Metal Guitarist Forums banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Could be Hitler
Joined
·
7,666 Posts
Must have spent hours in makeup. :lol:
 

·
I am Groot
Joined
·
32,450 Posts
Apparently, he's just as Asian as Tom Cruise was in The Last Samurai. :lol:
 

·
DOO)))M
Joined
·
7,435 Posts
It's not a WHAT they were trying to keep out, it's a WHOM were they trying to keep out?

The answer:

 

·
Is Actually Recording
Joined
·
32,765 Posts
Though, the interesting thing here, and the one where I'm really not sure HOW I feel about this, is that casting Damon as the lead was done by a Chinese director, at the behest of the Chinese investment consortium financing the film.

Is it whitewashing when the very people being portrayed want it done? I'm really not sure.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
23,428 Posts
Though, the interesting thing here, and the one where I'm really not sure HOW I feel about this, is that casting Damon as the lead was done by a Chinese director, at the behest of the Chinese investment consortium financing the film.

Is it whitewashing when the very people being portrayed want it done? I'm really not sure.
I think the whitewashing is a matter of the financing, as you bring up, from what I understand of the issue. I'm sure the director would rather cast someone more ethnically close to the story, but Matt Damon will ensure millions of revenue from the USA for the investors.
 

·
Read Only
Joined
·
7,880 Posts
Yeah given that the financiers care primarily about getting a maximum return, I don't think their ethnicity really factors into whether or not it's a problem that white dudes always seem to get the leads in movies about other cultures. It's sort of like how the fact that there are black police officers or judges doesn't in and of itself invalidate claims that the justice system treats African Americans unfairly.

I don't think the argument against whitewashing was ever really "the evil cabal in charge of Hollywood refuses to give opportunities to non-white actors because they're evil" so much as like "there's this systemic perception that white leads make more money even though it's not really clear that that's true, and it results in studios funding garbage movies with "safe" white actors instead of green lighting other shit that might be more interesting."

It's also one of those things where like, arguing over individual examples sort of misses the point - whether this particular movie turns out to be good/profitable or whether it's another Prince of Persia starring Chad Whitebreadington - the point is that in the aggregate we're arguably getting a shittier selection of movies that reduces opportunity for lots of talented artists because of some questionable assumptions.
 

·
Is Actually Recording
Joined
·
32,765 Posts
I think the whitewashing is a matter of the financing, as you bring up, from what I understand of the issue. I'm sure the director would rather cast someone more ethnically close to the story, but Matt Damon will ensure millions of revenue from the USA for the investors.
I'm not sure - I was reading about this on facebook last night, and as I recall, I think the director wanted someone like Damon, too - they were looking at taking the form of the traditional Hollywood blockbuster, but adding elements of Chinese moviemaking and chinese culture TO that model.

So, if we really DO have a Chinese director and Chinese financiers who wanted a white American lead for their project, this conversation gets a lot more complex - if we accuse them of whitewashing their story, how much of that is our inserting our expectations of what an "authentic" movie about China made by a Chinese director with Chinese backers into the situation, and is that equivalent to just another, more subtle, manner of robbing them of their artistic voice?

And, again, I'm still trying to process this; I'm not saying that because I think I know the answer, so much as that that's the question I'm currently wrestling with that I'm TRYING to answer.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,448 Posts
I remember seeing an article that was like "Oh, how sad! This whitewashing is so bad that Japanese and Chinese don't even see a problem with it!" where they asked Japanese people what they thought about white people being cast in the roles of people you'd expect to be Asian (such as Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell) and they were like "I think it's really cool" and "I'm really looking forward to seeing that movie." It was totally the opposite of the response they expected, so they went the "Oh, the Japanese public has been brainwashed by Japanese people and Hollywood to embrace whitewashing!" direction with their article.

It's all a bunch of bullshit.

Personally, I think Hollywood shouldn't make these movies period. I mean, even the Asian films that Hollywood does that do have an all-Asian cast are generally pure shit -- or at least very mediocre. Memoirs of a Geisha, for example, was an all-Asian cast (for the "Japanese" characters, at least), but I really didn't see Zhang Ziyi playing the main character as any better than some white girl playing the main character because she wasn't Japanese, she didn't look Japanese, she couldn't speak Japanese, and on and on (sure, the average person isn't going to be able to tell the difference, but then what? It's not okay to have an Italian girl play a Japanese person, but it's okay to have a Chinese girl play a Japanese person? Because they're relatively closer in ethnicity? Japanese and Chinese people do not look remotely the same, but most people who have zero interactions with them will think "All Asians look the same anyway" and think they're being culturally sensitive by casting a Korean-American as a Chinese or Japanese character or vice versa). But, then again, with the case of Memoirs of a Geisha, it's not even based on a Japanese novel or on anything even resembling historical accuracy. The cast was a mix of Asian-American (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, etc.) and Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.). Sure, it had some great actors like Koji Yakusho and Ken Watanabe, but in the end, I have to say the movie was pretty pathetic. I could complain about how inaccurate it was too, but it was based on a stereotypical and offensive novel written by an American.

If I had my way, adaptations of Japanese IPs would only be handled by Japanese companies, so they would be in the Japanese language with entirely Japanese actors and actresses and production. But we all know that's not gonna happen.

But, in the case of The Great Wall, it's a Chinese movie, so it's up to them to do what they want, and if they want a white guy as the main character in a completely original storyline that they're writing for the white guy, I don't see the problem. 99.9% of Chinese movies have Chinese people in the lead role, so what's to complain about? It's demonstrably true that a Chinese movie with Matt Damon is going to make more money than a Chinese movie with an actor that American audiences have never heard of. Americans also tend to dislike subtitles, so that's one reason why a lot of films set in different time periods or cultures decide to film them in English. I oftentimes disagree with that approach, but it's definitely the more financially intelligent one (most of the time, at least).

Granted, with these movies, they have the problem of asking important questions. With The Last Samurai, the most offensive idea is that only a white foreigner is capable of saving the Japanese people. And it has the ridiculous idea of Tom Cruise "mastering" the Japanese language (his pronunciation really really sucks in that movie), mastering traditional Japanese swordplay, and understanding their culture and point-of-view in about a month or so, then leading the Japanese samurai in the position of a leader/role-model, etc.

The Great Wall isn't tied to reality as much since it seems from the trailer to be straight up fantasy/sci-fi/horror. So, what is a European (or American) doing at the Great Wall? Well, when we accept that the Great Wall is to keep out demons or monsters, it's a lot easier to accept some legendary European warrior being accepted there.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top