Many are looking forward to the big screen return of Cameron Crowe with the star-studded Aloha but, just days before release, the film has been met with allegations of “whitewashing” the people of Hawaii.
The Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) has blasted the Jerry Maguire director for delegating all the primary roles to white Hollywood actors – the cast including the likes of Bradley Cooper, Bill Murray, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams and Alec Baldwin.
“Caucasians only make up 30% of the population [of Hawaii], but from watching this film, you’d think they made up 99%,” says Guy Aoki, a member of MANAA in a press release.
“This comes in a long line of films - The Descendants, 50 First Dates, Blue Crush, Pearl Harbor - that uses Hawaii for its exotic backdrop but goes out of its way to exclude the very people who live there. It’s an insult to the diverse culture and fabric of Hawaii.”
Hollywood whitewashing controversies
Hollywood whitewashing controversies
1/11 Scarlett Johansson cast as Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell
Blonde, white US actress Scarlett Johansson was announced to be playing the clearly Japanese character Motoko Kusanagi in Hollywood's Ghost in the Shell remake, much to the dismay of Asian film fans
2/11 Tilda Swinton cast as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange
Marvel sparked outrage when Anglo-Scottish actress Tilda Swinton was cast as Tibetan mystic The Ancient One alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange
Zoe Saldana was criticised for 'blacking up' to play the considerably darker-skinned soul singer Nina Simone in Nina
4/11 Jake Gyllenhaal stars in Prince of Persia
The half Jewish, quarter Swedish actor was cast to play a Middle Eastern Prince in Disney's 2010 film
5/11 Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily in forthcoming film Pan
Mara was been cast in the role of American Indian Tiger Lily, sparking an online protest from angry film fans
6/11 Christian Bale plays Moses in Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings
Ridley Scott claimed he would never cast 'Mohammed so-and-so from such-and-such a country' in a lead role in his Biblical epic, and went on to cast an entirely white cast instead
7/11 Jim Caveziel plays Jesus in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ
Catholic star Mel Gibson chose to cast a Caucasian American actor in the role of Jesus for his controversial film
8/11 Micky Rooney plays a Japanese neighbour in Breakfast at Tiffany's
Who better to play Holly Golightly's Japanese neighbour IY Yunoishi than American actor Mick Rooney. At least Hollywood has come some way since 1961
9/11 Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez in Argo
Ben Affleck became the subject of a few editorials in Latin American newspapers for casting himself (an American with English, Irish, Scottish and Swiss ancestry) as a Mexican CIA operative
10/11 Jennifer Connelly plays Alicia Nash in A Beautiful Mind
Alicia Lopez-Harrison de Lardé was a naturalised US citizen from El Salvador, but was played by an actress of Jewish, Irish and Norwegian descent
11/11 Chinese actresses cast in Memoirs of a Geisha
What better way to alienate Japanese cinemagoers than to cast three Chinese actresses in the lead roles in a film about Japanese culture
Aoki goes on to claim that the biggest roles reserved for Asian-Pacific Islanders in the film are unnamed “tourists” and “guests”.
He added “How can you educate your audience to the ‘rich history’ of Hawaii by using mostly white people and excluding the majority of the people who live there and who helped build that history.”
Aloha already seems relatively doomed to fail. The film was originally scheduled for release in December last year but was then moved back, twice. If that wasn’t a bad sign then perhaps the hacked Sony emails from Amy Pascal were.
In one email she wrote the tinkered script was “way way worse” than the original, that various plot points make “no sense”, and that the “script is ridiculous”.
The New York Post claims critics have been banned from broadcasting their opinions until just hours before general release, while test audiences have reportedly thought it was awful.Reuse content