Scarlett Johansson's latest role is bringing accusations of whitewashing and prejudice against Asian actresses, and the critics have a point.
Johansson was just announced to play the lead in Paramount Pictures' Ghost in the Shell, which is great news — except the role is Major Motoko Kusanagi, a special ops human-cyborg hybrid and a character originating in a popular Japanese anime series.
So why is a white actress playing an Asian character? That's what fans would like to know.
In fact, some are so incensed that a petition has been started in an attempt to get Dreamworks to recast the role.
"The original film is set in Japan, and the major cast members are Japanese. So why would the American remake star a white actress?" the petition overview reads. "The industry is already unfriendly to Asian actors without roles in major films being changed to exclude them. One recent survey found that in 2013, Asian characters made up only 4.4 percent of speaking roles in top-grossing Hollywood films."
So far, more than 67,000 people have signed the petition.
The casting news is making waves on Twitter, too.
It's astoundingly uncomplicated. Ghost in the Shell takes place in 21st century Japan, and Kusanagi is written as Japanese— Kwame Opam (@kwameopam) April 14, 2016
Ghost In The Shell, while just one film, is a pillar in Asian media. It's not simply a scifi thriller. Not to me, not to many others.— Jon Tsuei (@jontsuei) April 15, 2016
Respect the work for what it is and don't bastardize it into what you want it to be. pic.twitter.com/ob6ZXOS2Qi— Jon Tsuei (@jontsuei) April 15, 2016
@Meghan_IGN Scarlett Johansson didn't even fit the role of Black Widow in Marvel, what a disgrace for Ghost In The Shell.— Martin R. Galindo (@gigaworkt40) April 14, 2016
The uproar mirrors that of the criticism Cameron Crowe faced for casting Emma Stone, a white actress, as a mixed-race Hawaiian and Chinese character in his film Aloha.
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