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Akira Given The Bleach Treatment - Whitewashing in Hollywood
Faliat at 8:08PM, April 6, 2011
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This is something that has been bothering me non-stop since The Last Airbender. And I have already said somewhere else on here that if my comics EVER became live action movies Hollywood would screw it up from the start for the same reasons.

article on Racebending.com
Cracked.com article

Granted, I'm from a country so white it blinds kosmonauts and didn't speak to a black person face to face until I was 18 due to the nigh homogenous upbringing I had. I also watched Akira once at 15 and was so inexplicably scared by it I shuddered every time I saw the poster for a good two years and still haven't watched it again. But those facts are not the point of why I've made this thread.

Whenever I complain about it I keep getting told that it's no big deal.
But this week I also watched “I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry”. And seeing Rob Schneider in that role or Eddie Murphy in Norbit really pisses me off. I keep getting flashbacks to Mickey Rooney screenshots in Tiffanys.

When was that movie made? 1961, ladies and gentlemen. When my dad was a baby. And we're still dressing actors up in “yellowface” today? How can there NOT be something wrong with that?

Besides “The Green Hornet” and (to a lesser extent) “Gran Torino” how many notable movies in the past ten years have had genuine Asian American actors in main roles based in America that are relative unknowns?

I'd like to know of a few more if there are as well a hear other people's opinions on here.

Call that jumped up metal rod a knife?
Watch mine go straight through a kevlar table, and if it dunt do the same to a certain gaixan's skull in my immediate vicinity after, I GET A F*****G REFUND! BUKKO, AH?!

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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
WiffleBall at 9:57PM, April 6, 2011
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Now, I am not an unreasonable man. If a director is spending a multi-million dollar budget to produce an adaptation from a book/vidya game/whathaveyou, he has every right to switch things around.

But there are times where it gets nutty, and this is where. Akira is absolutely my favorite movie ever, and from just the cast list I am fairly certain they are going to fuck this project up. :|

Also you owe it to yourself to watch the original again dude. Tis mind blowing.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:49PM
Genejoke at 11:26PM, April 6, 2011
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Race aside the casting ides are fucking awful.

White washing… not sure I can add anything to that, yeah bad and wrong and not many actors I can think of that break the mold. The few that do often cement it more than anything as they rarely get lead roles.



Someone
Granted, I'm from a country so white it blinds kosmonauts and didn't speak to a black person face to face until I was 18 due to the nigh homogenous upbringing I had.

While not that bad, where I live is pretty damn white. As a kid there was no ethnic diversity at all.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:34PM
mlai at 9:26PM, April 8, 2011
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The agewashing is actually worse than the whitewashing.

I mean, okay, move it to Manhattan, whatev. But wtf is with that list of casting considerations? They're all 30-40! Um, Hollywood… Akira is a manga/movie about teenagers?

It's like casting a 30 year old to star in Huckleberry Finn.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:07PM
blindsk at 10:33PM, April 8, 2011
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Since this particular film segued me into other anime, it pains me to see this tampered with at all.

To be honest, I strongly feel that any anime shouldn't be treated to a live-action adaption. The style we see in the originals often portray exaggerated emotions that you can't really capture in a live setting.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:25AM
Genejoke at 4:56AM, April 9, 2011
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mlai
The agewashing is actually worse than the whitewashing.

I mean, okay, move it to Manhattan, whatev. But wtf is with that list of casting considerations? They're all 30-40! Um, Hollywood… Akira is a manga/movie about teenagers?

It's like casting a 30 year old to star in Huckleberry Finn.

THIS.

Moving the story to another setting is one thing, it doesn't have a massive impact on the basic story and isn't (likely) so much down to race. This doesn't mean characters can't be of asian descent anyway. If it was set in tokyo with white actors, then yeah that's a problem. That said setting it in tokyo with unknowns all in japanese and subtitled… well hollywood wouldn't make that. well mel gibson might :)

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:33PM
Gunwallace at 12:56PM, April 9, 2011
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Are the film makers really going to destroy Manhattan twice in this movie? Isn't there an ick factor involved in that?

The change of setting gives them a reason to change the race of the actors, and adult actors playing teenagers is a standard in Hollywood for practical reasons (you just can't work kids as hard, seriously, there are rules against overworking under18s, but adults you can work until they drop).

But when you boil it down the story isn't that great without thew wow-factor of the animation to keep you going. It'll be a SFX extravaganza, but so is everything these days … it'll be hard to keep the audience following the story and still be wowed. Unless …

… they rewrite the thing to make it easier for their intended target audience to follow it. Let's face it, anyone who has seen the original isn't really the target crowd. This remake is for all those people who hate animated films and subtitles, and accents, and all that ‘weird shit’ that I'm guessing all of us like. The aim of this movie (like every mainstream blockbuster) is to capture a wide audience, get people into the theaters on opening weekend, and make the studio lots of money.

They are taking a cult movie and making it accessible to a wider audience to make bundles of money. All of the measures mentioned (the change of scene, the whitewashing, etc) are the obvious way to do this, and I'm sure the story will be dumbed down and explained to camera in one-syllable words to help with that.
David ‘Gunwallace’ Tulloch, www.virtuallycomics.com
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:40PM
Hawk at 2:40PM, April 9, 2011
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Gunwallace
The change of setting gives them a reason to change the race of the actors, and adult actors playing teenagers is a standard in Hollywood for practical reasons (you just can't work kids as hard, seriously, there are rules against overworking under18s, but adults you can work until they drop).

I'm inclined to agree with you. This isn't like the Airbender movie or casting a Chinese woman in a Japanese Geisha role. They're retelling the story in New York, so why would everyone stay Japanese? Somebody at the top already said “Butcher Akira,” so we should all be grateful it isn't a movie about a bionic suit starring Sam Worthington.

Just like the Airbender, it isn't the casting that has sealed this movie's fate, it the countless other bad ideas that make casting seem like an afterthought. Sure, maybe I'm jumping to conclusions on the quality of the finished movie, but I feel like I've seen enough of the Hollywood reboot machine to make this kind of guess.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:47PM
mlai at 9:24AM, April 13, 2011
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Forget race. I'm Asian and I couldn't give a crap if they made it all white kids (except for the titular Akira, ofc, because that little kid's weird and ALIEN so therefore he must be Asian!) with 12-Apostles names.

Like Genejoke said, the race/setting change really doesn't affect the superficial plot. The plot of Akira isn't like Airbender where ethnicity actually matters; any metropolitan dystopia would do.

But the entire plot of Akira is woven around the fact that the characters are volatile, immature, headstrong teens! In high school (well, dropouts)! I cannot fathom how 30-yr-old characters can star in a movie that still calls itself Akira. It affects even the basic plot.

It's not as if Hollywood never made a movie starring teenagers before. Wow what a concept, an action/sci-fi movie with teenage actors/actresses. Naw, nobody wants to watch that, least of all teenage viewers. That'd flop for sure.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:07PM
ozoneocean at 10:34AM, April 13, 2011
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I completely agree with you about the age thing in Akira; that is essential to the story and the entire concept.
But this:
mlai
It's not as if Hollywood never made a movie starring teenagers before. Wow what a concept, an action/sci-fi movie with teenage actors/actresses. Naw, nobody wants to watch that, least of all teenage viewers. That'd flop for sure.
That isn't a good generic component of a film- of any film.
Teenage actors are almost always bellow par, THAT is why they almost always get older actors to play younger. Teenage protagonists in scifi films etc also suck. The only people who really love to see teenage protagonists in all films are PRE-teens- atleast for Western audiences.
We only really like kids in kid focused stories like Goonies, Stand By Me, Karate Kid. etc.

Well, that's my perspective anyway.

-Throw a teen in a decent SciFi or action story- you just wasted a movie…Hey, that was probably their thinking on Akira! ^_^
That one should just stay an anime.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:38PM
mlai at 9:47PM, April 13, 2011
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I have to disagree. IMO teenage actors are just as capable as adult actors, and they're not that hard to find. In sci-fi/fantasy flicks, that kid in Terminator 2, and the Harry Potter films actors/actresses come to mind. Oh hell, I even liked that dark-haired kid in Eragon. I wish he killed that blonde kid and became the lead, that'd rock.

You can find even more examples in drama/comedy flicks. TV teenage actors are also a gold mine (relatively speaking) for auditioning.

As for teenage roles sucking irrespective of the actors… that's only because that's the dice Hollywood often casts to teenagers. If a teen is thrown into a film just to meet the child quota, then yeah ofc it's gonna suck. But if it's a film about teens, then it stands just as much of a chance being good.

And yes, Akira is a kid-focused story. Ofc I don't expect Hollywood to understand that, ever.

Well, it took The Warriors (1979) a decade or two to become understood. I guess it would be the same for Akira. Ofc the movie would suck so it would never have that chance.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:07PM
bravo1102 at 1:37AM, April 14, 2011
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No great teenage actors? Every bloody year we get some tween acting phenomenon shoved down our throat. Akira requires a teen ensemble cast. That's so hard to do? Nothing could be farther from the truth.

There's a dozen of those movies done every year and they feature a lot of great teen actors who when they get out of their teens can get huge or completely fizzle.

The casting directors just have to stay away from names and go unknown.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:34AM
ozoneocean at 6:22AM, April 14, 2011
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mlai
I have to disagree. IMO teenage actors are just as capable as adult actors, and they're not that hard to find.
Yeah, in Bizarro world.
bravo1102
No great teenage actors?
Exactly.
Even most “good” teen actors are like Jar Jar Binks when added to a film.

But hey, maybe you guys are the kinds of people that actually like Jar Jar? :)
To each their own.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:38PM
bravo1102 at 7:23AM, April 14, 2011
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ozoneocean
But hey, maybe you guys are the kinds of people that actually like Jar Jar?
To each their own.

No far worse, I'm a former actor. ;) Seen plenty of teens who can act circles around most self-absorbed twenty-somethings.

Acting is all about insightful observation and teens can do that as well as any adult.

And considering that in my experience the people who most voicferiously hated Jar Jar were those who acted most like him? Comic relief is what it is. I would have preferred Eddie “Rochester” Anderson myself.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:34AM
ozoneocean at 8:15AM, April 14, 2011
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Bravo1102: “Me-sar heap big-big jar-jar fan!”

Mm-hm ;)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:38PM
ayesinback at 9:46AM, April 14, 2011
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ozoneocean
“Me-sar heap big-big jar-jar fan!”

I'm hearing a new Quackcast accent.

if I send in a script, I'll be requesting your best Jar Jar, Oz. kindly practice up.



re teen actors, I cannot think of one who possesses the smoothness of range that a good adult actor does. Many are very good with maybe three or four emotions, but they don't blend the emotions well. Many times all that is required is some nice generic “reaction guy!”, “pouter”, “mr insecurity”, “wise-ass” — lots of cardboard writing out there. But nuance seems to be more a product of maturation.
under new management
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:14AM
blindsk at 11:06AM, April 14, 2011
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No good teenage actors? Darn, I guess I'm alone here in thinking Labeouf has shown some good potential. :(
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:25AM
ayesinback at 11:21AM, April 14, 2011
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blindsk
No good teenage actors? Darn, I guess I'm alone here in thinking Labeouf has shown some good potential. :(
Born: Shia Saide LaBeouf
June 11, 1986 in Los Angeles, California, USA

not a teenager
under new management
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:14AM
isukun at 12:52PM, April 14, 2011
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From my general experience with casting and working with actors, I'd have to agree with Ozone on this one. It's harder to work with kids and get what you want, even with something as simple as voice acting. Acting is like any other craft, you get better with more experience and while child actors tend to start early, they still aren't going to have the depth of experience an adult does.

Plus child labor laws and schedule conflicts make it even harder for directors and producers to work around an underage cast. Even homeschooled kids need to study and shooting schedules can be quite grueling. The actors who are most ideal for portraying teen characters, tend to be in college and can't work on a major film and attend school at the same time. A perfect example is Emma Watson, who had to put her education on hold to uphold her obligation to the Harry Potter films. Most kids, however, aren't locked in eight picture movie deals, though, so school tends to take priority.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
blindsk at 2:11PM, April 14, 2011
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ayesinback
Born: Shia Saide LaBeouf
June 11, 1986 in Los Angeles, California, USA

not a teenager

True.

But my memories of him are from a show that aired a while back called Even Steven.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:25AM
Hawk at 3:08PM, April 14, 2011
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blindsk
No good teenage actors? Darn, I guess I'm alone here in thinking Labeouf has shown some good potential. :(

While the quality of Labeouf's acting could certainly be debated, I think one thing seriously standing in his way right now is the amount of movies he's been in over the last handful of years. We're sort of seeing a “Labeouf fatigue”. A lot of people are tired of seeing him, whether they like him or not.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:47PM
bravo1102 at 11:29PM, April 14, 2011
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To me Jar Jar Binks was a Steppin Fetchit stereotype sidekick from old 1930s-40s movies. But that shameless stereotypical casting thing brought up a thought.

Will Hollywood add a comic relief and easily marketable character to the story? Will there be the wacky fat kid or obvious geek character? Will they add a love interest along with the fat kid?

Casting issues may be the least of our worries.

Hollywood could change the characters to fit their version of how things should be and the originals would disappear.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:34AM
mlai at 2:54AM, April 15, 2011
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The Akira character roles are already gone with the casting choices they have lined up. How the heck are handsome white 20-30 y/o males living in Manhattan (the setting of the movie) supposed to portray the roles of high-school-age delinquent youths living in the slums under the shadow of a megalopolis?

Are we supposed to believe that they're delinquent white yuppies living in Greenwich Village? In Upper West Side? Upper East? LMAO? Oh my, soooo gangsta.

I have no clue how they'll play out an Akira movie in Manhattan, when the characters are white adults and not black or hispanic teens.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:07PM
bravo1102 at 5:50AM, April 15, 2011
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mlai
Are we supposed to believe that they're delinquent white yuppies living in Greenwich Village? In Upper West Side? Upper East? LMAO? Oh my, soooo gangsta.


Deliquent Italians from Crooklyn or Stagnant Island hanging out in Manhattan?

Your idea makes it sound like Friends with motorcycles and mutants.

I smell Twilight teen angst with psychokinetic mutants as opposed to vampires and werewolves. The title will be the only thing remaining from the Anime.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:34AM
Faliat at 8:50AM, April 17, 2011
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Well allegedly they're keeping Kaneda as a first or last name.

Is it just me, or would this have been better if it was more like what Harry Partridge predicted?

Call that jumped up metal rod a knife?
Watch mine go straight through a kevlar table, and if it dunt do the same to a certain gaixan's skull in my immediate vicinity after, I GET A F*****G REFUND! BUKKO, AH?!

- Rekkiy (NerveWire)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
RainbowAurora at 3:28AM, May 6, 2011
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Oh, God. I first heard about the whitewashing in Akira and all the other unbelievably stupid decisions made for the Hollywood version from the Cracked article linked in the first post of this thread. Then I heard about GEORGE TAKEI calling out Hollywood for this whitewashing garbage, and he became on of my heroes. :)

I don't know why they feel the need to ruin the movies like this. I mean, yes, sometimes it doesn't matter what race the characters are, but when something like Akira is such a defining moment for Japanese pop culture (and Dragon Ball, too), it helps to at least keep SOME of the elements that fans are most likely to identify with. Bleh to this movie.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:00PM
Genejoke at 2:43AM, May 9, 2011
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Keanu reeves as kaneda is the latest rumour.

so he looks japanese if you squint and have had twenty pints… and he looks youthful for mid forties right? So playing a teenage japanese kids makes sense right?

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:34PM
mlai at 3:48AM, May 16, 2011
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If Hollywood wants to make a movie about 30-40 years old white males in an upscale kind of town having telekinetic superpowers, rather than teenage gangbangers in a dystopian slum having telekinetic superpowers, I'm sure I can refer them to plenty of other Jpnese anime scripts which would be eminently more suitable and needing less butcher er I mean editing.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:07PM
isukun at 12:33AM, May 18, 2011
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Keanu reeves as kaneda is the latest rumour.
I thought he was already busy ruining Spike Spiegel.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
itsjustaar at 9:54PM, May 20, 2011
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Sigh.





And here I thought, y'know, Hollywood learned something from the DragonBall movie. Goku is not supposed to be a scrawny emo kid who doesn't know his powers, but a dunce who doesn't know his own strength and parades around like an idiot till Roshi shows him a thing or two. Or something to that effect. lol.

And then there's that King of Fighters movie, too.

Terry Bogard: HEY YOO. *tips hat* SEE-AH-AY, AY-JENT. ARE YOU OOOOKAAAAY? BOSTAH WULF!





I only liked the Mario movie and the Van Damme Street Fighter film. First was because it was so weird, and must've been written on an acid trip; and the second because it came so awfully close, but had this 60's Batman-like camp to it.

I ain't seeing this cr@p. Hollywood makes Warren T. Cat/Cat R. Waul slash erotica look like Times National Bestsellers.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM

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