Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Bagheera » Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:40 pm

View Original PostRay wrote:I predict the movie will bomb domestically due to the controversy. But the Asian Box Office will make the movie successful.


I predict it will bomb because it will suck, and that nearly no one in the viewing public will know or care about the controversy.

Proving once again that the biggest obstacle to Asian actors getting into lead roles in big Hollywood movies. Is the Asian Market.


If you're predicting the Asian box office will make the movie successful I really don't see how it follows that it is somehow more responsible for the fortunes of Asian-American actors than Hollywood itself.

View Original Postbackseatjesus wrote:Because people would have still complained.


If they're complain either way why not take the road that leads to the fewest headached? It worked for Edge of Tomorrow.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Tarnsman » Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:51 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote::shrug: If the point of the exercise is to show sensitivity to minority groups it pays to actually listen to what they have to say on the matter.


Well it depends on the context. Is the outrage over genuinely shitting on someone's culture? Or is it outrage fueled by massive ingrained cultural xenophobia?

View Original PostBagheera wrote:But as a point of order I actually do think it's good practice to get ethnically appropriate people to play characters with a specific ethnic background (which is why I have always wanted to see Elektra played by someone who's Greek -- she's specifically Greek, so she should be cast accordingly). Otherwise we get actors with shitty accents who mangle languages they don't actually speak, which is just painful for everyone.


I applaud you for going all out. I don't agree with it though. Gladiator wasn't a ruined because an Australian played a Roman (in fact Russell Crowe was quite excellent in that film). Blood Diamond wasn't ruined because a Beninese played a Sierra Leonean (Djimon Hounsou was wonderful). So on and so forth. There is a significant difference between having a bunch of Chinese people dress up as samurai and fight Mongolians while presenting it as a historical drama and "this character's surname is Japanese but I really like this Chinese actor and how Japanese he is isn't really crucial for this role"
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Ray » Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:20 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:
If you're predicting the Asian box office will make the movie successful I really don't see how it follows that it is somehow more responsible for the fortunes of Asian-American actors than Hollywood itself.



The CCP has a strict policy regarding the portrayal of Asian actors in movies. You want to know why in Dr. Strange they changed the ancient one from Tibetan to white, and the setting from Tibet to Nepal? Because 1) there is no way the Censors would allow a movie with a Tibetan in a powerful competent role. 2) China objects to most negative depictions of asians in the movies they show in their movies (with some very rare exceptions), and if a Studio makes one tiny misstep, the majority of your future releases could potentially be denied access to a huge audience that almost always guarantees a movie will be a hit.

Disney learned this the hard way when they produced Brad Pitts "Seven Years In Tibet", and had all of their movies and products shut out of the Chinese Market for almost a decade!

Ever since then, Studios have been very careful to avoid potentially offending Chinese Censors.

For example to get a Chinese release for Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End, Disney had to edit out all scenes featuring the Chinese pirates. Even at the expense of narrative cohesion.

So casting Scarjo as Kusanagi was (in part, not the only reason) a deliberate attempt to court the Chinese Market. Why would a studio/director/producer risk potentially offending and losing the biggest potential market for movies? If the government controlling that market didn't like the way you portrayed an Asian character, then there goes a potential extra billion.

Whitewashing and not hiring Asian actors cuts that Gordian knot. No Asian actors, No potentially offensive Portrayals of Asians, and no risk of offending censors and losing the Chinese audience.

It's a massive oversimplification. but generally speaking that's sadly the way the studio thinks.

Edit:

Last Airbender, bombed over here. Earned its money back in the Chinese market. Terminator Genysis, similar results.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Bagheera » Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:41 pm

View Original PostRay wrote:Ever since then, Studios have been very careful to avoid potentially offending Chinese Censors.


Right, but that means it's an issue with the Chinese censors, not the Chinese moviegoing public. You seem to treat China as a monolithic entity when it's anything but.

Whitewashing and not hiring Asian actors cuts that Gordian knot. No Asian actors, No potentially offensive Portrayals of Asians, and no risk of offending censors and losing the Chinese audience.


Again, Chinese censors, not audience. The audience probably wouldn't care if a Japanese actress played a Japanese character in a film based on a Japanese property. They'll spend their money on a movie they want (and are allowed) to see. If the movie they are allowed to see has a white woman in a Japanese role, and they see it anyway, it's not their fault the movie was mangled due to stupid decisions made to appease the censors they dislike anyway. That goes straight back to Hollywood and the people who are enforcing the status quo.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Tarnsman » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:17 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:Again, Chinese censors, not audience. The audience probably wouldn't care if a Japanese actress played a Japanese character in a film based on a Japanese property. They'll spend their money on a movie they want (and are allowed) to see. If the movie they are allowed to see has a white woman in a Japanese role, and they see it anyway, it's not their fault the movie was mangled due to stupid decisions made to appease the censors they dislike anyway. That goes straight back to Hollywood and the people who are enforcing the status quo.


Chinese censors are who Hollywood has to work around. If they're censoring your film the audience isn't seeing it. It doesn't matter what the audience wants, they can only pay for what they're allowed to see. If they're not allowed to see it you don't get their money. Thus it is in Hollywood's interest to make movies they're allowed to see.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Ray » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:29 pm

Exactly! But the Chinese Audience will still go see a whitewashed movie because they can either take what they can get (what the government allows them to see), or not go to the movies at all.

And that proves that whitewashing is a tactic that makes money! Because they'll go see the movie anyway! That's not to blame Chinese Moviegoers, it's just the only thing they're being offered.

Even if nobody in the US goes to see a live Action Ghost In The Shell. The Chinese Market will, making the movie enough money to justify the studios choice to deny Asian and Asian American Actors roles.

Why Did Terminator Genysis Do So Well In China but not the US? Because US audiences can be discerning because there are dozens of other movies to choose from, In China it's take it or leave it.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=scZb9Q8q4Pw
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Bagheera » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:34 pm

View Original PostTarnsman wrote:Chinese censors are who Hollywood has to work around. If they're censoring your film the audience isn't seeing it. It doesn't matter what the audience wants, they can only pay for what they're allowed to see. If they're not allowed to see it you don't get their money. Thus it is in Hollywood's interest to make movies they're allowed to see.


Yes, obviously. But my point there was that the censors are the problem, not the Chinese market. Nobody courts the Chinese market -- the court China's censors, which is a vastly different thing. It's like saying Hollywood execs somehow represents the interests of the U.S. moviegoing public, which is absurd. They decide what gets made and what doesn't, but they decide based on their own warped criteria, not on what the public actually wants to see.
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People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Tarnsman » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:41 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:They decide what gets made and what doesn't, but they decide based on their own warped criteria, not on what the public actually wants to see.


I'd hardly call it a warped criteria. A movie with a 150 million dollar budget needs to make around 300 million to break even (since 150 is just the production budget and doesn't count all that wonderful extra crap like marketing). Wanting your movie to have as many possible avenues of revenue is hardly a warped criteria. Especially considering that the trade of off a few Americans not seeing your movie because it offends them instead of an entire country not being able to see your movie because their government won't let them is a no-brainer from a business standpoint.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby El Squibbonator » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:02 pm

Part of the issue is that there is a high degree of nationalism present in Japan, and having a Japanese role played by, for instance, a Korean or Chinese actor could come off as borderline offensive to many vocally right-wing Japanese moviegoers.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Gendo'sPapa » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:17 pm

Ghost in the Shell (2017) will bomb not because of the actress attached but because anime is still a niche market that doesn't appeal to the average filmgoer & instead they'll go see one of the other overly costly bores that's in the theater at the moment. Maybe the Power Rangers movie which is scheduled to come out the week before & will heavily play into nostalgia for a lot of people. Or some dumb superhero movie. There's ALWAYS a dumb superhero movie.

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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby movieartman » Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:25 pm

Writer of Doctor Strange talks about the film and the race issue on podcast with friends who he did audio movie reviews with years ago on the now defunct Spill.Com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEpbUf8dGq0
Discussion of the race issue starts at 17:54

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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Ray » Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:44 pm

Basically he's saying what I've been saying all along. Marvel wanted to Err on the side of potential profits even if they did come off as a little racist rather than potentially alienate the Chinese Market.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Sat Apr 23, 2016 1:26 am

View Original PostRay wrote:Marvel wanted to Err on the side of potential profits even if they did come off as a little racist rather than potentially alienate the Chinese Market.

It's interesting how Marvel could still be considered "racist" for not casting a Chinese man as the villain while effectively not offending Chinese people in fact due to that "racist" casting decision. Could this be considered an example of positive racism, since it was successfully done so as not to offend people of a different race? Or would you rather Chinese people get offended over the race casted in a certain role?
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Bagheera » Sat Apr 23, 2016 1:41 am

View Original PostRay wrote:Basically he's saying what I've been saying all along. Marvel wanted to Err on the side of potential profits even if they did come off as a little racist rather than potentially alienate the Chinese Market.


I don't think "we picked the least bad way to deal with this, and picked a route that was not explicitly racist to do it" is the same as "we erred on the side of potential profits." Yes, it's true that they didn't want to alienate an entire market, but that had more to do with the fact that the Ancient One was Tibetan than anything else related to race or gender. There's an awful lot of subtext in that conversation that you're glossing over here.

Also, seeing that, I actually agree with him. There was no way to navigate that minefield using an Asian actor (I particularly liked the bit about Michelle Yeoh; "yes, I'd love to work with Michelle Yeoh, that'd be awesome, but there is no way in hell I'm gonna cast her as a freakin' Tibetan, are you insane?"), so going with Tilda Swinton was a brilliant way to sidestep the whole mess and just get on with things.
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I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Gob Hobblin » Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:22 pm

Well, a lot of Marvel's Asian villains suffer the fact of originating as Yellow Peril stereotypes, which inherently have a lot of racially negative or insulting aspects to their characters.
Though, Gob still might look good in a cocktail dress.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Ray » Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:09 pm

That didn't stop Marvel from making the Hand the a group of stereotypical unnuanced Ninja yellow peril caricatures in Daredevil Season 2. Aside from Elodie Yung as Electra (who is one of the best damned things about season 2 just saying), and maybe that one Japanese mob boss in Season 1 who's the only one of the Mob Bosses Fisk is actually kind to, none of the Asian Villains get any nuance at all. There's no Kingpin-level villain character for the Hand, that has as much depth and tragedy to him as D'Onfrio as Fisk, Hiddleston as Loki, or Bernthal as the Punisher. (I'm only about Halfway through season 2 BTW, so I may be wrong) and I have a theory why that's the case.

It's okay for Marvel and Fox to use Japanese characters as Villains (The Wolverine was allowed into Chinese Theatres due to the main character being a white person and most of the villains being Japanese), but if you give them more than just a little depth. . .that could potentially damage your entire studio's reputation in the eyes of the Chinese Censors. Even if the movie or TV show in question was never intended to be shown in China.

Your company produced a documentary that talks about Tienanmen square? All your companies other movies are banned for the foreseeable future. Your company produces a movie with a main Chinese character that has issues and sadness and depth? If he or she isn't portrayed as anything less than an all-powerful, all-competent, stoic superman, it's not going to be shown in their Market. You produce a movie with a Japanese character, the country that the China STILL HATES for their war crimes during WW2? They have to be an unrepentant villain, or else no way they're letting it in their theaters.

White or black characters on the other hand, on average are allowed to have a lot more nuance and character in movies released into the Chinese market. Because there's no greater political undertones that can be misinterpreted if it's a white or black character killing a white or black character.

Portray Chinese or Japanese characters in any nuanced way, any way that makes them come off as less than either absolutely perfect, or absolutely evil respectively, you risk losing the Chinese audience to the State's demands. As I already said, part of the reason few Asians get even small roles that have any kind of nuance is because studios do not even want to risk it, they'd rather not even bother casting Asians and avoid the issue altogether.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby movieartman » Thu Apr 28, 2016 12:36 am

View Original PostRay wrote:That didn't stop Marvel from making the Hand the a group of stereotypical unnuanced Ninja yellow peril caricatures in Daredevil Season 2. Aside from Elodie Yung as Electra (who is one of the best damned things about season 2 just saying), and maybe that one Japanese mob boss in Season 1 who's the only one of the Mob Bosses Fisk is actually kind to, none of the Asian Villains get any nuance at all. There's no Kingpin-level villain character for the Hand, that has as much depth and tragedy to him as D'Onfrio as Fisk, Hiddleston as Loki, or Bernthal as the Punisher. (I'm only about Halfway through season 2 BTW, so I may be wrong) and I have a theory why that's the case.

To be fair...
Ninjas conceptually work specifically because they are mysterious and otherworldly.
To give them all that much exploration would be detrimental to that.
And other then the Mandarin in Iron Man - Haunted and Fu Manchu being a altruistic doctor whose family was killed.
I haven't really come across Asian villains with sympathetic or understandable motives besides the usual mysticism or communism stuff.

I just immeasurably violently hate this notion that we can't have villains that happen to be of a foreign culture and unless we have a good guy from that culture we are racist and implying that all people of that race are like that. There are BILLIONS upon billions of Chinese that will never have anything to do with Ninja death cults, the notion that we are implying such is ludicrous.
And Ninjas aren't event meant to be particulararly deragatory for God's sake, they are meant to be badass plane and simple.

Also Ray, they may be saving strong exploration into a Asian character for the Iron Fist show, Shang Chi may be in it.

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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Bagheera » Thu Apr 28, 2016 3:23 am

View Original Postmovieartman wrote:Also Ray, they may be saving strong exploration into a Asian character for the Iron Fist show, Shang Chi may be in it.


That would be absolutely glorious, IMO. The push to make Iron Fist Asian is disgusting to my mind, but giving Shang Chi some much-needed airtime is most welcome.
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The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby movieartman » Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:38 am

https://www.yahoo.com/movies/why-won-t- ... 00413.html

Things the author doesn't take into account.
1.) Lupita requested a cgi character in TFA, after 12 years was so much about her being physically abused and doing a hundred photo shoots she wanted something that was about nothing but her performance.

2.) "You don’t see Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Cruise painting their faces to win roles"
J.Edgar? Tropic Thunder?

3.) Gamora is a established character, no matter who played her she would be green.

4.) Karen Gillan a white redhead actress was painted blue and shaved her head in the same film.

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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:09 am

^ "Why won't you let us see our black actors?" This really depends on the film that the audience sees. I'm pretty sure 12 Years a Slave was released without black censorship bars over all of the black actor's heads. If you would have seen that movie, I think you would have had a pretty good shot at seeing one of these people's faces. But you decided to watch a weird sci-fi movie instead, where people of many races and genders painted their faces many colors to look like many other aliens.

Also, it's getting to the point where most non-comedy movies that star black people that aren't Will Smith, Forest Whitaker, Sam Jackson, Zoe Saldana, Morgan Freeman, or Jamie Foxx try to, in some way, preach to white people about how racism is bad. This is about as helpful to anything as Christian films are no non-Christian audiences. Nobody wants to go to the theater to be preached at, no matter how good your movie might be. We came to be entertained. As a result Dear White People is a title about as effective at getting asses in seats to watch your movie as God is Not Dead was. Most of the people who go to see it will be activists, and they will be the only ones pushing non-activists to see the movie. And nobody wants an activist telling them what they should be watching.
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