What’s the answer the Hollywood’s rampant whitewashing of Asian film roles?
Bring in John Cho.
The idea of casting John Cho in lead roles occupied by white men came from 25-year-old digital strategist William Yu, creating a website, Twitter account and the now viral hashtag, #StarringJohnCho.
Mr Yu offers a collection of movie posters that have been photoshopped the lead actor into John Cho. And yes, many improvements are made.
— #StarringJohnCho (@starringjohncho) May 8, 2016
“#StarringJohnCho is a social movement that literally shows you what it would look like if today’s Hollywood blockbusters cast an Asian-American actor – specifically, John Cho – as their leading man,” said the website.
John Cho is an American actor, best known for his comedy role in the Harold and Kumar films, and has also appeared in many critically acclaimed Asian films. Cho is not involved in the campaign and hasn’t yet responded to his somewhat involuntary inclusion.
One of the underlying triggers for the hashtag was the casting of Tilda Swinton in the upcoming flick Doctor Strange and Scarlett Johansson in DreamWorks’ manga adaptation Ghost in the Shell- despite both characters being Asian in their original comics.
— YOMYOMF (@yomyomf) May 9, 2016
The issue with whitewashing Asian roles is especially troubling as according to USC’s latest study on diversity in entertainment, in 2014 Asian people represented just 5.1 percent of speaking or named characters across film, television and digital series. The study also found that at least half of those projects featured no Asian characters at all.
Asian leading roles, specifically male roles, are still few and far between, and while 2015 saw some important steps being taken, such as the Filipino representation in last years wonderful show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (watch it, do it), the industry is still lagging painfully far behind.
We’d take John Cho as our leading man any day. (Hey…ladies and men!)