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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

More Asian representation on big screen

    By Courtney Tsao

    Staff Writer

      “Whitewashing,” a term used to describe the use of a white actor or actress who takes on the role of a minority character, is prevalent in the entertainment world.

      Despite the criticism the film industry faces, whitewashing is still an issue. An example of how the disapproval of many movie-watchers were expressed was when Scarlett Johansson was cast to play a Japanese character in the 2017 live action adaptation of the anime, “Ghost in the Shell.

      Asian representation is not often seen on the big screen as only 1.4% of lead roles in a 2014 sample of studio films were Asian, according to a report from Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.

      Never has the lack of representation been more prominent since the 1993 release of “The Joy Luck Club”, a movie that featured Asian female leads. Since then, the film industry has not had an Asian-dominated cast for 25 years until “Crazy Rich Asians” was released this year, resparking the question of why there aren’t more Asian leads in film.

      Asian actors and actresses are gaining their own spotlight and challenging the influences of whitewashing through the popular August releases of “Crazy Rich Asians,” “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” and “Searching.”

      The hashtag, #AsianAugust, has been circulating the web ever since the movies were released, an indication of the positive response to the sudden surge of Asians playing major roles.

      “This is more than a movie, it’s a movement,” tweeted actress Constance Wu, quoting the words from the director of “Crazy Rich Asians,” Jon M. Chu.

      The three movies have been warmly embraced, with “Searching” earning 32 million dollars. “Crazy Rich Asians” earned $149 million dollars, becoming the tenth-biggest domestic grosser of this summer, as of Sept. 9.

      “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” has also earned its fair share of fame by quickly becoming one of Netflix’s most popular movies. Its influence over movie-watchers was made known when the company of Yakult, the Japanese probiotic drink that was featured many times in the movie, reported that its stock shares increased by 2.6%.

      “It’s so inspiring to see Asians represented in movies that are so popular and widely praised throughout social media,” said senior Samantha Tang.

      Asian representation on the big screen will also be furthered in the upcoming years through actress Gemma Chan who will play Doctor Minerva in “Captain Marvel” and Liu Yifei who will play Mulan in the “Mulan” live action.


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    More Asian representation on big screen