Why Doesn’t Hollywood Cast Asian Actors?


As the American entertainment industry continues its strategy of rebooting everything under the sun, it makes sense that they would turn their sights on other cultures. For better or worse the West has always had an infatuation with Asian culture but it feels like there’s been an uptick in eastern and eastern themed stories for western audiences. And one controversy that seems to follow these controversies is who is cast in them. When telling stories using Asian characters for a western audience, do you cast based on the source material, on the race of the intended audience, or some other factor? The practice of casting characters of color to be played by caucasian actors has come to be called “whitewashing” which both includes and is distinct from “asian erasure.” And that’s what we’re going to talk about today with our friend Kevin Nguyen, editor at GQ.com who has written extensively about the issue.