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Thread: Cameron Crowe Apologizes for Casting Emma Stone as Asian American

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    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Default Cameron Crowe Apologizes for Casting Emma Stone as Asian American

    Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.


    Almost immediately following Aloha’s release, the Internet had much to say about the casting of Emma Stone as Allison Ng, a character who is one-fourth Asian. (Vulture called the decision a “Big White Nope” in its headline, while Jezebel asked “Literally Why” in its.) Now director Cameron Crowe has weighed in, posting a blog entry in which he responds to the criticisms about the Stone casting. “I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice,” he writes, going on to explain that the Ng character was meant to represent “a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one,” and that she was “based on a real-life red-headed local.”

    Crowe notes that the film was able to employ “many Asian-American, Native-Hawaiian and Pacific-Islanders, both before and behind the camera.” He also urges that any “blame” related to the casting should be placed squarely on him, and not on Stone. He concludes the note, “I am grateful for the dialogue. And from the many voices, loud and small, I have learned something very inspiring. So many of us are hungry for stories with more racial diversity, more truth in representation, and I am anxious to help tell those stories in the future.”

    The entire letter is copied below:

    From the very beginning of its appearance in the Sony Hack, “Aloha” has felt like a misunderstood movie. One that people felt they knew a lot about, but in fact they knew very little. It was a small movie, made by passionate actors who wanted to join me in making a film about Hawaii, and the lives of these characters who live and work in and around the island of Oahu.


    Thank you so much for all the impassioned comments regarding the casting of the wonderful Emma Stone in the part of Allison Ng. I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice. As far back as 2007, Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one. A half-Chinese father was meant to show the surprising mix of cultures often prevalent in Hawaii. Extremely proud of her unlikely heritage, she feels personally compelled to over-explain every chance she gets. The character was based on a real-life, red-headed local who did just that.


    Whether that story point felt hurtful or humorous has been, of course, the topic of much discussion. However I am so proud that in the same movie, we employed many Asian-American, Native-Hawaiian and Pacific-Islanders, both before and behind the camera… including Dennis “Bumpy” Kanahele, and his village, and many other locals who worked closely in our crew and with our script to help ensure authenticity.


    We were extremely proud to present the island, the locals and the film community with many jobs for over four months. Emma Stone was chief among those who did tireless research, and if any part of her fine characterization has caused consternation and controversy, I am the one to blame.

    I am grateful for the dialogue. And from the many voices, loud and small, I have learned something very inspiring. So many of us are hungry for stories with more racial diversity, more truth in representation, and I am anxious to help tell those stories in the future.

    Thanks again, Cameron Crowe

    Cameron Crowe Has Addressed the Emma Stone Aloha Casting Controversy | Vanity Fair


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    Elite Member heart_leigh's Avatar
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    by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one,” and that she was “based on a real-life red-headed local.”
    A ginger Asian? Hollywood has a long history of casting white actors to play Asian and Asian-American characters. Besides, I'm sure Cameron Crowe could've found a qualified quarter-Asian actress to play the part. The controversy is due to not seeing an accurate representation of Asians on film. Emma Stone doesn't even have an Asian heritage.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart_leigh View Post
    A ginger Asian? Hollywood has a long history of casting white actors to play Asian and Asian-American characters. Besides, I'm sure Cameron Crowe could've found a qualified quarter-Asian actress to play the part. The controversy is due to not seeing an accurate representation of Asians on film. Emma Stone doesn't even have an Asian heritage.
    I was reading about this and thought if he wanted someone who was good looking and actually had Asian ancestry he could have gone for Kristin Kreuk.

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    Elite Member Moongirl's Avatar
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    So, if the character (and if I understand correctly, the real-life person the character was based on) is 1/4 Asian, is it not possible that said person would not physically look Asian? I realize Hollywood has a history of non-Asians cast as such (the Charlie Chan movies come to mind), and of other ethnicities being played by white actors. That being said, do actors then have to look a certain way in order to be considered for a role?
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    Gold Member eeyore0101's Avatar
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    As far back as 2007, Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one.

    It's obvious that casting white people in racially diverse roles is a problem BUT in this case, doesn't the casting make sense for the plot? He said it's based on a 1/4 Hawaiian woman who had red hair who didn't outwardly look Hawaiian.
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    George Clooney portrayed a similar character in The Descendants; don't remember a whole lot of fuss being made about it.

    And here is Hawaiian singer-actor Don Ho with his naturally blonde daughter, Hoku:

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BITTER View Post
    George Clooney portrayed a similar character in The Descendants; don't remember a whole lot of fuss being made about it.

    And here is Hawaiian singer-actor Don Ho with his naturally blonde daughter, Hoku:

    So, her name is Hoku Ho? Hmmmmm...

    Hey, remember when John Wayne played Genghis Khan? So appropriate!
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    Elite Member heart_leigh's Avatar
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    I remember a white actor played a full Asian man in yellowface a few years ago. The limited roles for Asians/Asian-Americans which don't fall into some stereotype are frustrating.

    And regarding Hoku Ho, I can see a bit of Asian in her so I think she would definitely be a good candidate.
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    Except she is not an actress plus not a famous actress who means $$$$$ at the box office.

    They needed a not Asian looking actress who can act and has a name. Emma Stone fits the description. (I presume the can act part, honestly don't know)

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    Quote Originally Posted by heart_leigh View Post
    I remember a white actor played a full Asian man in yellowface a few years ago. The limited roles for Asians/Asian-Americans which don't fall into some stereotype are frustrating.

    And regarding Hoku Ho, I can see a bit of Asian in her so I think she would definitely be a good candidate.
    My favorite (!) was Katharine Hepburn as a Chinese freedom fighter in WW2 in Dragon Seed.
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    Elite Member heart_leigh's Avatar
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    Here's a popular actor/comedian from the Asian Youtube community who voiced his opinion. He made some interesting points imo.





    The first time I saw Mickey Rooney in yellowface, I wanted to punch someone.

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    Elite Member Trixie's Avatar
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    That's Mickey Rooney? Looks more like Mickey Rourke.
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    Nothing beats Marlon Brando in The Teahouse of the August Moon. Really bad movie too.

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    Elite Member BITTER's Avatar
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    I know, right, Constance? The squatting and the exaggerated mannerisms too.

    I know that Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong desperately wanted to play O-Lan in The Good Earth, but the Hollywood execs didn't think she could attract an audience, so they hired Luise Rainer instead. It was a good movie, but Anna could have brought so much depth and understanding to the role. To tell an Asian actress that she cannot portray an Asian character on film because it would make people uncomfortable...fucking unbelieveable.

    Which Actor here has Asian ancestry?
    Last edited by BITTER; June 4th, 2015 at 12:41 PM.
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    czb
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    looking at that pic of katherine hepburn in dragon seed makes me uncomfortable.
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