george-takei.jpg

Actor George Takei (aka “the guy who played Sulu from Star Trek”) has spoken critically of Hollywood’s penchant for taking Asian film, manga and anime and recasting everyone with white actors, citing the upcoming and thoroughly purified Akira as a particularly egregious example.

He was recently interviewed about the adaptation, which transposes Akira from Neo-Tokyo to “New Manhattan,” features a cast of handsome white men in place of the 2D yellow dwarves of the original, and according to supposed leaks takes radical liberties with the script:

Were you surprised to find out Warner Bros. is courting white leading men for roles in the adaptation of Akira?

[...]

It’s an old Hollywood tradition that we’ve always been battling, not just Hollywood but Broadway too, if you remember Miss Saigon and the furor over that.

So, no, I really wasn’t surprised, but the audience has changed now, and I’m surprised Warner Bros. is not keeping up with the audience.

The manga and anime phenomenon is mostly white in this country. It originated in Japan, and, of course, it has a huge Asian fan following.

But it’s the multi-ethnic Americans who are fans of Akira and manga. The idea of buying the rights to do that and in fact change it seems rather pointless.

If they’re going to do that, why don’t they do something original, because what they do is offend Asians, number 1; number 2, they offend the fans.

The same thing happened with M. Night Shyamalan. He cast his project [The Last Airbender] with non-Asians and it’s an Asian story, and the film flopped.

I should think that they would learn from that, but I guess big studios go by rote, and the tradition in Hollywood has always been to buy a project, change it completely and flop with it.

I think it’s pointless, so I thought I would save Warner Bros. a bit of failure by warning them of what will most likely happen if they continue in that vein.

What would you ideally like to see happen with the Akira adaptation?

Well, ideally, they should do it properly and get Asian-American actors cast in those roles.

In the adaptation they would of course be speaking in English and understandable to a popular American audience. That’s the whole point. They bought a project that is popular and enormously loved by its fans, and if they want the fan following to support the film, that’s the way you do it.

Of course, from the perspective of actual Asians (most of whom hate each other) rather than the happily undifferentiated “Asian” Americans, the prospect of seeing a bunch of Chinese and Korean actors play faux-Japanese in a Hollywood production may be even less appealing than seeing a bunch of big-name Caucasian actors in any case…


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    259 Comments
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    Comment by Anonymous
    00:10 23/04/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Hollywood shouldn't even make movies based on games or anime. It doesn't matter if the cast is white or Asian, it's going to suck either way.

    Avatar of cheese_cake
    Comment by cheese_cake
    00:56 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    where's the independent film industry when u need them....

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:49 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    The independents end up getting ignored by Hollywood. Just look up the movie Ink and you'll see.

    Avatar of cheese_cake
    Comment by cheese_cake
    02:20 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    i meant it would be bettre if independent film makers were doing it. & we'll ignore hollywood ^ ^

    Avatar of Elcachetondelpuro
    Comment by Elcachetondelpuro

    What horrifies me is that if George Takei stands for anime, people will think (AGAIN) that anime is GAY; liberache scale GAY...

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:47 16/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I hated that George took away a straight role from a straight person. They should have cast Sulu better and gotten someone that didn't predominately suck cock.

    George should only be allowed to play gay roles. See what I did there...

    Idiots...

    Avatar of Adiroth
    Comment by Adiroth
    01:23 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    You miserable little dipshit. This guy is practically speaking for anime fans like you & you go on a snide homophobe remark.

    Trolls are supposed to be funny. You fail in so many ways it's even sad.

    Avatar of Elcachetondelpuro
    Comment by Elcachetondelpuro

    Sand in your anus?

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:14 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    It's because they didn't do it right, not that movie base on game or anime will be suck.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:24 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    what blows ass is the warped generic impotent scripts devout of any engaging thought from title to credits
    if they get that right they can cast whoever they want

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:46 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    He's missing the point entirely. Akira had a grungy, dirty, and gritty feel to it. Almost no one in that movie was handsome or pretty. They're going to make a post apocalyptic world look pretty.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:56 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    American pigs

    Avatar of Eleriel
    Comment by Eleriel
    01:15 23/04/2011 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    the biggest problem I see is that when the "purified" (nice touch, that) movie inevitably flops, the financial backers don't see it as a failure by the producers or director,

    but rather as "proof" that you can't turn anime and manga into a successful movie.

    same thing thing that's basically happening to game-into-movies... all/most of the movies based on games have sucked, and so now it's accepted as gospel that games can not be turned into movies.

    Avatar of alex251
    Comment by alex251
    00:19 23/04/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    "He cast his project [The Last Airbender] with non-Asians and it’s an Asian story, and the film flopped."

    I thought it flopped because it was bad

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:23 23/04/2011 # ! Good (+0.7)

    It flopped because not a single one of the actors have seen the actual series. You just can't capture it in film if you don't know what you're doing.

    Avatar of Shizu's Waki Obsessor: MaidNiac
    00:35 23/04/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    Well, of course. Take a bright surrounding cartoon series with cheerful characters and good looking actions and give it to some idiot director who's career only hangs on a failed thriller movies with monotonous lines and casts of people who hardly can even act; what's worse can it be other than ended up turning into a trainwreck?

    Avatar of The REAL Lamberto
    Comment by The REAL Lamberto
    05:30 23/04/2011 # ! Good (+0.7)

    I'm not gonna spend my money on some poorass Hollywood-made anime adaptation films anymore.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:23 23/04/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    They'd probably just cast a bunch of actors with what they stereotypically think asians should look like. *cough*Lucy Liu *cough*mirrors edge

    Avatar of Megidola
    Comment by Megidola
    00:38 23/04/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    What a twist!

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:22 23/04/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    i agree, how hard is it to follow manga. the story panels are right there, they dont have to do anything but follow it - for god sakes its already drawn and and the script is done.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:55 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    fuck america

    Avatar of HouseLife
    Comment by HouseLife
    10:20 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    CANADAAAAAA!!!!

    Avatar of erochichi
    Comment by erochichi
    10:26 24/04/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    American film makers have had no new ideas for 20 or more years. So they steal. Too bad they don`t know what they are stealing, and don`t get a single thing right.

    Avatar of Yoshii-kun
    Comment by Yoshii-kun
    01:54 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Sounds like Hollywood alright :3

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:55 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I hope 'wood sinks with the rest of Cali. (Yes, I live in America, just around the Eastern part of the country.

    Avatar of Myballz
    Comment by Myballz
    07:28 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    The people who created Avatar:The Last Airbender were Non-Asian.Sure they used a Korean Animation Company to produce the series. I do agree that they should of cast a few Asian actors into the movie for some of the roles.

    As for Dragonball movie technically they used Chinese mythology mix with Japanese sure they had Yun-Fat Chow,Eriko Tamura,Jamie Chung in the movie but that didn't save the movie.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:26 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Goku should be mexican

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:28 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    blame stephen chow, he should make it a comedy

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:46 26/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Goku is too dumb to be asian, though. Clearly must be played by an American. Texan, even.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:51 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Nah, WAHT A TWEEST

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:59 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    No, Goku is asian. Z was a spin off.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:22 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    That's one thing the producers of Dragonball: Evolution were blamed - not casting Asian actors...even though Goku is not Japanese (he's an alien, LOL) ...but the story did suck and the movie flopped (because the writers did not do their homework)

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:54 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Didn't it seem like they split the elements into races? Like the firebenders are Indians, waterbenders Caucasian, Earthbenders Chinese, and Airbender some sort of mixed thing

    Avatar of TFish
    Comment by TFish
    06:42 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I'm going to have to disagree with you on that Anon. I think the fire nation seemed far more Chinese in style than Japanese. I don't disagree with the earth kingdom seeming Chinese as well though.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:27 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    caucasians are only good at bending one thing, their sex.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:19 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    "I haven't seen the movie so I can't speak for it, but in the cartoon series the pattern seems to be:
    Fire Nation - Japan
    Earth kingdom - China
    Water Tribe - Inuits (eskimos)
    Air Nomads - Tibetan monks"

    This person speak the Truth.

    Avatar of Myballz
    Comment by Myballz
    07:30 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Swamp water benders-American rednecks?

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:06 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    @alidan

    Or make it three movies, like Peter Jackson did with LotR.

    About the only big cut that I can think of that he made was Tom Bombadil, and that's because he didn't know how he could make him work with the rest of the movies, and that's a reasonable enough argument for a cut.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:06 20/10/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    firenation's building look like thailand
    while airbender clothes somehow resemble Himalayan monk
    Waterbender looks like ainu tribe from japanese
    and earthbender is chinese

    Avatar of alidan
    Comment by alidan
    16:44 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Anonymous
    14:06

    it was going to be 3 movies.

    the whole seriese is about 30 hours long.

    all in all there is possibly 10 hours of cutable material in it that you can take out and still have a story, but the story would loose allot of its character.

    now if you mean 1 season into 3 movies. there is no logical way to split it 3 times, or even 2, because the places where you can split them, a logical end (a climatic fight/moment, what you could end a season on) doesn't happen till episode 15+ and it also doesn't leave enough room for a second movie, to have some build up, fight, than end, unless you are ok with spilling over into the next season.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:35 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Fire nation appeared more Middle Eastern to me.
    Because apparently that makes you evil, which unfortunately works in post 9/11 America.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:08 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I haven't seen the movie so I can't speak for it, but in the cartoon series the pattern seems to be:
    Fire Nation - Japan
    Earth kingdom - China
    Water Tribe - Inuits (eskimos)
    Air Nomads - Tibetan monks

    Avatar of alidan
    Comment by alidan
    06:06 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    i'm going to go out on a limb and defend the last airbender, not in that it was good, but in a NO BODY COULD HAVE DID IT RIGHT kind of way.

    you are taking 10 hours of show, which has very little you can cut out and still keep its charm, and cutting it down to 1/5 to 1/3 its length. there is no body who could have did that and made it work.

    and dbe failed because it took 30+ hours of show and cut it to 2 hours, something that is impossible in dragon ball (but feasibly doable with dbz)

    the only way these could have been done right is if it went to a mini series. that way you could have a 5-7 hour season, and make it seam like an event, allowing for a bigger budget. a series would fail, but mini series may win.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:55 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Americans like penis fest games and movies.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:11 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I know that I and plenty of others boycotted it because of the whitewashed cast. AND I heard it was bad. xD Not even like entertaining bad... just bad bad.

    Avatar of chad001
    Comment by chad001
    11:18 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    It flopped because M. Night Shyamalan directed it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:40 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    The casting was definitely the least of the TLA movies problems.

    Avatar of Wallace Hunter
    Comment by Wallace Hunter
    22:12 25/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Another symptom of the same disease.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:01 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Airbender is a freaking loooong story. You can't just take the whole series and pack it into 3hrs show. In fact the whole thing doesn't work in real life movie anyway. By the time the series reached end volume, the real life actor would have been a 30 year old with beer belly.

    Avatar of Pacpon
    Comment by Pacpon
    01:11 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I thought it flopped because the show was bad.

    Avatar of Yourtime
    Comment by Yourtime
    01:22 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    because of BOTH.. u.u

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:24 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah actually you're right about that, this story is american made by 2 american authors that infuse japanese animation artistry into it. In fact the creators are both graduates of the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design and even did stuff for well known animated sitcoms.

    BTW they are not asian themselves, what truely made this movie awful was messing up the script, changing the designs from the show, actors not looking like their characters, and the names were changed or mispronounced.

    But I do support George Takei's opinion 100% I had the same impression about the exact same thing. Though what I really found the most odd about the Akira series was it was never made into a anime series.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:43 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    There was still some pretty bad whitewashing going on, like turning the two dark-skinned Inuit kids white.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:12 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    This. Katara and Sokka being white was just ridiculous on so many levels.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:53 23/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    It flopped because they casted a bunch of lame ass children actors with only 1 or 2 films to their names or zero in the case of the lead character.








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