Also, I've never seen nor cared about Death Note. But I understand the universality of its concept. European-American characters can kill people by writing names down in a weird book just as well as a Native Japanese character can.
The problem is that, this is a role where it actually makes sense to cast Asian or Asian American characters in the leads because it's a property that originated in Asia (Like Edge Of Tomorrow). But once again, the film industry and the numerous producers decide to put all the Asians in the background, and as I've stated before, when an Asian actor (Edward Zo) did go to audition for the role of Light, he was told TO HIS FACE by both his agent, and the casting director. "Sorry, we're not auditioning Asian actors for this part".https://youtu.be/hdxz2htgPiQ?t=56
Let me put this in perspective. AFI has a list of the top 100 Villains in Hollywood movies, and you know the truth? They're almost entirely white. With two
exceptions, Denzel Washington as Detective Harris in Training Day
, and James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader. None of them we're Asian, or Hispanic. Death Note would have been PERFECT for bucking that trend.
This was a chance to give an Asian actor a role as a brilliant, sexy, competent, and above all else NUANCED
villain, and not as a No Name Viet-Cong or North Korean soldier, or a racist Yellow Peril Caricature.
Yet once again, the people in charge of making these movies give it to a white guy. A white guy who has every opportunity to audition for another role that he more than likely would have actually gotten. While an Asian-American actor doesn't have any other lead roles to audition for and have a chance in hell of getting, unless he moves to Asia.
Despite the fact that the movie has already been dropped by the studio that optioned it (Warner Bros), is already on Netflix (home to such wonderful
fare as Adam Sandler's Ridiculous 6
) , features a majority No-Name, No A-list cast (Aside from Paper Towns, what has Nat Wolff starred in that's actually made money? what has Keith Stanfield done besides Straight Outta Compton?), it deals with a concept that requires little money (it takes place in the modern day) and it has next to no CGI(You could make Ryuk a guy in prosthetic makeup), and is based on a popular series of graphic novels that have an entirely Asian cast! Would it really have been that much of a risk to cast an Asian in the lead role of a character whose last name is YAGAMI in the source material?
This is exactly how feel about the Japanese-Washed Unforgiven movie.
That's a Japanese film a country that is 99% Asian. Not America, which has a much MUCH wider casting pool. Asian American actors get screwed over by the Hollywood system at every single turn, and that's something most Asian actors living in Asia and starring in ASIAN films would never understand.
I'll readily admit I jumped the gun here. But I highly doubt Keith has the range necessary to do L justice. That's just my opinion of him as an actor.
and he'll no doubt be in the background. The Kano to L's Green Hornet, with no deeper nuance or character development. Just like the roles every other Asian actors in Hollywood is forced to take in order to not starve to death.
White-washing is something else.
Giving a role that was Asian in the source material to a white actor in the movie or TV adaptation IS Whitewashing. In my opinion, if a movie doesn't respect the source material enough to get the race of the characters right. Then that's a good sign the rest of the film is going to suck.