Aloha director apologises for 'causing disappointment' after casting Emma Stone as quarter-Chinese character

Cameron Crowe said he was "grateful for the dialogue" surrounding criticism the film had "whitewashed" Hawaii

Daisy Wyatt
Wednesday 03 June 2015 16:45
Emma Stone will star as Sally Bowles in Cabaret from 11 November
Emma Stone will star as Sally Bowles in Cabaret from 11 November

The director of the upcoming film Aloha has apologised after casting Emma Stone in the role of a quarter-Asian character.

Cameron Crowe has published a lengthy statement on his blog in acknowledgement of criticism he faced, explaining more about Stone’s character Captain Allison Ng, a part Hawaiian-Chinese woman.

“I have heard your words and disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice,” he said.

He added Captain Allison Ng had been written as a “super-proud” character who was quarter Hawaiian but frustrated that because of her half-Chinese father she did not look like she fitted in.

While he does not explain why Stone was chosen over an East Asian actress, he said he was “grateful for the dialogue” that surrounded the criticism of the casting decision.

“From the many voices, loud and small, I have learned something very inspiring. So many of us are hungry for stories with more racial diversity, more truth in representation and I am anxious to help tell those stories in the future,” he said.

He added he was proud of how many “Asian-American, Native-Hawaiian and Pacific-Islanders” were employed in the film both in front of the camera and behind it.

“We are extremely proud to present the island, the locals and the film community with many jobs for over four months,” he said.

“Emma Stone was chief among those who did tireless research, and if any part of her fine characterisation has caused consternation and controversy, I am the one to blame.”

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The film was accused of “whitewashing” Hawaii last month when online commenters and film critics debated whether Stone was an authentic choice for the mixed race character.

The Media Action Network for Asian Americans released a statement criticising the filmmakers, saying: “Caucasians only make up 30% of the population [of Hawaii], but from watching this film, you’d think they made up 99%.”

Aloha, which is due to be released in the US this week, co-stars Bradley Cooper as a disgraced military contractor and Rachel McAdams as his married ex-girlfriend.

It was revealed in last year’s Sony Hack that the film had a troubled post-production with reported reshoots and heavy editing required.

Aloha is due to be released in the UK on 4 September.

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