kwan turned down the request. As if minorities aren’t underrepresented enough in the media, changing the race of a major character (in a book completely centered around Asian culture) is without a doubt whitewashing.

 

It’s not as if Hollywood has hesitated to whitewash in the past, particularly when it comes to Asian characters. Netflix has been accused of whitewashing multiple times over the past year.

 

Netflix’s adaptation of the manga hit Death Note garnered controversy after they Americanized the series, shifting the characters from Japanese high school students living in Tokyo to Caucasian students living in Seattle. In addition, the Netflix series Iron Fist was also the subject of controversy, prompting debates about whitewashing and racism.

 

Luckily Crazy Rich Asians has found a producer who will keep the authenticity of the novel….at least in regards to the race of the characters. Warner Bros. will be producing the film with Jon M. Chu signing on as director. The leading actors filling in the roles of Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young are Constance Wu and Henry Golding, respectively. Crazy Rich Asians will hit theaters in August 2018 and I. Cannot. Wait.

 

Via GIPHY

 

 

Featured image via Amazon/Stephen Gutierrez

John Boyega in Star Wars and Emilia Clarke borne aloft by freed slaves in Game of Thrones

Star Wars’ John Boyega Blasts ‘Game of Thrones’ for Lack of Diversity

John Boyega, the first actor of color to be cast in a lead role in a ‘Star Wars’ movie, has blasted popular HBO series ‘Game of Thrones’ for its lack of diversity, citing ‘Lord of the Rings’ as another franchise totally devoid of people of color.

In an interview with GQ, Boyega commented: “There are no black people on ‘Game of Thrones.’ You don’t see one black person in ‘Lord of the Rings.’” While ‘Game of Thrones’ does feature some minor characters of color, none hold lead roles and every character in ‘Lord of the Rings’ is, indeed, white.

 

John Boyega

Image Courtesy of Hollywood Reporter 

 

“I ain’t paying money to always see one type of person on-screen” said Boyega. “Because you see different people from different backgrounds, different cultures, every day. Even if you’re a racist, you have to live with that. We can ruffle up some feathers.”

 

Three white elves in film version of Lord of the Rings

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

 

It is not the first time the issue of race has been raised in relation to ‘Game of Thrones.’ The show has drawn criticism for its depiction of slavery and abolition in a storyline surrounding Emilia Clarke’s character, Queen Daenerys Targaryen, who sets out to end the slave trade. The scene most cited for this argument sees Clarke’s character, having successfully liberated the city of Yunkai,  “borne aloft by the darker-skinned inhabitants of the city” and was slammed for its “colonialist” undertones.

 

Daenarys held up with people of color

Image Courtesy of Independent

 

A fan recently asked  GoT author George R.R. Martin: “must all black people in the series be servants, guards, or charlatans?” Martin assured the fan that while Westeros 300AC was “nowhere near as diverse as 21st century America,” more POC characters can be expected in ‘Winds of Winter.’ 

 

Here’s hoping for more representation as the series progresses! 

 

Featured Image Courtesy of iDigitalTimes and The Daily Express