“Cloud Atlas” may be artistically ambitious, but it’s also racially retrograde, according to a blistering new release from the Media Action Network for Asian Americans …
… “Cloud Atlas” missed a great opportunity. The Korea story’s protagonist is an Asian man–an action hero who defies the odds and holds off armies of attackers,” Guy Aoki, MANAA’s founding president, said in a statement. “He’s the one who liberates [a clone played by actress] Doona Bae from her repressive life and encourages her to join the resistance against the government. It would have been a great, stereotype-busting role for an Asian American actor to play, as Asian American men aren’t allowed to be dynamic or heroic very often.”
Instead, it is Jim Sturgess who plays that role, while Hugo Weaving and James D’Arcy are also cast as Asian actors.
– The Hollywood Reporter
By Arturo R. García
The racebending of Shotaro Kaneda is a done deal. But thanks to an anonymous friend of The R, we got to see the casting calls for some parts yet to be filled in the American Akira. If you haven’t read the original manga version of the story, there’s spoilers under the cut.
Warner Bros has finally glommed onto a lead actor for its adaptation of the Japanese science fiction novel All You Need is Kill.
Set in a post apocalyptic future, All You Need is Kill is about a young Japanese soldier, Keiji Kiriya, who serves on an international fighting force fighting an alien invasion. Keiji gets stuck in a “Groundhog’s Day” scenario where he keeps reliving the day he died.
Set to play the main character in the film adaptation? On December 1st, 2011, Variety reported: Tom Cruise.
By Arturo R. García
When last we left the American Akira, the racebending had barely started: Garrett Hedlund was only being courted to play the lead character, Kaneda.
This week, thanks to Geek Tyrant and other sites, we got some more disturbing pieces of the puzzle, when this casting call for extras and stand-ins listed Twilight‘s Kristen Stewart stepping in as “Ky” – possibly because the character’s original name, Kei, was just too long for somebody’s tastes – and Helena Bonham-Carter playing Lady Miyako.
The casting call also shed some light on how the new version’s vision of “Neo-Manhattan” might play out. As “adaptations” go, it sounds like this Akira could hew as closely to this Akira as Jesus Christ Superstar did to the Gospels. Spoilers are under the cut.
Back when Warner Bros. greenlit their Americanized Akira movie everyone was buzzing that Tron Legacy star Garrett Hedlund was the lead contender for the role of Kaneda. Now it seems he’s been offered the part. Gah.
Listen, we don’t have anything really against Hedlund, he’s nice to look at on screen and his acting certainly wasn’t the only reason Tron Legacy failed so dreadfully. But come on, Hollywood, this is just boring. Can we at least consider an Asian actor, just one? And are we really going to call this guy Kaneda? Or are you going to Americanize all the Japanese names as well? Will Shotaro Kaneda be turned into Kenny, and Tetsuo Shima into Timmy?
– From “Garrett Hedlund offered lead role in Akira. Crap,” by Meredith Woermer
By Guest Contributor Gabriel Canada, cross-posted from Racebending
Under happier circumstances, Billie Frechette would have been my great aunt. She toured around the country for five years with my great uncles as part of the “Crime Doesn’t Pay” stage show. There, she recounted her six months with their son and brother John Dillinger–and her own two years in jail that came as a result of her fateful romance with him.
It was true that crime didn’t pay for the family. John Dillinger served several years in prison and was later killed by Federal agents. People in Indianapolis, Mooresville or Martinsville were not lining up to risk dating the daughter, or the niece, or even the cousin of a member of the “Dillinger gang.” It was a hard life–and an odd one–because if the family wasn’t making a great deal of money of off John, the media certainly was.
By Arturo R. García
Big thanks to our friends at Racebending for sharing this with us – it’s our panel from San Diego Comic-Con, “Diversity and Fandom 102: How You Can Make A Difference,” in its’ entirety. From left to right, our panelists were:
- Racebending’s Michael Le served as moderator
- Actor Dante Basco (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
- Showrunner/writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach (The Middleman)
- Author Malinda Lo (Huntress)
- Professor Henry Jenkins from the University of Southern California (CivicPaths Project)
- Phil Yu, from AngryAsianMan
- And that’s yours truly at the far end in the tie, looking slightly flustered at being among such a group of sharp folks.
By Guest Contributor Jonathan Vogeler
This summer, Citibank began running an advertising campaign that features three young men embarking on a project, financed by the bank, to photograph Earth from space, using a weather balloon and off-the-shelf equipment. The advertisement taps several currents of our national mythology – independence, ingenuity, discovery, and superiority in space (which is itself an extension of our glorification of colonial conquest).
This is not an entirely fictional story. Two years ago, Justin Lee and Oliver Yeh, two Asian-American MIT students, made international headlines when they used inexpensive, readily available materials to photograph near-space orbit on a $150 budget. They describe their project here, and received national media coverage.
There is a remarkable visual similarity between the Citibank ad storyboard and the real-life project documented by Lee and Yeh on their blog. But there are a few key differences.