Not sure how many of you have seen the film 21 or read the book. It's about a bunch of MIT students that figured out a system to beat casinos at blackjack and raked in millions of dollars. The film currently stars, Jim Sturgess and Kate Bosworth. BUT, in the actual story, most of the team was Asian American and in fact used ethnicity and stereotypes to their advantage to pull off their scam. The casting of this famous and well publicized story clearly does not reflect reality. Some people are calling foul and the casting "racist."
Let's think about this a little...
"Racism" is certainly a knee-jerk term that does a lot to excite
tension and little for people to investigate the processes that
underlie the result.
But, there is an underlying belief in the
industry that to be "universally appealing" lead actors must be
"non-ethnic" or rather: white; which guides the economic and aesthetic
choices of studio execs. Your argument that audiences go to watch
people that look like them is flawed because I find it hard to believe
that Spider Man 3 became a blockbuster hit with only a white
demographic. The argument doesn't work the other way. But, studio execs
make the very same argument and buy into that one-sided mentality.
Mezrich has criticized the casting of 21, and argued that it plays into fears of the marketability of an all-Asian cast.
is certainly a result of the limited/conservative social imagination on
the part of studio execs and what they believe the public is interested
in watching. The fact is that because of this dynamic less minority
actors are giving good roles in which to prove themselves and be
exposed to the public and thus less likely to headline movies with few
exceptions. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. As a filmmaker, I've
certainly been told (and have heard numerous stories) that if I had
made some characters white, the film would be easier to finance. Of
course that is because there are few bankable minority stars because of
the very dynamic described above.
many minority celebrities, the films are not given the marketing
attention they could if Matt Damon is headlining the film. Also,
minority films in the USA are ghettoized, made on lower budgets and
almost exclusively targeted toward that minority. Could 21 have been a
hit filled with Asian Americans? Of course, if the studio was willing
to invest in new talent and put the marketing dollars behind it. The
fact was that they weren't willing to take the risk and challenge the
status quo and made a bland film filled with the usual gambit of pasty
bright young things.
Ken Leung being casted in LOST is great
because he's on screen but not justified by his ethnicity. He's Asian
American but flawed and crazy. Let's have more roles like that for
Asian Americans. As rare as it is, it does happen and it's inspiring
when it does.
Log in to alivenotdead.com with one of these trusted providers
NOTE: Users of the original website please Click here to reactivate your account.
New users - Join the alivenotdead.comcommunity instantly by confirming your identity with a trusted authentication service.
Returning users - Please use with the same authentication service to login to your alivenotdead.com account.
First time users can create a new account from scratch by authenticate using any of the following trusted services:
WARNING: If you disconnect all your social media accounts your profile will be locked and you will not be able to access it again. If you want to keep your page, please add another social media account and then remove this one.
If you understand the risks, click this box to deauthorize your account.