Marvel Writer Defends 'Doctor Strange' "Whitewashing"

Marvel writer blames China for "whitewashing" Doctor Strange movie.

Several filmmakers have decided to cast white actors for non-white characters. Even though the publisher of Ghost in the Shell approved of Scarlett Johansson playing the lead role, there are several Asian-American fans and actors who condemned the casting. In fact, when it was revealed that producers experimented with CGI to change Johansson's ethnicity, it caused a major uproar in the Asian-American community. Related: Asian American Actresses Bash Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Role But, this is not the first time Hollywood has decided to cast white actors for non-white roles. In the movie Exodus, producers decided to use white actors to play Egyptians and gods, Emma Stone played an Asian character in the movie Aloha, and most recently, Tilda Swinton plays role of The Ancient One - a character who was a Tibetan man in the comics - in Doctor Strange.  Related: ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Boycott Petition Goes Viral The casting decision to choose Tilda Swinton to play The Ancient One has caused a ton of controversy. But, the co-writer of Doctor Strange, C. Robert Cargill, says the casting decision is a catch-22. Cargill argues that The Ancient One character is based on racist stereotypes and if producers decided to cast an Asian-American actor for the role, it would have been a bad idea. In fact, Cargill says "you are out of your damn fool mind and have no idea what the f*ck you’re talking about.” Cargill spoke to Double Toasted in the video below and here's what he had to say.
“The thing about the Ancient One is it is Marvel’s Kobayashi Maru. There is no other character in Marvel history that is such a cultural landmine, that is absolutely unwinnable. I’ve been reading a bunch of people talking about it and the really frustrating thing about it this week is that most of the people who have thoughts on it haven’t thought it all the way through and they go, ‘Why didn’t they just do this?’ And it’s like, I could tell you why. I could tell you why every single decision that involves the Ancient One is a bad one, and just like the Kobayashi Maru, it all comes down on which way you’re willing to lose.”
Cargill goes on to explain that due to China's occupation of Tibet, the movie would have likely been banned in China for being "political" if they kept The Ancient One as a Tibetan man. In fact, considering how China's media outlets recently called Zootopia American propaganda, Cargill is probably right. In addition, Chinese audiences spend millions upon millions of dollars on Marvel movies so it seems only natural that Marvel would like to protect their investment. In addition, Marvel's decision to cast a white actor for the role of The Ancient One was made prior to Cargill ever stepping on board. Related: ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Producers Used CGI To Make Scarlett Johansson Asian? Cargill also addressed the fans who suggested casting a Chinese actress:
“If we decide to go the other way and cater to China in particular and have him be in Tibet… if you think it’s a good idea to cast a Chinese actress as a Tibetan character, you are out of your damn fool mind and have no idea what the f*ck you’re talking about.”
It's important to point out that Tilda Swinton argued that the role of The Ancient One is not an Asian character, but we'll "just have to wait and see" what that really means. Either way it is a lose-lose situation but, Asian American actors and actresses are probably hurt the most. According to a New York Times report "Why Won't Hollywood Cast Asian American Actors", Keith Chow argued that Asian Americans are forced to play into stereotypes.
This one-two punch of white actors playing Asian characters showed how invisible Asian-Americans continue to be in Hollywood...In all these cases, the filmmakers fall back on the same tired arguments. Often, they insist that movies with minorities in lead roles are gambles.
It's worth pointing out that studies have shown that movies and TV shows with a diverse cast make more money, if Hollywood casts more non-white actors. However, when it comes to millions if not billions of dollars, Hollywood not willing to take that bet. Via New York Times/Uproxx

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