Time to take on the film industry again. While we’re all for equity in casting, that presumes an equality already exists, and it’s obvious that’s not the case. Recent casting choices have brought that into a more focused spotlight.
If an actor of Asian descent is cast in a martial arts film, no one bats an eye, except those who want the world to know that Asian actors are just as well-suited for non-martial arts films as anyone else. And that’s a completely legitimate point. Martial arts films aside, why don’t we see more Asian actors in lead roles?
Why cast an historically Tibetan man (the Ancient One) as a white female? Marvel has yet to make a statement that doesn’t seem like one you get from your kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. When decisions about Asian-American actors are made for them instead of with them, the results will continue to be disastrous. Will it hurt the studio’s bottom line? Probably not, but can we not continue the discussion, energize the activism, and work for a more representative diversity in the film industry? The world is shrinking, folks, which means we can hear those voices right up close that used to be so far away as to be inaudible. Listen. They’re speaking the truth and calling for just action.
Asian actors shouldn’t be stuck in a type-casting industry any more than African actors or Indian actors. It’s film, people, and film is a mirror as well as a challenge to do better. We can.