When I first heard that Emma Stone was playing a hapa (a mixed person of partial Asian ancestry) in the upcoming film “Aloha,” I couldn’t really compute the information.
Which is weird because I’m half-Chinese and we’re supposed to be good at computing things, right?
“Emma Stone is playing a hapa?” my little half-Asian brain thought as I stared off into the distance. “But ... Emma Stone looks nothing like me, or any of the other hapas I know. She doesn’t even look … Asian.”
Let’s be real, a teriyaki burger at the very inauthentic P.F. Chang's looks more hapa than Emma Stone.
For those of you unaware, Emma Stone is starring alongside Bradley Cooper in Cameron Crowe’s upcoming film “Aloha” as a half-Swedish, quarter-Hawaiian and quarter-Chinese woman named Allison Ng.
Here’s the trailer:
I’m pretty sure I know at least one Allison Ng, and let me tell you, even if I don’t know an Allison Ng, Emma Stone does not look even remotely like an Allison Ng. Why couldn’t the producers of Aloha cast, um I don’t know, an actress who’s actually of Asian descent to play Allison Ng?
Emma Stone’s casting in Aloha is just another very disappointing instance of Hollywood casting white actors and actresses in Asian roles. Hollywood has this sick dual preoccupation with pandering to Asian markets by including Asian characters in their films (Dr. Helen Cho in Avenger’s "Age of Ultron"), and simultaneously filling Asian roles with Caucasian actors.
As Vulture writes:
“What’s more common lately is simply to readapt stories about Asians and replace them with white people: The blackjack card-counting film '21' made its main characters white even though it was based on Asian-American students; Tilda Swinton is reportedly in talks to play a Tibetan mystic for Doctor Strange; and Scarlett Johansson will star in an adaptation of a Japanese comic, Ghost in a Shell.”
I would have looked forward to seeing a Asian-American female lead in a major Hollywood film that wasn’t set in Ancient China. The only major motion picture I can recall that featured an Asian-American woman in a leading role was Charlie’s Angels One and Two. While Lucy Liu may be a boss (and the soundtrack for Charlie’s Angels One was amazing) -- I’d like to see more representation of half my racial identity on screen.
It is a reality though, a disturbing one at that. All I have to say is: “Get your sh-- together, Hollywood.”