Thoughts on Usage of Non-Asian actors in Asian TV Series and Movies in America
I remembered how rare it was to watch american television as a child and even to this day to see an asian actor or actress having a main role or a supporting role. It was like christmas whenever you saw one on a show even if it was only for one episode. However, I was not bothered by it too because this is America, and I guessed people enjoyed seeing caucasians, african americans, and hispanics on television more than asians. That was the norm and is still is to this day.
However, nowadays you see a little bit more asian faces in series such as Lane in Gilmore Girls, Magnus in The Mortal Instruments, and Joan Watson in Elementary. That really excites me and makes me proud to see that asian actors/actresses are getting more spotlight finally. However, that is not the main point of this post.
I've been noticing several films in recent and past couple of years that though the movie is about China, Japan, Korea, or another Asia country the main leads are always non-asian. Some good examples are The Great Wall and The Forest.
One movie is about the Great Wall of China during the 11th century. I know that its purely fictional and only the base of the movie is about the Great Wall but wouldn't it better to have asian actors as the main leads even though it's a collaborative movie between U.S. and China? Call me old fashioned or traditionalist...whichever you want but would americans liked it if the main lead for a movie about the civil war was asian despite it possibly being fictional? Many would argue that it's not a documentary so it doesn't have to be accurate but I have heard some asian friends get pissed at the fact that there are not enough asian lead actors in the states. It's just offensive and pisses people off regardless if it's a fictional piece or not.
The Forest was a movie that I really wanted to see because it was about the Aokigahara Forest in Japan aka the suicide forest. I was really excited because there was been no movie or series made revolving around the forest. However, when I found out that that most of the actors were asian- most importantly the leads were all caucasian. I grew offended and I am not even Japanese. This is supposed to be a film about the tragic forest where countless numbers of people went to commit suicide. All the supporting actors were Japanese though- I give them that much. But for the main leads to not even be Japanese...that's a bit ridiculous. It doesn't give off the heartbreaking and emotional impact of the forest as I wished for when I saw the trailer. It was just another horror film which is a twist in the wrong direction.
I mean you can make a movie about anything but to make a movie about Aokigahara Forest and then turn it into a horror film to try to gain popularity. That's mockery and insulting to the forest and the dead that have died there. That was a very huge mistake.
I just feel that regardless if the movie is fictional or not. As long as the movie is about a historical period or place or whatever, it should have natives from those countries as the lead actors because the emotional impact will be much greater.