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"Asian guys in my show? Not gonna happen!"

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Atlantic Pacf., Mar 7, 2015.

  1. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    For the same reason that, as others have noted, the ethnicity of the actor doesn't match the ethnicity of the character on a regular basis no matter what the ethnicities in question are. Usually it makes no difference, like in your lame Galaxy Quest example. The character has no discernible specific ethnicity at all, unless you grab onto the surname and scream 'yellowface' about it there is no clue that anything out of the ordinary is occurring there because nothing out of the ordinary is occurring there.

    Actors act. Unless there is something absolutely demanding of a specific ethnicity in the role the best available actor is going to be cast. The obvious example of roles calling for specific ethnicity in the actors would be if you are casting a show with plot elements like 'problem faced by biracial couple' you would pretty much have to fill the roles of the biracial couple appropriately. This 'oh the character is named Lee, that demands an Asian actor or it is grotesque yellow face' theory is utter garbage.
     
  2. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    Should this role have been played by a disabled actor (of whom there are many) rather than by an abled bodied and non Irish Daniel Day Lewis?


    Link to video.


    Link to video.
     
  3. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    If yes, the natural extension is that casting any disabled actor with disabilities not exactly matching the disabilities of the character would be just as wrong as casting the able bodied actor.
     
  4. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    You'd be against a disabled actor pretending to be able-bodied, I take it?

    So, unless the actors playing James Bond can actually do those stunts themselves, then they shouldn't?

    (I'm confused now.)
     
  5. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    My fault for starting that post with if yes. I'm not opposed to any actor in any role. If a role involves the character being seated at all times and someone without useable legs gives the best audition they should get the part. If the best audition for the male lead is given by a woman with hidden breasts, then she should get the part. I did find it amusing when Tom Cruise was cast as Jack Reacher, but I am aware that my battle with my own heightism is far from won.
     
  6. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    That's a far cry from a part written for an Asian male being played in yellowface by a black male or a white male, right?
     
  7. NovaKart

    NovaKart شێری گەورە

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    It wasn't meant to be an exact comparison no.
     
  8. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Blackface has racist/minstrel show connotations. Do similar connotations exist for yellowface? If so, what's the historical context?
     
  9. Sommerswerd

    Sommerswerd I never yielded

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    As was the reference to Hiro Nakamura from the "Heroes" series. Hiro was freaking awesome:D He was far and away the most noble, virtuous, true-blue, old-school-heroic character in the show... And he was IMO the most powerful with the coolest superpower, even better than the powerstealing/copying cheese. Whenever I get asked the "what would be your superpower?" question, I immediately think of Hiro and say I would want his power, without question. He is that show as far as I am concerned. I almost choked when I saw him make crackerbox's "offensive" list :shake: .. Plus Hiro was a loverman... he wins the girl away from the blonde English dude... Complaining about Hiro?:confused:... Fail... It would be like me complaining about Jules in Pulp Fiction because he's a stereotypical "soul-brother" character.
    As Tim pointed out, everybody gets caricatured and stereotyped, including whites, Europeans, Jewish Americans, everybody. All stereotyping is harmful in the sense that at a minimum, it undermines individuality and our ability to define ourselves... However, "less harmful" is the very heart of the matter, because while all stereotypes are harmful in some ways, there are some stereotypes that are trivial in the harm they cause, and some where the harm is offset or even outweighed by the benefits they bring. I am arguing that the "Asian nerd" stereotype is one such example.
     
  10. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    I don't know, it means that asian dudes get laid far less. I mean, I'm assuming.
     
  11. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    There is a limit to the idea of such colour-blind 'meritocracy', though. Technically, most plots don't depend on ethnicity to drive them, but it does feel wrong and get a little upsetting when stories that originally feature a different ethnicity very heavily get continually 'whitewashed' - stuff like The Last Airbender or the upcoming Ghost in the Shell live-action adaptation.

    Some people argue that such deviations from the original don't take away from the plot, or maybe even from the characters. But then you're left to wonder why they even made that choice to begin with, when there's no lack of talent amongst the other ethnicity. The only answer seems to be that the producers are playing to what they think the market wants, and that does have an uncomfortable link to some kind of residual, deep-seated prejudice in society.
     
  12. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Money talks - big name actors will be preferred to no names, generally speaking, and budget permitting. Given that Hollywood seems to be dominated by white people (and I believe there are studies that back this up).. it makes sense that an industry driven by first and foremost profits, will go with more white actors than not. If the market wanted something else, they would give us that instead.
     
  13. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    This is the argument made against yellowface depictions of Asians, warpus. It's what scholars, media critics, journalists, and Asian-Americans have said since the practice began.

    Blackface is offensive. It presumes that there isn't an African-American actor available to fulfill the role. It's repugnant to consider using blackface, and I cannot fathom how Robert Downey Jr. got away with it with Tropic Thunder. Billy Crystal during the late eights or early nineties also did a aging Africa-American character in blackface.

    Can anyone excuse blackface today when there are any number of actors to play a role written for an African-American?

    So why would yellowface be needed today? Why would it be permissable? Why would we allow the practice to continue?

    After the long standing controversy of David Carradine playing yellowface in Kung Fu, in the reboot of it later, and to ludicrously do it again with the disgustingly disrespectful name of Poon Dong, why would he do it again? Because he's getting away with it. Hollwood condones it even though it's normally considered a reprehensible practice of minstrel shows.

    Historically, the earliest depiction of yellowface, that I'm aware of, was Charlie Chan in the 1920's. They cast Asian actors initially, but ultimately went with a white actor named Warner Oland, then later Sidney Toler. This despite his son being played by the know well known Keye Luke who was Chinese-American (he died in 1991).
     
  14. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    Jim Carrey at one point was paid twenty million for doing a movie with a total budget of thirty-eight million. The movie was crap. The script was crap. Every other actor in the movie was crap. The thing was shot with crappy equipment operated by second rate crews. At eighteen million everything else that went into the picture was overpriced. The movie made a fortune for all involved, because it was trailered, billed, and distributed as "Jim Carrey in..."

    There is a vicious cycle at play here, and it isn't right...but the fact that breaking it would cost a fortune is going to keep anyone from breaking it in the near future. Here it is...tell me a name of an Asian American actor that will turn eighteen million worth of crap into a giant money maker of a picture. Failing that tell me a name that can be run in one of the top three billing slots that will add ten million in box office just on name recognition...because that's what those three slots are for. How about a name that we can put on the poster that's worth a million in box office. Actually, skip that, because I can name a couple myself...but there aren't enough to cast a picture.

    I'm not asking about talent. I'm asking for the name recognition that brings in the revenue that pays for the production, and at the moment that is pretty hard to come by. Yes, it isn't the least bit fair, because yes, the only way to get name recognition is to have your name put out there in front to be recognized. As I said, vicious cycle...but it isn't a cycle constructed to 'keep the Asians down'. It's just the cycle of making money rather than dumping millions into a production that does not sell.
     
  15. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    Well Chow Young Fat has been in some real stinkers and still made a fortune in the international market as well as domestically in the USA. So did Jet Li. So did Jackie Chan.
     
  16. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    Jet Li carried some pictures in his day and so did Jackie Chan...I don't recognize Chow Young Fat, but I'll take your word for it.

    So, fast forward to next week. You won the lottery and have 75 mil to invest in a picture. We have a script...typical buddy cop picture with some good funny lines, and characters we can throw names on based on who we cast. Most roles are even unisex, so for example if we can get a solid female as the somewhat ornery lieutenant fine, or we can get a male.

    So the two lead roles each have around fifty percent of the screen time, there is not a single scene projected as a possible trailer that doesn't have both of them in it, and marketing calls for saying both their names every single time the name of the picture is mentioned in an ad.

    Wanna bet your seventy five mil on Chow Young Fat's loyal following? I think we'd have better results using it as a breakthrough vehicle to move Daniel Dae Kim from small screen to large, if he's interested. We could shoot one of the trailer scenes in a location with some palm trees and everyone who sees it will say "hey, the guy from Lost and Hawaii Five-Oh and maybe, just maybe, we get our money back at the end of the day.

    But a whole cast of Asian American actors? That's where lottery winners go broke.
     
  17. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    Jules. Ezekiel 25:17

    NSFW. And not an Asian guy, either.
    Spoiler :
     
  18. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Blackface is for the most part offensive due to the historical context of minstrel shows.

    It's not offensive because you're taking a job away from a black actor/actress.
     
  19. NetGear

    NetGear King

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    thats kind of an odd argument, since Jim Carrey himself wasn't born famous. He shouldn't have gotten that kind of name recognition in the first place. Everyone starts from obscurity. So why can't an asian actor be given a chance to rise just because he's not famous yet?
     
  20. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    There is a difference between saying that everybody is stereotyped and that everybody is constrained by stereotypes: the former is true, the latter is not. It's difficult to think of stereotypes of white Americans that constrain them in any way outside of a few specific contexts, and in which there exist plentiful well-known precedents for breaking stereotype. On the other hand, stereotypes of Asian-Americans as effeminate, unassertive and unimaginative seem to constrain them in a much wider variety of contexts.

    For example, what jobs are white people stereotypically incapable of doing? Rapper and basketball player, those are pretty much it, and in both cases there is plenty of precedent for breaking stereotype. What jobs are Asian people stereotypically incapable of doing? Non-classical musician, non-gymnast athlete, artist, writer, journalist, craftsman, comedian, artist, politician, corporate executive, academic outside of the hard sciences... The list goes on. They've only pretty recently been able to add "professional criminal" to the list of stereotypically acceptable jobs, and that's something that most minorities get by default whether they like it or not. So in all these fields, Asians are going to be actively fighting uphill against stereotype, which simply isn't something that most people are going to experience, or at least not on the basis of their race or ethnicity.

    Yes and no. It's a bit trickier, because while blackface performance were for the most part overtly mocking of black people, "yellowface" performances were often supposed to be straight depictions of stereotypical Asian characters. A blackface character was usually supposed to be recognised as a white performer in makeup, while for a yellowface character, the audience was supposed to suspend their awareness of the white performer and simply accept that the character is Asian. It's similar to "redface", the portrayal of Native Americans by non-Native actors, stereotypical but not necessarily overtly mocking.

    None of that amounts to yellowface, though. It just seems to be poorly-thought out writing and casting. Whatever exactly the character's ethnicity is supposed to be, it's wholly incidental.
     

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