“Accepting Emma Stone as an Asian-American in Aloha requires a certain suspension of disbelief and no small amount of magical thinking.”
The director of new Hollywood rom-com Aloha has apologised for casting “the wonderful Emma Stone” as a part-Chinese character following allegations the film “whitewashed” Hawaii with its all Caucasian cast.
“I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice,” Cameron Crowe said on his website The Uncool.
He then goes on to defend the choice.
“As far back as 2007, Captain Allison Ng (Stone’s character) was written to be a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one. A half-Chinese father was meant to show the surprising mix of cultures often prevalent in Hawaii. Extremely proud of her unlikely heritage, she feels personally compelled to over-explain every chance she gets. The character was based on a real-life, red-headed local who did just that.”
The talented director said he was grateful for the dialogue surround the casting of the movie, which is out in Australian cinemas today and has not received the best reviews.
“And from the many voices, loud and small, I have learned something very inspiring,” he said.
“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.”
Mamamia previously reported:
A movie with a star-studded roll call of this calibre is usually a guaranteed success.
But writer and director Cameron Crowe – whose hit movies include Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous – has come under fire for “whitewashing” Hawaii in his new movie Aloha.
Advocacy group Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) says the white cast is completely unrepresentative of the rich cultural diversity of the islands.
“Caucasians only make up 30 percent of the population (of Hawaii), but from watching this film, you’d think they made up 99 percent,” MANAA co-founder Guy Aoki said in a statement.
Based on those statistics, the chance of the three main characters (played by Cooper, Stone and McAdams) all being white is about three per cent. (Props to Google for re-teaching me how to work out the probability of independent events. And thanks for nothing, high school maths.)
Mr Aoki says Asians play only non-speaking background characters in the film.
“It’s an insult to the diverse culture and fabric of Hawaii,” he said.