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Angeles
03-28-2008, 06:25 PM
http://www.bostonherald.com/track/inside_track/view.bg?articleid=1083357

I think this story relates well to the recent debate on the Long Duck Dong thread regarding Asian representation in Hollywood.

The movie "21" is based on the New York Times best-seller "Bringing Down the House", the true-life story about a group of MIT students that made a killing in Vegas by counting cards. Most of the students in the book are Asian American, but the studio has casted mostly white actors in the roles. The main protagonist, Jeff Ma, is played by the British actor, Jim Sturges.

Now many would defend the studio's casting decisions as being market-based and not necessarily racist, but is the lure of greater profits really a justifiable excuse? If the real-life people happen to be African American, would the studio even consider recasting with mostly white actors? Would the public outcry be greater?

"Bringing Down The House" was a best-seller in part because it was a TRUE STORY, and the fact that its protagonist is Asian did not hurt sales one bit. With the casting of Sturges, the truth of that story is marred.

bartleby
03-28-2008, 06:26 PM
Now many would defend the studio's casting decisions as being market-based and not necessarily racist, but is the lure of greater profits really a justifiable excuse?

Yes.

Bill Nolan
03-28-2008, 06:28 PM
The movie is as close to the real-life story it's based on as Law & Order episodes are.

Nick Spencer
03-28-2008, 06:30 PM
http://www.bostonherald.com/track/inside_track/view.bg?articleid=1083357

I think this story relates well to the recent debate on the Long Duck Dong thread regarding Asian representation in Hollywood.

The movie "21" is based on the New York Times best-seller "Bringing Down the House", the true-life story about a group of MIT students that made a killing in Vegas by counting cards. Most of the students in the book are Asian American, but the studio has casted mostly white actors in the roles. The main protagonist, Jeff Ma, is played by the British actor, Jim Sturges.

Now many would defend the studio's casting decisions as being market-based and not necessarily racist, but is the lure of greater profits really a justifiable excuse? If the real-life people happen to be African American, would the studio even consider recasting with mostly white actors? Would the public outcry be greater?

"Bringing Down The House" was a best-seller in part because it was a TRUE STORY, and the fact that its protagonist is Asian did not hurt sales one bit. With the casting of Sturges, the truth of that story is marred.

Yeah, I kinda think this is bullshit, too. I don't see how having an Asian lead would've changed the box office equation that much-- not like the star now is some kind of big draw or anything.

bartleby
03-28-2008, 06:32 PM
Yeah, I kinda think this is bullshit, too. I don't see how having an Asian lead would've changed the box office equation that much-- not like the star now is some kind of big draw or anything.

Unless there's martial arts involved, white people are more likely to go see a movie starring a white guy they don't know than they are to go see a movie starring an Asian guy they don't know.

Angeles
03-28-2008, 06:32 PM
Yes.

Well, let me put it another way. Say in the making of the true to life story, COACH CARTER, the studio decided that instead of Samuel Jackson, they would cast Bruce Willis. Is this not the same thing? Is the lure of profits a justified reason to rewrite history?

Patton
03-28-2008, 06:33 PM
Well, let me put it another way. Say in the making of the true to life story, COACH CARTER, the studio decided that instead of Samuel Jackson, they would cast Bruce Willis. Is this not the same thing? Would this be justifiable?

It's most definitely not the same thing regardless of whether the 21 situation is "right." Samuel Jackson has about the same box office draw and marketability as Bruce Willis so that particular analogy doesn't work.

Dave S.
03-28-2008, 06:37 PM
So you'd rather they reinforced the stereotype that all asians are good at math? And bad drivers?

Angeles
03-28-2008, 06:38 PM
It's most definitely not the same thing regardless of whether the 21 situation is "right." Samuel Jackson has about the same box office draw and marketability as Bruce Willis so that particular analogy doesn't work.

I think it is an apt analogy. I would say that John Cho from HAROLD AND KUMAR and upcoming STAR TREK fame, would be a bigger draw than the little-known Sturges. Besides, as I said, the draw here is not the actor, but the true-life story.

bartleby
03-28-2008, 06:40 PM
Well, let me put it another way. Say in the making of the true to life story, COACH CARTER, the studio decided that instead of Samuel Jackson, they would cast Bruce Willis. Is this not the same thing? Would this be justifiable?

The thing with BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE is that the story really didn't have a whole to do with the race of the people involved. Hell, the book really wasn't all that much about the people as it was the events. I read it a couple of years ago, and watching the trailers for the movie, I couldn't have told you that the characters were really any different than the book.

But these aren't major public figures we're talking about here. For the most part, they've remained anonymous. Altering a character for a movie is only an issue if the figure is well known by the public or if race has a significant part to play in the story. And neither is the case with this movie.

Angeles
03-28-2008, 06:40 PM
So you'd rather they reinforced the stereotype that all asians are good at math? And bad drivers?

Have you read the book? The main character is not at all an Asian stereotype. Yes, he is good at Math, but he isn't the stereotypical Asian nerd.

c. page
03-28-2008, 06:43 PM
The thing with BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE is that the story really didn't have a whole to do with the race of the people involved. Hell, the book really wasn't all that much about the people as it was the events. I read it a couple of years ago, and watching the trailers for the movie, I couldn't have told you that the characters were really any different than the book.

But these aren't major public figures we're talking about here. For the most part, they've remained anonymous. Altering a character for a movie is only an issue if the figure is well known by the public or if race has a significant part to play in the story. And neither is the case with this movie.

actually, it was a big point in the book, IIRC. the people were picked by the teacher (who i also believe was supposed to be asian, and is being played by kevin spacey) because of their ethnicity. they looked like they could be from anywhere, just asian enough to not be white, but able to pass as more mediterranean in nature if necessary.

Dave S.
03-28-2008, 06:45 PM
I'd be less inclined to see a movie about Asians. But I'd be more inclined to see a movie starring Kevin Spacey.

mike black
03-28-2008, 06:47 PM
Ummm. Wasn't the guy the book was originally based on Russian-American?

So, then, doesn't the book just reinforce stereotypes about Asian-Americans?

Masculine Todd
03-28-2008, 06:48 PM
The high-school and college demographic (which it's marketed toward as evident upon seeing the posters, trailers, and subject matter of the flick) want to see attractive white people, and tough, archetypal and attractive black people.

The producers, casters, studio aren't to blame for trying to maximize profits and appeal to said demographic. It's more of an indictment on the demographic itself.

Patton
03-28-2008, 06:50 PM
I think it is an apt analogy. I would say that John Cho from HAROLD AND KUMAR and upcoming STAR TREK fame, would be a bigger draw than the little-known Sturges. Besides, as I said, the draw here is not the actor, but the true-life story.

Is Jeff Ma Korean? Because we would have to have someone of the exact race for it to be "right."

Boris the Blade
03-28-2008, 06:51 PM
No one complained when the Kingpin was black!

...They didn't, did they?

Mister Mets
03-28-2008, 06:53 PM
Now many would defend the studio's casting decisions as being market-based and not necessarily racist, but is the lure of greater profits really a justifiable excuse? If the real-life people happen to be African American, would the studio even consider recasting with mostly white actors? Would the public outcry be greater?There's more African American actors, which makes the situation a bit different. Though I can't help but notice that you weren't really bothered by a British actor playing an American.

Meanwhile, John Cho (one of the guys mentioned as possibly playing the lead) is 35 years old (born in 72). Wouldn't casting him as a college freshman screw over younger actors?

Boris the Blade
03-28-2008, 06:57 PM
There's more African American actors, which makes the situation a bit different. Though I can't help but notice that you weren't really bothered by a British actor playing an American.

Meanwhile, John Cho (one of the guys mentioned as possibly playing the lead) is 35 years old (born in 72). Wouldn't casting him as a college freshman screw over younger actors?
There's lots of asian actors!

They just don't work in America.

Angeles
03-28-2008, 06:59 PM
The thing with BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE is that the story really didn't have a whole to do with the race of the people involved. Hell, the book really wasn't all that much about the people as it was the events. I read it a couple of years ago, and watching the trailers for the movie, I couldn't have told you that the characters were really any different than the book.

But these aren't major public figures we're talking about here. For the most part, they've remained anonymous. Altering a character for a movie is only an issue if the figure is well known by the public or if race has a significant part to play in the story. And neither is the case with this movie.

I disagree that race is not part of the story. In the book, part of the reason they are able to fool the casino is by playing off the image of the stereotypical Asian immigrant/gambler. This is now lost in the movie, making the story more generic.

As far as your assertion that the character must be well-known, that is debatable. Race and public notoriety do not play a part in COACH CARTER, yet if the studio made the character white, there would be much more of an outcry.

NickT
03-28-2008, 07:00 PM
If an American takes a foreign story, they'll Americanise it. I guess other countries would do similar too.


Kindof a shame, but I guess the only way they'll get made.

Angeles
03-28-2008, 07:05 PM
If an American takes a foreign story, they'll Americanise it. I guess other countries would do similar too.


Kindof a shame, but I guess the only way they'll get made.

That's just it, though. It's not a foreign story. It's an American story. The protagonists in the novel are Asian American.

bartleby
03-28-2008, 07:06 PM
I disagree that race is not part of the story. In the book, part of the reason they are able to fool the casino is by playing off the image of the stereotypical Asian immigrant/gambler. This is now lost in the movie, making the story more generic.

It would seem that the people involved don't seem to see it that way.


Ma, who, along with Mezrich, attended the star-studded “21” premiere in the Apple Thursday night, said the flick isn’t a movie about race like the “Joy Luck Club” or “Memoirs of a Geisha.” It’s about gambling.

“I am a proud Asian-American and very proud of my Chinese culture, so I feel badly that people think I sold out,” said the cyberhost of “Jeff Ma’s Wild World of Gambling.”

“I was more interested in having someone play me who captured my personality and I think Jim did that very well,” he said. “And frankly, there were components of the story that were changed that concern me more, like the fact my father was dead!”

Angeles
03-28-2008, 07:20 PM
It would seem that the people involved don't seem to see it that way.


Ma, who, along with Mezrich, attended the star-studded “21” premiere in the Apple Thursday night, said the flick isn’t a movie about race like the “Joy Luck Club” or “Memoirs of a Geisha.” It’s about gambling.

“I am a proud Asian-American and very proud of my Chinese culture, so I feel badly that people think I sold out,” said the cyberhost of “Jeff Ma’s Wild World of Gambling.”

“I was more interested in having someone play me who captured my personality and I think Jim did that very well,” he said. “And frankly, there were components of the story that were changed that concern me more, like the fact my father was dead!”

Yeah, well, a lot of people will go with anything if you wave a fat check in their face. And from what I've read, Jeff Ma's priorities don't really lie with Asian American representation in the media. ;-)

Still, his position is secondary. The real debate is should studios be given free-reign to alter the race of real-life figures in movies?

Nick Spencer
03-28-2008, 07:21 PM
It would seem that the people involved don't seem to see it that way.


Ma, who, along with Mezrich, attended the star-studded “21” premiere in the Apple Thursday night, said the flick isn’t a movie about race like the “Joy Luck Club” or “Memoirs of a Geisha.” It’s about gambling.

“I am a proud Asian-American and very proud of my Chinese culture, so I feel badly that people think I sold out,” said the cyberhost of “Jeff Ma’s Wild World of Gambling.”

“I was more interested in having someone play me who captured my personality and I think Jim did that very well,” he said. “And frankly, there were components of the story that were changed that concern me more, like the fact my father was dead!”

You'll never get a more honest and even-handed analysis of a film and what went into making it than at that film's premiere.

bartleby
03-28-2008, 07:23 PM
I just don't see how the changes they've made to these characters is doing a great injustice to anyone.

Dreaded Anomaly
03-28-2008, 07:24 PM
Still, his position is secondary. The real debate is should studios be given free-reign to alter the race of real-life figures in movies?

If Ma didn't object to it, I don't see what the problem is. Private films are not about "social justice". Also, if the studio buys the rights to the story and includes in the contract the right to cast without regard to race, then that's their prerogative. If the story owner doesn't like that, they don't have to sign the contract.

bartleby
03-28-2008, 07:27 PM
You'll never get a more honest and even-handed analysis of a film and what went into making it than at that film's premiere.

Or from a group whose sole purpose is "dedicated to monitoring the media and advocating balanced, sensitive, and positive coverage and portrayals of Asian Americans."

NickT
03-28-2008, 07:32 PM
That's just it, though. It's not a foreign story. It's an American story. The protagonists in the novel are Asian American.
Ah right, sorry.

Angeles
03-28-2008, 07:34 PM
I just don't see how the changes they've made to these characters is doing a great injustice to anyone.

Well, I know a bunch of Asian American actors who would disagree with you. Maybe if you could put yourself in their shoes for a second. Given the already lack of Asian American roles in Hollywood, it's a shame that the studio has to change a great story that is tailor-made for them.

Wastrel
03-28-2008, 07:36 PM
it's a shame that the studio has to change a great story that is tailor-made for them.
the tailor disagrees with you. and i also dont see how it matters what race the actors are.

bartleby
03-28-2008, 07:39 PM
Well, I know a bunch of Asian American actors who would disagree with you. Maybe if you could put yourself in their shoes for a second. Given the already lack of Asian American roles in Hollywood, it's a shame that the studio has to change a great story that is tailor-made for them.

If any industry has a valid excuse for not kowtowing to equal opportunity hiring practices, it's the entertainment industry. Hollywood shouldn't be expected to make x number of movies starring Asian American actors if the audience isn't going to pay money to see movies starring Asian American actors.

Nick Spencer
03-28-2008, 07:42 PM
If any industry has a valid excuse for not kowtowing to equal opportunity hiring practices, it's the entertainment industry. Hollywood shouldn't be expected to make x number of movies starring Asian American actors if the audience isn't going to pay money to see movies starring Asian American actors.

What is this mountain of evidence that people won't see movies with Asian leads you keep pointing to? Is there some long list of attempts that turned into flops that I'm forgetting about?

I think this is more assumption than reality. I thought HAROLD & KUMAR kinda disproved a lot of this already.

bartleby
03-28-2008, 07:48 PM
What is this mountain of evidence that people won't see movies with Asian leads you keep pointing to? Is there some long list of attempts that turned into flops that I'm forgetting about?

It's all about polling. Hollywood doesn't spend millions of dollars to make a movie just to see what demographics will see it. They test market stuff like this before making decisions.



I think this is more assumption than reality. I thought HAROLD & KUMAR kinda disproved a lot of this already.

HAROLD AND KUMAR really doesn't disprove it at all. For a movie that was well reviewed and liked by almost everyone who saw it, its box office was hardly a glowing endorsement for Asian Americans as lead actors.

Angeles
03-28-2008, 07:53 PM
If any industry has a valid excuse for not kowtowing to equal opportunity hiring practices, it's the entertainment industry. Hollywood shouldn't be expected to make x number of movies starring Asian American actors if the audience isn't going to pay money to see movies starring Asian American actors.

You're missing the point. I never said that Hollywood has to make x number of movies with Asians. That's ridiculous and it's not even what we're discussing here.

See, the same was said about black actors before the 90s and it was eventually proven wrong. Black actors proved bankable only when Hollywood finally got around to casting them. The Catch-22 is that Hollywood won't know for certain if nobody will pay to see Asian American actors if Hollywood won't cast them. As I mentioned before, John Cho is a much more bankable actor than who they casted.

Nick Spencer
03-28-2008, 07:56 PM
It's all about polling. Hollywood doesn't spend millions of dollars to make a movie just to see what demographics will see it. They test market stuff like this before making decisions.




HAROLD AND KUMAR really doesn't disprove it at all. For a movie that was well reviewed and liked by almost everyone who saw it, its box office was hardly a glowing endorsement for Asian Americans as lead actors.

That's it? Polling?

Weak.

bartleby
03-28-2008, 07:57 PM
As I mentioned before, John Cho is a much more bankable actor than who they casted.

No, he's not. Aside from the guy's family, no one has ever paid to see a movie because it starred John Cho. Even though he's not a star, Jim Sturgess at least has the potential of drawing 14-17 year old girls who'll see the movie because he's cute.

Nick Spencer
03-28-2008, 07:59 PM
No, he's not. Aside from the guy's family, no one has ever paid to see a movie because it starred John Cho. Even though he's not a star, Jim Sturgess at least has the potential of drawing 14-17 year old girls who'll see the movie because he's cute.

Am I in John Cho's family now?

Weird.

Mr. E!
03-28-2008, 08:02 PM
There's more African American actors, which makes the situation a bit different. Though I can't help but notice that you weren't really bothered by a British actor playing an American.

Meanwhile, John Cho (one of the guys mentioned as possibly playing the lead) is 35 years old (born in 72). Wouldn't casting him as a college freshman screw over younger actors?

They could have gotten Mickey Rooney and really screwed over both the young and and Asian actors!

Boris the Blade
03-28-2008, 08:03 PM
Am I in John Cho's family now?

Weird.
I for one am always saying "FUCK. When is the next John Cho movie coming out? That'd be sweet."

He's always good, but he's not a draw.

xyzzy
03-28-2008, 08:04 PM
They can do whatever the hell they want. They own the rights to the story, after all. They don't have to justify it to anybody.

That doesn't make it less insulting.

bartleby
03-28-2008, 08:05 PM
Am I in John Cho's family now?

Weird.

So what movies have you paid to see because John Cho starred in them?

Mr. E!
03-28-2008, 08:06 PM
A lot of this was covered, at least tangentially, earlier in the week in this thread:
http://www.606studios.com/bendisboard/showthread.php?t=145916&highlight=asian+stereotype

Boris the Blade
03-28-2008, 08:08 PM
Were you guys aware, previous to Denzel Washington's portrayal, Malcolm X was BLACK?

Nick Spencer
03-28-2008, 08:17 PM
I for one am always saying "FUCK. When is the next John Cho movie coming out? That'd be sweet."

He's always good, but he's not a draw.

Here's the important part though:

Compared to Sturges-whatever? I mean, he's certainly more proven than that guy.

I would get it if it was someone remotely known, but it's not.

bartleby
03-28-2008, 08:24 PM
Here's the important part though:

Compared to Sturges-whatever? I mean, he's certainly more proven than that guy.

I would get it if it was someone remotely known, but it's not.

But as I said before, Sturgess is someone that Columbia could potentially sell to girls age 14-25. When Sturgess was cast in 21, he was working with Columbia on ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. The studio was looking at him not as someone that was already a star, but a star that could be manufactured over the next year.

Nick Spencer
03-28-2008, 08:33 PM
But as I said before, Sturgess is someone that Columbia could potentially sell to girls age 14-25. When Sturgess was cast in 21, he was working with Columbia on ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. The studio was looking at him not as someone that was already a star, but a star that could be manufactured over the next year.

Ok, first off, it's a movie about Ivy League math students ripping off Vegas? What the fuck are they marketing to 14 year old girls here? This movie doesn't strike me as being targeted to the Teen Beat crowd. Not everything has to be, you know.

bartleby
03-28-2008, 08:34 PM
Ok, first off, it's a movie about Ivy League math students ripping off Vegas? What the fuck are they marketing to 14 year old girls here? This movie doesn't strike me as being targeted to the Teen Beat crowd. Not everything has to be, you know.

Have you seen any of the commercials for the movie?

Nick Spencer
03-28-2008, 08:37 PM
Have you seen any of the commercials for the movie?

Ummm... yes.

Again, not seeing many 14 year old girls hitting this one.

ERNIE_E
03-28-2008, 08:49 PM
So what movies have you paid to see because John Cho starred in them?

I paid to see Better Luck Tomorrow the night it came out in my city. Loved the film and believe that Asians can carry the lead in this country if cast in a role that would allow for a breakout performance.

Boris the Blade
03-28-2008, 08:52 PM
I paid to see Better Luck Tomorrow the night it came out in my city. Loved the film and believe that Asians can carry the lead in this country if cast in a role that would allow for a breakout performance.
Pretty decent movie! For some reason I remember nothing but their Circuit City credit card scheme scene.

Nick Spencer
03-28-2008, 08:58 PM
I paid to see Better Luck Tomorrow the night it came out in my city. Loved the film and believe that Asians can carry the lead in this country if cast in a role that would allow for a breakout performance.

Stop proving Bart's point wrong.

Or don't. :)

ERNIE_E
03-28-2008, 09:12 PM
If any industry has a valid excuse for not kowtowing to equal opportunity hiring practices, it's the entertainment industry. Hollywood shouldn't be expected to make x number of movies starring Asian American actors if the audience isn't going to pay money to see movies starring Asian American actors.

Well with this kind of thinking Asian actors should just stop working in the American Film industry. :roll:

All it takes is for one or two roles to start a career and a trend. Blacks didn't begin to get meaningful roles until Sidney Poitier became a leading man and earned every role he got and was rewarded for.

Javier Bardem is known around the world as one of the best actors period, but in this country is only really known for No Country for Old Men. Not even an Oscar nom for Before Night Falls made him a name in this country until he did an American film. It should be interesting to see what roles he's offered and takes from here on out.

Any frustrations I have towards the Hollywood film machine for Male Asian roles I go to foreign film because I know that it's just filmmakers making stories with the actors they can get and who can pull off the job. I won't wait for white Hollywood to accept it but I can still hope. Until then I will support the films that Asians do make, and do cast actors that represent more than white man's point of view. I'll watch all types of film I can. I love the films that come out of Hollywood as much as foreign films but there's roles out there that good Asian actors can easily play as much as the next guy. But I can still hope that someone casts a great Asian actor in a leading man/everyman type of role or a supporting role that can break the mold. It may take several castings, or dozens, but whatever it takes, I'm for it.

Just because it doesn't fit in a trend that you can track, Bartleby doesn't make the lack of casting minorities in leading roles any less of disgrace. You'd be surprised what a risky casting could do for someone's career and sex appeal in the public's eye and ultimately turn into bucking the trend of Asian males forever trapped in background roles.

ERNIE_E
03-28-2008, 09:20 PM
Stop proving Bart's point wrong.

Or don't. :)

Well I paid to see John Cho in a film. But found Parry Shen to be a good actor in this film.

That scene where they kill that kid, that was fucking awesome. I don't give a fuck who did it, that was a great scene.

Not saying it was a breakout role, but it was just glad to see Justin Lin make a film like this. I also wanted to see Finishing the Game (which is not a film to help the cause of the Asian male actor) but came out around the time I moved out west and the town I left released it after I moved, and it never showed in San Diego at least since the time I've been here. Bummer because I'd like to see more of Lin's work. Tokyo Drift too... Sonny Chiba man... put this guy in a fucking lead...

ERNIE_E
03-28-2008, 09:27 PM
Pretty decent movie! For some reason I remember nothing but their Circuit City credit card scheme scene.

I liked how you had a whole cast of different characters. Nerds, fuck-offs, guys just trying to fit in, shit that sums up high school pretty well. LOL.

But I liked how they used that stereotype in that film to cover up that they were actual underachievers looking for the shortcuts in life which ultimately got them in trouble. And c'mon, the cell phone ringing in the lawn was a funny scene.

Angeles
03-28-2008, 09:42 PM
Well with this kind of thinking Asian actors should just stop working in the American Film industry. :roll:

All it takes is for one or two roles to start a career and a trend. Blacks didn't begin to get meaningful roles until Sidney Poitier became a leading man and earned every role he got and was rewarded for.

Javier Bardem is known around the world as one of the best actors period, but in this country is only really known for No Country for Old Men. Not even an Oscar nom for Before Night Falls made him a name in this country until he did an American film. It should be interesting to see what roles he's offered and takes from here on out.

Any frustrations I have towards the Hollywood film machine for Male Asian roles I go to foreign film because I know that it's just filmmakers making stories with the actors they can get and who can pull off the job. I won't wait for white Hollywood to accept it but I can still hope. Until then I will support the films that Asians do make, and do cast actors that represent more than white man's point of view. I'll watch all types of film I can. I love the films that come out of Hollywood as much as foreign films but there's roles out there that good Asian actors can easily play as much as the next guy. But I can still hope that someone casts a great Asian actor in a leading man/everyman type of role or a supporting role that can break the mold. It may take several castings, or dozens, but whatever it takes, I'm for it.

Just because it doesn't fit in a trend that you can track, Bartleby doesn't make the lack of casting minorities in leading roles any less of disgrace. You'd be surprised what a risky casting could do for someone's career and sex appeal in the public's eye and ultimately turn into bucking the trend of Asian males forever trapped in background roles.

Well said, Ernie. Bravo.

Bigger box office and audience appeal was the excuse they used for white actors in black/yellow face as well as the lack of black lead actors before Poitier came around. Now since they can't have actors in yellow face, they'll just rewrite Asians out of the story. Whether it's legal or not, it's still an insult.

If studios only went by trends, polls and the assumption that white audiences only want to see their own kind, then actors like Denzel Washington, Sam Jackson and Will Smith would have never gotten that first big break and become the great stars that they are today. Sooner or later it will happen for an Asian American actor and that can only be good for American cinema, as well as for the studio bottom line.

ERNIE_E
03-28-2008, 09:48 PM
And I might add I saw Kal Penn in Mira Nair's The Namesake, because of well, Nair, but also to see Penn in something OTHER than Harold and Kumar. It was a pretty good role and a solid story that I think a lot of first generation Asian-Americans can relate to.

Dave S.
03-28-2008, 09:58 PM
If someone said a movie was about asians, and it wasn't a kung fu movie, I probably wouldn't be interested.

The popular non-kung fu asian movies seem to be those about white people. The Last Samurai, 7 Years in Tibet, shit like that. the white man coming to asia and adapting.

If it's about african americans and the civil rights struggle, or about how hard it is to make it in urban america, I'm there. I love that shit.

I'm not sure that this is relevant to the thread at all.

ERNIE_E
03-28-2008, 10:44 PM
If someone said a movie was about asians, and it wasn't a kung fu movie, I probably wouldn't be interested.

The popular non-kung fu asian movies seem to be those about white people. The Last Samurai, 7 Years in Tibet, shit like that. the white man coming to asia and adapting.

If it's about african americans and the civil rights struggle, or about how hard it is to make it in urban america, I'm there. I love that shit.

I'm not sure that this is relevant to the thread at all.

:lol:

I like how 7 Years in Tibet is more about the white man coming into Asia when it's really a film about the Dali Lama and how open to the world outside of Tibet he was, the Tibet/China conflict and his friendship with Henrich Harrer. But I hear you, man.

While we're on Tibet. Kundun is a film you should mention that's got high regard, fuck anyone if they don't take time out to see it. It's a Scorsese film, people!

Last Samurai I'll give you though. Ken Watanabe got much deserved praise for this role. Hope he keeps turning it into more good work for him. Like Batman Beyond and Iwo Jima.

I'm also amused by how Hollywood can't even make an original horror film without trying to recreate what the Japanese or Koreans have done in the last ten years. Would Asians in those remakes have made for better box office? Not likely, but why not just watch the originals? That's the best respect you can pay.

By the way I'm not boycotting 21 as some little groups of Asians are murmuring about about. It wouldn't solve a thing and just makes Asians look bad. We're not a big buying group in this country unfortunately, and hence why Hollywood thinks its okay to just omit Asians from the screen for the most part. I mean I saw and loved Departed as much as I loved Infernal Affairs so I can't say I'm just not going to see the film, because it still sounds like a cool story. But yeah, when Asian films, actors, and filmmakers do make something worthwhile, support it in all of its forms whether it's made here, there, financed over there... The more people watch, the more Hollywood will take notice.

On a personal note, I'd love to see a film about Ben Fong Torres (former editor at Rolling Stone during its heyday, you get to see a flash of who he is in Almost Famous). I gotta imagine he's got an interesting story or two in him.

ERNIE_E
03-28-2008, 10:54 PM
Well said, Ernie. Bravo.

Bigger box office and audience appeal was the excuse they used for white actors in black/yellow face as well as the lack of black lead actors before Poitier came around. Now since they can't have actors in yellow face, they'll just rewrite Asians out of the story. Whether it's legal or not, it's still an insult.

If studios only went by trends, polls and the assumption that white audiences only want to see their own kind, then actors like Denzel Washington, Sam Jackson and Will Smith would have never gotten that first big break and become the great stars that they are today. Sooner or later it will happen for an Asian American actor and that can only be good for American cinema, as well as for the studio bottom line.


If you only look at Box office numbers, then you're only looking at half the story of filmmaking. Plenty of films are made with the intention of telling a good story. Period. You're more likely see a film like this come from a studio that has lots of financial hits in the past. Take the Weinsteins for example. Last year was a successful year for the but this past year not so much. They expected Grindhouse to be much bigger (it was their biggest moneymaker), but fuck if that wasn't a great film experience.

I can hope one day for someone to take risks like that in the best interest of a great story featuring an Asian-cast lead. It seems like a looong way away but in the meantime there's good things to be hunted down.

Run-BMC
03-28-2008, 11:53 PM
http://www.bostonherald.com/track/inside_track/view.bg?articleid=1083357

Now many would defend the studio's casting decisions as being market-based and not necessarily racist, but is the lure of greater profits really a justifiable excuse? If the real-life people happen to be African American, would the studio even consider recasting with mostly white actors? Would the public outcry be greater?

Yes. That's how the producers justify it. Doesn't make it right. It would be awesome if marketability came after civic duty and social advancement. But 9 times out of 10, it doesn't, not unless it affects marketability. Shit, it doesn't even come after artistic integrity.

No, and yes. Unfortunately, and maybe I could get a second opinion, but I'd say that racism against black people is far more unacceptable than racism towards Asians and Hispanics. Actually, it's all equally unacceptable, but you get, how might I put it, "less shit on" if it's against Asians or Hispanics.

Look at McCain's comments about using the term "gooks" I think it was. People accept his explanation (not saying whether it's valid or not - regardless, it ain't smart). No explanation would be acceptable if it had been the n-word.

Boris the Blade
03-29-2008, 12:09 AM
It's up to the audience and the filmmakers really. Studios make it tough for anyone else to be seen, but there are plenty of young Asian filmmakers that want to be noticed. Better Luck Tomorrow is a good example, but it reached a pretty marginal audience. What are they supposed to do? They took the safe route. Lame, but expected...

I don't like the state of film right now either, that's why I'm going to be a filmmaker. Mmm, maybe even a failing, marginalized filmmaker. That's always been the dream.

WillieLee
03-29-2008, 12:26 AM
That's just it, though. It's not a foreign story. It's an American story. The protagonists in the novel are Asian American.

The movie has a professor involved in the group yet no real professors were ever involved. Does this upset you?

Greenville 90210
03-29-2008, 12:27 AM
Its weak, of course. But its Hollywood. They don't give a shit about social advancement or facts. They want to make money and tell the most easily digestible story possible. And they think they can do it with a bunch of good looking white kids.

Also, I think they have a couple Asians in the movie.

Oroboros358
03-29-2008, 12:57 AM
We actually talked about something like this in a media internship I did last year. A journalist was telling me how she had talked to one of the producer's of Blade, and how the film had an incredibly hard time getting made because in European & Asian markets it's hard to sell a movie with a black character in a heroic role.

While I'm not actually sure, it's quite possible that a similar thing might exist with Asians. I'm not a film/marketing executive so all I'm making now is a huge assumption, but I think (like most have said already) that some people would not be interested in seeing a movie with an Asian lead who y'know, doing some Asian like martial arts or being in an Asian country.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 04:14 PM
Okay, so now that I've seen the movie (and having previously read the book), I feel like I can speak with a more informed opinion.

The movie was pretty mediocre and would have been regardless of the ethnicity of the actors playing the lead role. But with Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, and Jim Sturgess, they got a $23.7 million weekend, and I find it hard to believe that there's any Asian American actors that could have gotten them anywhere close to that kind of box office results.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 04:16 PM
Okay, so now that I've seen the movie (and having previously read the book), I feel like I can speak with a more informed opinion.

The movie was pretty mediocre and would have been regardless of the ethnicity of the actors playing the lead role. But with Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, and Jim Sturgess, they got a $23.7 million weekend, and I find it hard to believe that there's any Asian American actors that could have gotten them anywhere close to that kind of box office results.

I find YOU hard to believe!

:)

Simps
03-30-2008, 04:20 PM
Ummm... yes.

Again, not seeing many 14 year old girls hitting this one.
They're not playing up the fact that it's Ivy League Math geeks, they're playing up the sexiness and shine of being young and making money in Vegas.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 04:22 PM
They're not playing up the fact that it's Ivy League Math geeks, they're playing up the sexiness and shine of being young and making money in Vegas.

Asians aren't sexy?

What have I been masturbating to?!!

:)

bartleby
03-30-2008, 04:23 PM
Major studio movies are too expensive for Hollywood to be proactive in casting minorities. It's almost always going to be reactionary. Only after someone has success in casting Asian American actors in lead roles will Hollywood start making more movies starring Asian American actors.

At the very least, Hollywood needs a reason to believe that there's a sizable Asian American movie-going audience regardless of cast or subject matter.

Dreaded Anomaly
03-30-2008, 04:25 PM
Asians aren't sexy?

What have I been masturbating to?!!

:)

Guys find Asian girls sexy. The reciprocal is generally not true. ;)

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 04:26 PM
Major studio movies are too expensive for Hollywood to be proactive in casting minorities. It's almost always going to be reactionary. Only after someone has success in casting Asian American actors in lead roles will Hollywood start making more movies starring Asian American actors.

At the very least, Hollywood needs a reason to believe that there's a sizable Asian American movie-going audience regardless of cast or subject matter.

Yeah, well, Hollywood sucks.

Honestly, it gets old watching them basically ignore half the country on a weekly basis. Dumb.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 04:27 PM
Yeah, well, Hollywood sucks.

Honestly, it gets old watching them basically ignore half the country on a weekly basis. Dumb.

Which half of the country is it that they're ignoring?


Cause if there are 150 billion people who are willing to buy a ticket to some kind of movie that Hollywood isn't making, I'm sure some studio would like to tap into that market.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 04:28 PM
Guys find Asian girls sexy. The reciprocal is generally not true. ;)

As far as Asian girls-- This is true. But how many times have you seen some half-Asian, or quarter-Asian girl playing an Asian role? Happens all the fucking time.

As for Asian guys-- this is a myth. There are Asian guys who are great looking, and pick up a shitload of white girls. When I was in Tokyo, I saw it all the time. I get what you mean, but there are certainly some Asian actors out there that a lot of American girls wouldn't mind looking at.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 04:29 PM
Which half of the country is it that they're ignoring?

Pretty much everyone that isn't white.

WillieLee
03-30-2008, 04:30 PM
100-74=50?

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 04:34 PM
100-74=50?

Fair enough.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 04:34 PM
Pretty much everyone that isn't white.

Well, if you've got an idea for some movie that's going to get those 150 billion people into a movie, tell it to Ben Simpson. I'm sure that information would get him a nice promotion. That is unless Hollywood's just so determined to keep the non-white man down that they'd throw all that potential money away.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 04:38 PM
Well, if you've got an idea for some movie that's going to get those 150 billion people into a movie, tell it to Ben Simpson. I'm sure that information would get him a nice promotion. That is unless Hollywood's just so determined to keep the non-white man down that they'd throw all that potential money away.

Actually, I think this is a problem that will fix itself as the global box office grows in importance. Certainly an Asian lead here would've amped up performance in a lot of other markets. On a lower budget flick like this, that could've made a big difference.

I don't think Hollywood is racist so much as narrow-minded in terms of what makes a successful picture.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 04:40 PM
Well, if you've got an idea for some movie that's going to get those 150 billion people into a movie, tell it to Ben Simpson.

I'd probably start with casting an Asian guy to play the Asian guy in the movie version of BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE.

Taxman
03-30-2008, 04:40 PM
Certainly an Asian lead here would've amped up performance in a lot of other markets. On a lower budget flick like this, that could've made a big difference. Examples?

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 04:42 PM
Examples?

Examples of Asian leads bringing in good box office in Asian markets?

That would probably be the Asian Box Office.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 04:46 PM
Actually, I think this is a problem that will fix itself as the global box office grows in importance. Certainly an Asian lead here would've amped up performance in a lot of other markets. On a lower budget flick like this, that could've made a big difference.

I'm not sure it would have really helped internationally. Blackjack (and Las Vegas in general) seems to be a very cultural thing. It's not a movie that's going to play well in every market regardless of the cast. A larger Asian American cast might help in some Asian markets, but even then, I think American star power probably trumps any kind of connection through similar ethnicity.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 04:47 PM
I'm not sure it would have really helped internationally. Blackjack (and Las Vegas in general) seems to be a very cultural thing. It's not a movie that's going to play well in every market regardless of the cast. A larger Asian American cast might help in some Asian markets, but even then, I think American star power probably trumps any kind of connection through similar ethnicity.

Jim Sturges does not have American Star power yet.

As I've said before, I'd get it if it had been an actor with proven drawing power. It wasn't. Made the change pretty pointless.

And you think Asians don't go to Vegas?!!

What?!!

Joe Henderson
03-30-2008, 04:50 PM
Jim Sturges does not have American Star power yet.

As I've said before, I'd get it if it had been an actor with proven drawing power. It wasn't. Made the change pretty pointless.

And you think Asians don't go to Vegas?!!

What?!!

I have to agree with Bartleby to a point--if there was a young Asian star that could bring about asian box office clout, then that would be a factor. But none really exists. An unknown white lead actor way outbalances an unknown Asian actor, because an unknown Asian actor brings you absolutely nothing in the Asian markets.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 04:54 PM
Jim Sturges does not have American Star power yet.

As I've said before, I'd get it if it had been an actor with proven drawing power. It wasn't. Made the change pretty pointless.

In regards to the drawing power of one of the lead actors in Asian markets, the change might not have made a difference. Either way, I don't think the movie was going to be huge in that part of the world. But this movie was also designed to be something that was going to perform best in the domestic market, and in regards to that, the change wasn't pointless.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 04:54 PM
I have to agree with Bartleby to a point--if there was a young Asian star that could bring about asian box office clout, then that would be a factor. But none really exists. An unknown white lead actor way outbalances an unknown Asian actor, because an unknown Asian actor brings you absolutely nothing in the Asian markets.

So long as Hollywood refuses to cast one, I don't see how that logic changes.

But what do you mean by unknown Asian actor-- I don't know that I agree with that period, but there are a lot of Asian actors unknown here that are awfully famous there. A good number can do English well.

I'm still stuck on Asians not getting Vegas or blackjack, though. :)

Bart, do you get why they picked the Asian guy to be the whale in Ocean's 13?

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 04:57 PM
In regards to the drawing power of one of the lead actors in Asian markets, the change might not have made a difference. Either way, I don't think the movie was going to be huge in that part of the world. But this movie was also designed to be something that was going to perform best in the domestic market, and in regards to that, the change wasn't pointless.

And that sounds to me like a missed opportunity.

I find it hilarious that you think a movie about gambling wouldn't play in Asia.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 04:57 PM
So long as Hollywood refuses to cast one, I don't see how that logic changes.

But what do you mean by unknown Asian actor-- I don't know that I agree with that period, but there are a lot of Asian actors unknown here that are awfully famous there. A good number can do English well.

But if they're unknown here, it's going to hurt the domestic box office. And the studio has a lot more reason to think that this particular movie could make more money in the United States and worldwide by casting white actors than it could by casting Asian actors.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 05:00 PM
Bart, do you get why they picked the Asian guy to be the whale in Ocean's 13?

It sure wasn't to give the movie a boost in the guy's native China, since it wasn't even allowed to be shown there.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 05:00 PM
But if they're unknown here, it's going to hurt the domestic box office. And the studio has a lot more reason to think that this particular movie could make more money in the United States and worldwide by casting white actors than it could by casting Asian actors.

A "lot more reason"? I'm still not seeing it. You continue to make a lot of assumptions, but there's no proof that an Asian lead couldn't have done just as well.

You get how popular gambling and blackjack in particular is in Asia, right?

xyzzy
03-30-2008, 05:04 PM
But if they're unknown here, it's going to hurt the domestic box office. And the studio has a lot more reason to think that this particular movie could make more money in the United States and worldwide by casting white actors than it could by casting Asian actors.

Do we actually know why this decision was made or are we just guessing?

ERNIE_E
03-30-2008, 05:05 PM
Major studio movies are too expensive for Hollywood to be proactive in casting minorities. It's almost always going to be reactionary. Only after someone has success in casting Asian American actors in lead roles will Hollywood start making more movies starring Asian American actors.

At the very least, Hollywood needs a reason to believe that there's a sizable Asian American movie-going audience regardless of cast or subject matter.

Okay so you admit that more Asian roles would open up if someone were successful. Well the only way to do that is to start casting them. It's gotta start somewhere, pal. Is 21 something that needed it? No. But it would have been nice. I would have rather you cast the lead as an Asian and all the others with name supporting actors and I think you'd get a similar box office. It's not like the lead is a household name. Hell, it's his acting debut! So it's not like he was cast because he had a reputation to go with his name. It was all on concept. Based on that, to have casted an Asian lead would not have hurt it that much. Throw in a cool and hip supporting actors like a Jared Leto or Ryan Phillippe, and who knows? You'll be surprised that the film is carried by a strong Asian actor.

The best thing would be to cast someone opposite Julia Roberts a Reese Witherspoon or a major female draw because she'll be a draw unto herself. All it takes is for a spark, and it can happen. Look at How Terrence Howard blew up after Hustle & Flow and Crash. He can pretty much write his own ticket if he wants to. I'm not saying it has to be mandated, but I think this is a type of opportunity for such an actor to thrive and flourish. The hollywood machine works in a very predictable way, but it will likely take an unpredictable method to probably buck the system.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 05:07 PM
Do we actually know why this decision was made or are we just guessing?

We got to this point the other day. Bart basically said they did some polling, though there's no evidence of that and we sure as hell have never seen the poll.

I doubt even that much, honestly. I think most decision-makers in Hollywood today have sadly settled in on a very narrow view of what makes a successful movie or movie star.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 05:08 PM
A "lot more reason"? I'm still not seeing it. You continue to make a lot of assumptions, but there's no proof that an Asian lead couldn't have done just as well.

But there's no reason for Hollywood to think that a movie with a primarily Asian cast and no martial arts is going to do well domestically or in European markets. There's not even a lot of reason for them to think that it would do well in Asian markets (TOKYO DRIFT only did slightly better in Japan than 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS despite having an Asian director, supporting characters played by Asian actors, and a Tokyo setting).

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 05:11 PM
Okay so you admit that more Asian roles would open up if someone were successful. Well the only way to do that is to start casting them. It's gotta start somewhere, pal. Is 21 something that needed it? No. But it would have been nice. I would have rather you cast the lead as an Asian and all the others with name supporting actors and I think you'd get a similar box office. It's not like the lead is a household name. Hell, it's his acting debut! So it's not like he was cast because he had a reputation to go with his name. It was all on concept. Based on that, to have casted an Asian lead would not have hurt it that much. Throw in a cool and hip supporting actors like a Jared Leto or Ryan Phillippe, and who knows? You'll be surprised that the film is carried by a strong Asian actor.

The best thing would be to cast someone opposite Julia Roberts a Reese Witherspoon or a major female draw because she'll be a draw unto herself. All it takes is for a spark, and it can happen. Look at How Terrence Howard blew up after Hustle & Flow and Crash. He can pretty much write his own ticket if he wants to. I'm not saying it has to be mandated, but I think this is a type of opportunity for such an actor to thrive and flourish. The hollywood machine works in a very predictable way, but it will likely take an unpredictable method to probably buck the system.

Exactly. I think what's frustrating to me is that 21 represented probably the easiest and best opportunity to give this a try, and they still didn't. You had a movie where Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth already gave you some bigger names, a movie that couldn't have cost too much to make, and opening in a dead part of the year. If there was ever an opportunity to try something different, this was it, and instead, we get 'generic leading man #3,408' who, I'm sorry, really did absolutely nothing to impress me his first time out with Across the Universe.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 05:13 PM
But there's no reason for Hollywood to think that a movie with a primarily Asian cast and no martial arts is going to do well domestically or in European markets. There's not even a lot of reason for them to think that it would do well in Asian markets (TOKYO DRIFT only did slightly better in Japan than 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS despite having an Asian director, supporting characters played by Asian actors, and a Tokyo setting).

Having your numbers go UP for a third installment instead of down is a pretty good sign of interest, I'd say.

NickT
03-30-2008, 05:14 PM
Exactly. I think what's frustrating to me is that 21 represented probably the easiest and best opportunity to give this a try, and they still didn't. You had a movie where Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth already gave you some bigger names, a movie that couldn't have cost too much to make, and opening in a dead part of the year. If there was ever an opportunity to try something different, this was it, and instead, we get 'generic leading man #3,408' who, I'm sorry, really did absolutely nothing to impress me his first time out with Across the Universe.
I see your point. Unless Sturgess or whatever his name is was the only good choice for the role (Like MCD was for Kingpin I hear), I don't see why they couldn't have tried an unknown Asian over an unknown American.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 05:16 PM
I see your point. Unless Sturgess or whatever his name is was the only good choice for the role (Like MCD was for Kingpin I hear), I don't see why they couldn't have tried an unknown Asian over an unknown American.

See?!! NickT agrees with me!!

:)

bartleby
03-30-2008, 05:17 PM
Okay so you admit that more Asian roles would open up if someone were successful. Well the only way to do that is to start casting them. It's gotta start somewhere, pal.

That's the thing though. No one wants to risk their money or their job by making that call. Basically, it's going to take somebody outside of the studio system making a movie that proves that audiences will see a movie with a cast of Asian Americans. Short of that happening, Hollywood needs to see that there's an audience of Asian Americans that are actively going to the movies even if it's just to see movies starring Caucasian or African American actors. If there's a reliable audience there, the studios will start looking for ways to exploit it.

ERNIE_E
03-30-2008, 05:19 PM
I see your point. Unless Sturgess or whatever his name is was the only good choice for the role (Like MCD was for Kingpin I hear), I don't see why they couldn't have tried an unknown Asian over an unknown American.

Thank you. And this is my point. Ben Cambell/Jim Sturgess was not going to get people out of the woodworks to see this film. The concept was. Guys like KEvin Spacey were going to be the name draws. So why not bring some hip new up and coming Asian or half-asian actor to portray the role?

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 05:19 PM
That's the thing though. No one wants to risk their money or their job by making that call. Basically, it's going to take somebody outside of the studio system making a movie that proves that audiences will see a movie with a cast of Asian Americans. Short of that happening, Hollywood needs to see that there's an audience of Asian Americans that are actively going to the movies even if it's just to see movies starring Caucasian or African American actors. If there's a reliable audience there, the studios will start looking for ways to exploit it.

You mean like BETTER LUCK TOMORROW?

Sorry, Asians have gone as far as they can in terms of indie and crossover success. This is about Hollywood just not wanting to even try something different.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 05:21 PM
You mean like BETTER LUCK TOMORROW?

Yeah, and if people had gone to see that movie, we'd probably be seeing more films about Asian Americans starring Asian American actors.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 05:22 PM
Yeah, and if people had gone to see that movie, we'd probably be seeing more films about Asian Americans starring Asian American actors.

That movie did pretty darn well for an indie of that variety.

ERNIE_E
03-30-2008, 05:25 PM
That's the thing though. No one wants to risk their money or their job by making that call. Basically, it's going to take somebody outside of the studio system making a movie that proves that audiences will see a movie with a cast of Asian Americans. Short of that happening, Hollywood needs to see that there's an audience of Asian Americans that are actively going to the movies even if it's just to see movies starring Caucasian or African American actors. If there's a reliable audience there, the studios will start looking for ways to exploit it.



Look man, I know you like to project EVERY SINGLE MOVIE's SUCCESS on their box office but go buy the new issue of Film Comment and the breakdown of films box office numbers that matters are in there. You'll see what's considered a success vs. what was not, and they look back over the year.Trust me, it's the only time I ever look at Box Office numbers as someone who follows movies. You'd get a mean hard-on.

There's an audience out there. Trust me, why do you think American Horror filmmakers keep raping from Asian-styled films? Give it a chance. That's all I'm asking.

You're making assumptions on box office way before the film is even releases (Hell you're making the decision before a film is made!) and then base all your future assumptions/decisions on film based on that. It's that pattern over and over which makes people tire of Hollywood and why films take forever to move forward instead of circles.

NickT
03-30-2008, 05:26 PM
Thank you. And this is my point. Ben Cambell/Jim Sturgess was not going to get people out of the woodworks to see this film. The concept was. Guys like KEvin Spacey were going to be the name draws. So why not bring some hip new up and coming Asian or half-asian actor to portray the role?
And if Jim Strugess was so desperate to the movie's success, why not have him in one of the supporting roles and maximise him in the marketing?


And hey who knows, you might uncover a big thing. Right now the only really successful Asian actors in the US are Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Lucy Lu and the guy from Harold and Kumar (Hey, he's been in multiple successful movies :) ). Perfect time to find the nbt.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 05:30 PM
Again, it's all about risk versus reward. It's as simple as that.


It's the same reason why almost all of the big budget movie productions are sequels, remakes, or adaptations of something that has already proven to be successful.

xyzzy
03-30-2008, 05:33 PM
We got to this point the other day. Bart basically said they did some polling, though there's no evidence of that and we sure as hell have never seen the poll.

I doubt even that much, honestly. I think most decision-makers in Hollywood today have sadly settled in on a very narrow view of what makes a successful movie or movie star.

Okay, I was just curious if the studio had issued a statement or something.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 05:34 PM
Again, it's all about risk versus reward. It's as simple as that.


It's the same reason why almost all of the big budget movie productions are sequels, remakes, or adaptations of something that has already proven to be successful.

I think that's what most of you are saying sucks about Hollywood. I get their thinking, I just think it's foolish and probably costing them money at the end of the day.

To me, the long term goal should be getting Americans used to seeing non-white leads, because then you've got more shots at international success as well.

I'm not arguing they should do it because it's the right thing to do or whatever, I'm saying it would be smart for them business-wise in the long run.

And I DO think Americans will support non-white leads. Cultural curiousity in Asian Cinema is one indicator of that.

ERNIE_E
03-30-2008, 05:37 PM
Yeah, and if people had gone to see that movie, we'd probably be seeing more films about Asian Americans starring Asian American actors.

Well it's a chance taken and I applaud MTV films for doing that. Did it do so poorly they couldn't do something like that on a bigger scale? I don't know. I don't have every number or box office pie charts in the last ten years to know if something tracked as predicted like you do.

You seem to think that film is an exact science, but it isn't. you'll never really know what's going to capture people's imagination. Why did Crouching Tiger do so much better than any other, cooler chop saki flick? How does Little Miss Sunshine work, and every other indie film about being yourself barely make 1 million dollars gross? Why did so many Americans love Amelie so much? Why do people love Adam Sandler films? And then his last film just bombed? How is that There Will Be Blood is such a great film that's loved by many was seen by so little?

You can make every calculation like a Grindhouse and market the hell out of something and still end up a flop because people don't get the concept.

YOu still take risks every now and then, and that's how you become a trend setter and set the bar.

WillieLee
03-30-2008, 05:39 PM
YOu still take risks every now and then, and that's how you become a trend setter and set the bar.

And that's how you go broke.

Some people seem rather cavalier about how others should throw around hundreds of millions of dollars.

ERNIE_E
03-30-2008, 05:40 PM
And if Jim Strugess was so desperate to the movie's success, why not have him in one of the supporting roles and maximise him in the marketing?


And hey who knows, you might uncover a big thing. Right now the only really successful Asian actors in the US are Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Lucy Lu and the guy from Harold and Kumar (Hey, he's been in multiple successful movies :) ). Perfect time to find the nbt.

So true. People who go out and make films because they believe in it make good films. If people don't get it, they don't get it, but those are the films personally that I gravitate to. It shows. The end product shows that. Making box office predictions on a film is for a film's marketing group's job, not the director/writer. They're job is to write a great story and direct a great film.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 05:40 PM
To me, the long term goal should be getting Americans used to seeing non-white leads, because then you've got more shots at international success as well.

The thing is international audiences aren't necessarily clamoring to see American movies starring actors from their country. They've got their own domestic cinema for that. They go see American movies for most of the same reasons that American see those movies.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 05:43 PM
The thing is international audiences aren't necessarily clamoring to see American movies starring actors from their country. They've got their own domestic cinema for that. They go see American movies for most of the same reasons that American see those movies.

Clearly this isn't the case because you think Americans don't want to see non-white leads. So they don't care about the lead's race, but we do? That sounds kinda odd.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 05:45 PM
Clearly this isn't the case because you think Americans don't want to see non-white leads. So they don't care about the lead's race, but we do? That sounds kinda odd.

Wow, you've managed to twists my words around into something that doesn't make any sense.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 05:48 PM
Wow, you've managed to twists my words around into something that doesn't make any sense.

You don't need my help for that, Bart.

:)

ERNIE_E
03-30-2008, 05:54 PM
And that's how you go broke.

Some people seem rather cavalier about how others should throw around hundreds of millions of dollars.

There's studios that can afford to take risks every now and then. In fact EVERY studio has a smaller film division. All "indie" labels like Focus are owned by bigger and much larger studios.

They were obviously attracted to this guy's story, so their ears and eyes weren't color blind then.

Im off to dinner, so enjoy while I'm gone... :)

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 05:55 PM
And that's how you go broke.

Some people seem rather cavalier about how others should throw around hundreds of millions of dollars.

21 did not take hundreds of millions of dollars to make, that's part of the point. No one is saying they shouldn't start small.

WillieLee
03-30-2008, 05:56 PM
Wow, you've managed to twists my words around into something that doesn't make any sense.

Get used to it.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 05:57 PM
Get used to it.

Poor Willie. Always so wronged.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 05:57 PM
21 did not take hundreds of millions of dollars to make, that's part of the point. No one is saying they shouldn't start small.

But why take the risk when you don't need to?

xyzzy
03-30-2008, 05:57 PM
And that's how you go broke.

Some people seem rather cavalier about how others should throw around hundreds of millions of dollars.

I already said that they can do whatever the hell they want with their movie. I just find it mildly insulting.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 05:58 PM
But why take the risk when you don't need to?

You think the studios are content with the amount of money they're making?

Last time I checked, every business wants to get bigger.

WillieLee
03-30-2008, 06:01 PM
Poor Willie. Always so wronged.

I'm not wronged at all. You just have an inability to handle any statement that doesn't agree with your position.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 06:02 PM
You think the studios are content with the amount of money they're making?

Last time I checked, every business wants to get bigger.

Yeah, but the studios get bigger by doing more of what does work. More reward without risk.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 06:03 PM
I'm not wronged at all. You just have an inability to handle any statement that doesn't agree with your position.

I can't handle you, Willie. Your brilliance blows my mind.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 06:04 PM
Yeah, but the studios get bigger by doing more of what does work. More reward without risk.

There are a lot of holes in this logic, most notably-- how do they find out what works in the first place?

And you know, there is such a thing as saturation. You can beat a type of film, or lead, into the ground. Not like what 'works' is permanent.

WillieLee
03-30-2008, 06:07 PM
I can't handle you, Willie. Your brilliance blows my mind.

I am rather impressive.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 06:08 PM
There are a lot of holes in this logic, most notably-- how do they find out what works in the first place?

You don't. The guy before you did, and he either got fired because four out of the five new things he tried didn't work or he got a huge promotion because four out of the five new things he tried did work.



And you know, there is such a thing as saturation. You can beat a type of film, or lead, into the ground. Not like what 'works' is permanent.

Yeah, and you just hope you get promoted before you have to worry about that.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 06:10 PM
You don't. The guy before you did, and he either got fired because four out of the five new things he tried didn't work or he got a huge promotion because four out of the five new things he tried did work.




Yeah, and you just hope you get promoted before you have to worry about that.

And this is what people are saying sucks about Hollywood. I don't deny it's how they think, I'm saying it's probably costing them money, especially as the global box office goes up and the US itself becomes less white.

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 06:21 PM
As an Asian guy, I actually agree with Bartleby's point of view. There is no way an Asian actor will get the chance to play a lead in a Hollywood blockbuster (or a movie with the intention of becoming one), not as long as there is any risk involved. And if you look at the track record of movies with Asian leads, even if surrounded by popular white actors, they still tend to fail much more than succeed.

I would LOVE if Asian actors got better parts and played leads in big movies, and the decision to give Asian roles to non-Asian actors was not a valid risk-defuser. But whether it truly is or not, it seems that Asian lead movies are not successful, and it's going to get blamed on the most obvious factor.

I think the only way that an Asian lead will be viewed as a marketable draw is if things click just right. If John Cho literally steals the show in Star Trek, hopefully someone will risk making him a lead in a Hollywood movie. That works, all of a sudden it's not a big deal to see an Asian lead in Hollywood anymore. Think about how awesome it would be, if a Hollywood movie with an Asian lead didn't just end up catering to 8% of the US population. If America could get behind a John Cho like they do a Bruce Willis or a Will Smith.

But no one's going to take that risk without reason to. Historical accuracy and social advancement is not a motivation when creating a big Hollywood movie. Hollywood changes history, turns historically good guys into villains, changes events to make the hero more heroic, and even has America win battles it actually lost just to pander to the audience (The Patriot).

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 06:24 PM
And if you look at the track record of movies with Asian leads, even if surrounded by popular white actors, they still tend to fail much more than succeed.

I'm hard pressed to think of examples here, help me out.

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 06:25 PM
And this is what people are saying sucks about Hollywood. I don't deny it's how they think, I'm saying it's probably costing them money, especially as the global box office goes up and the US itself becomes less white.

Of course. It does suck. Change will happen eventually. But it's not that way now. And by "less white" I don't mean the color of our skin, but how we view the media and the audience. What are the most popular shows that have even (as opposed to token) portrayals of races in America? I don't think they're very popular.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 06:28 PM
As an Asian guy, I actually agree with Bartleby's point of view.

I'm glad you do, because I was starting to feel like I was being looked at as a racist for merely trying to explain why things are the way they are. While trying to defend my position, it was starting to feel more like I was encouraging Hollywood's whitewashing.

Hell, I'm one of the few people that actually did see BETTER LUCK TOMORROW and HAROLD AND KUMAR in the theatre.

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 06:29 PM
I'm hard pressed to think of examples here, help me out.

Well, the only success I can think of is Rush Hour. Failures in my opinion that had many factors for success (eg popular lead actress or co-star) would be movies like Bulletproof Monk, The King and I, maybe the Tuxedo, what's the mvoie with Claire Forliani in it, The One, Romeo must Die, etc

Granted, they're also ALL except one kung fu movies. But I am literally hard pressed to think of an Asian led movie that wasn't one. And THAT's not good either.

(Although coming from a different discussion, I still don't think Asian characters are portrayed as asexual. Just all ass-kickers.)

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 06:29 PM
I'm glad you do, because I was starting to feel like I was being looked at as a racist for merely trying to explain why things are the way they are. While trying to defend my position, it was starting to feel more like I was encouraging Hollywood's whitewashing.

Hell, I'm one of the few people that actually did see BETTER LUCK TOMORROW and HAROLD AND KUMAR in the theatre.

I don't think you're a racist, Bart.

I think Willie is.

:)

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 06:30 PM
I'm glad you do, because I was starting to feel like I was being looked at as a racist for merely trying to explain why things are the way they are. While trying to defend my position, it was starting to feel more like I was encouraging Hollywood's whitewashing.

Hell, I'm one of the few people that actually did see BETTER LUCK TOMORROW and HAROLD AND KUMAR in the theatre.

Trust me, I don't think of myself as an Uncle Tom either. It would be awesome if there was an Asian equivalent to a Will Smith. It would confirm something about what the country always says it is.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 06:31 PM
Well, the only success I can think of is Rush Hour. Failures in my opinion that had many factors for success (eg popular lead actress or co-star) would be movies like Bulletproof Monk, The King and I, maybe the Tuxedo, what's the mvoie with Claire Forliani in it, The One, Romeo must Die, etc

Granted, they're also ALL except one kung fu movies. But I am literally hard pressed to think of an Asian led movie that wasn't one.

Yeah, that's what I mean. Outside of martial arts pics, I can't even think of any, so it's tough to make a claim either way.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 06:31 PM
What are the most popular shows that have even (as opposed to token) portrayals of races in America? I don't think they're very popular.

Right off hand, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, LOST, and ALLY MCBEAL all seem to fit the bill pretty well.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 06:32 PM
Right off hand, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, LOST, and ALLY MCBEAL all seem to fit the bill pretty well.

I think LOST is a strong example of how audiences might be more accepting of diversity than studio people think they are. I mean, when a pretty big number of people say their favorite character is the Iraqi guy, that says something.

And yes, my beloved ALLY MCBEAL did a great job on this, too.

Wastrel
03-30-2008, 06:35 PM
Trust me, I don't think of myself as an Uncle Tom either. It would be awesome if there was an Asian equivalent to a Will Smith. It would confirm something about what the country always says it is.

doesnt will smith himself confirm that?

bartleby
03-30-2008, 06:35 PM
It would be awesome if there was an Asian equivalent to a Will Smith. It would confirm something about what the country always says it is.

I think language and diction have really hurt here. Guys like Jet Li and Chow Yun Fat could have been huge action stars in American films if they had been better at delivering dialogue in English. That was one barrier that somebody like Will Smith didn't have to overcome.

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 06:36 PM
Right off hand, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, LOST, and ALLY MCBEAL all seem to fit the bill pretty well.

:) I haven't seen any of them.

BUT I was genuinely glad to see an Asian character, especially as male character, being billed on a very popular show. And this is how sensitive I am on the subject of how Asians are portrayed (although again, I still don't see Asian characters as being asexual - different subject) - I think Hiro is way to much of a charicature. I think most of his initial appeal comes from the fact that he's "so cute!"

dEnny!
03-30-2008, 06:37 PM
No one complained when the Kingpin was black!

...They didn't, did they?

Ha ha ha ha! Yes, some people did.

I thought the casting of the Kingpin was great, love that actor and he did a good job.

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 06:38 PM
I think language and diction have really hurt here. Guys like Jet Li and Chow Yun Fat could have been huge action stars in American films if they had been better at delivering dialogue in English. That was one barrier that somebody like Will Smith didn't have to overcome.

Well, I'm talking about someone who grew up here then. Or in a British colony (ahem). Someone like a John Cho.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 06:39 PM
:) I haven't seen any of them.

BUT I was genuinely glad to see an Asian character, especially as male character, being billed on a very popular show. And this is how sensitive I am on the subject of how Asians are portrayed (although again, I still don't see Asian characters as being asexual - different subject) - I think Hiro is way to much of a charicature. I think most of his initial appeal comes from the fact that he's "so cute!"

You're not alone on that one. Hiro is steeped in waaaay too many stereotypes. Not saying there's nothing good about the character, but it definitely isn't some kind of step forward in terms of the way Asians, and particularly the Japanese, are portrayed.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 06:41 PM
And this is how sensitive I am on the subject of how Asians are portrayed - I think Hiro is way to much of a charicature. I think most of his initial appeal comes from the fact that he's "so cute!"

Yeah, there was a reason I didn't list HEROES.


But those other three shows do a great job at approaching their Asian characters no differently than any other character but without whitewashing their ethnicity.

dEnny!
03-30-2008, 06:42 PM
I honestly don't think about whether the lead is Asian, white or black.

And the chance of me seeing this movie with a white lead or asian lead is about the same. I don't see why you wouldn't cast an Asian to play a guy who was Asian. Seriously, who cares. And I'm not a casting person, but I'm sure you could find a solid actor who is appealing that could pull off this role.

I did a quick google search, here's a good looking chap, Russell Wong

http://www.chssc.org/honorees/2006/russellwong.jpg

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 06:43 PM
You're not alone on that one. Hiro is steeped in waaaay too many stereotypes. Not saying there's nothing good about the character, but it definitely isn't some kind of step forward in terms of the way Asians, and particularly the Japanese, are portrayed.

Basically, it would be awesome to see a movie about an American guy who just happens to be Asian be accepted by the mass audience. Like Will Smith in I am Legend for example. Neville is not a "black" role.

But I don't see anyone making that first step now. Would it be a good thing for the country? Yeah. Would it take some balls to take it? Yeah. Are you probably going to lose money? Yeah. So do I expect a big Hollywood producer to take that risk? No.

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 06:48 PM
I honestly don't think about whether the lead is Asian, white or black.

And the chance of me seeing this movie with a white lead or asian lead is about the same. I don't see why you wouldn't cast an Asian to play a guy who was Asian. Seriously, who cares. And I'm not a casting person, but I'm sure you could find a solid actor who is appealing that could pull off this role.

I did a quick google search, here's a good looking chap, Russell Wong

http://www.chssc.org/honorees/2006/russellwong.jpg

If everyone thought like you and the movie makers knew that everyone thought like you, then there SHOULDN'T be a problem. If they still replaced Asian roles with white actors, then yeah, there's probably racism going on.

(By the way, Russell Wong's half white. I tell people he's what my kids would look like if I wasn't so ugly.)

NickT
03-30-2008, 06:49 PM
As an Asian guy, I actually agree with Bartleby's point of view. There is no way an Asian actor will get the chance to play a lead in a Hollywood blockbuster (or a movie with the intention of becoming one), not as long as there is any risk involved. And if you look at the track record of movies with Asian leads, even if surrounded by popular white actors, they still tend to fail much more than succeed.
I'd argue that this isn't really a movie that was a Blockbuster or intended to be one. It only cost $35m to make apparently.

NickT
03-30-2008, 06:50 PM
Well, the only success I can think of is Rush Hour. Failures in my opinion that had many factors for success (eg popular lead actress or co-star) would be movies like Bulletproof Monk, The King and I, maybe the Tuxedo, what's the mvoie with Claire Forliani in it, The One, Romeo must Die, etc

Granted, they're also ALL except one kung fu movies. But I am literally hard pressed to think of an Asian led movie that wasn't one. And THAT's not good either.

(Although coming from a different discussion, I still don't think Asian characters are portrayed as asexual. Just all ass-kickers.)
Replacement Killers, The Corruptor. Chow Yun Fat doesn't do Kung Fu, he shoots people :D

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 06:51 PM
I'd argue that this isn't really a movie that was a Blockbuster or intended to be one. It only cost $35m to make apparently.

Okay, not blockbuster, as much as a non-indie movie. IE a movie designed to make money. No one spends 35 million to send a message.

dEnny!
03-30-2008, 06:52 PM
If everyone thought like you and the movie makers knew that everyone thought like you, then there SHOULDN'T be a problem. If they still replaced Asian roles with white actors, then yeah, there's probably racism going on.

Russell Wong's half white. I tell people he's what my kids would look like if I wasn't so ugly.

It just seems ridiculous to me. I think a good movie is a good movie; a great cast is a great cast. And in today's even more diverse world how can you not find some hot asian actor to fill this role?

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 06:53 PM
Replacement Killers, The Corruptor. Chow Yun Fat doesn't do Kung Fu, he shoots people :D

Replacement Killers.... Loved that movie.

Chow Yun Fat has starred opposite two academy award winners in two unsuccessful movies. Someone tells a movie producer that and I could probably guess who he'd blame.

edit: (Or she... Gale Anne Hurd is one of the best for example)

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 06:55 PM
It just seems ridiculous to me. I think a good movie is a good movie; a great cast is a great cast. And in today's even more diverse world how can you not find some hot asian actor to fill this role?

It IS ridiculous! I absolutely agree.

But it doesn't make it inapplicable. If someone pitched a studio a series just like Arrested Development, or a movie like Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, do you think they'd care about how friggin' awesome they were, or the fact that they ultimately failed?

edit: or jesus, a comic book like The Order? That one still hurts like a kick to the nads.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 06:55 PM
Replacement Killers.... Loved that movie.

Chow Yun Fat has starred opposite two academy award winners in two unsuccessful movies. Someone tells a movie producer that and I could probably guess who he'd blame.

To be fair, Mira Sorvino didn't have much of a career opposite ANYONE post-award.

NickT
03-30-2008, 07:02 PM
:) I haven't seen any of them.

BUT I was genuinely glad to see an Asian character, especially as male character, being billed on a very popular show. And this is how sensitive I am on the subject of how Asians are portrayed (although again, I still don't see Asian characters as being asexual - different subject) - I think Hiro is way to much of a charicature. I think most of his initial appeal comes from the fact that he's "so cute!"
Personally I like Hiro because he is such a fun character. In a show which can be very miserable we have this guy who seems to be enjoying himself. He also has the best lines in the show.


Replacement Killers.... Loved that movie.

Chow Yun Fat has starred opposite two academy award winners in two unsuccessful movies. Someone tells a movie producer that and I could probably guess who he'd blame.
True. Oh, for another movie with him and John Woo :)

On the subject, I'm suprised Anthony Wong never did any US movies that I know of. He's done some great roles in some of the more popular Hong Kong movies (Hard Boiled and Infernal Affairs), and he's half English IIRC so it's possible that he speaks English.

bartleby
03-30-2008, 07:06 PM
Okay, not blockbuster, as much as a non-indie movie. IE a movie designed to make money. No one spends 35 million to send a message.


Yeah, this was apparently a project that Kevin Spacey pushed to get made because he liked the story, but it's not like he has any reason to be championing the plight of the Asian American actor. Had somebody like an Ang Lee or a Justin Lin or Wayne Wang taken interest in it, you might have seen an Asian American cast.

WillieLee
03-30-2008, 07:06 PM
how can you not find some hot asian actor to fill this role?

:mistrust:

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 07:08 PM
True. Oh, for another movie with him and John Woo :)

It was looking SO good for a while there. Then, no. Sad.

evophile
03-30-2008, 07:09 PM
Personally I like Hiro because he is such a fun character. In a show which can be very miserable we have this guy who seems to be enjoying himself. He also has the best lines in the show.


True. Oh, for another movie with him and John Woo :)

On the subject, I'm suprised Anthony Wong never did any US movies that I know of. He's done some great roles in some of the more popular Hong Kong movies (Hard Boiled and Infernal Affairs), and he's half English IIRC so it's possible that he speaks English.

Look for him in the Mummy 3!! :neutral:
Also starring Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh and the previously mentioned Russel Wong.

He was also in the Painted Veil with Ed Norton, which my GF said was no good.

NickT
03-30-2008, 07:11 PM
It was looking SO good for a while there. Then, no. Sad.
Want me to really annoy you? From a John Woo interview inside my DVD of A Better Tommorow, Tarantino was at one point up for writing them a script. Gah!

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 07:15 PM
Want me to really annoy you? From a John Woo interview inside my DVD of A Better Tommorow, Tarantino was at one point up for writing them a script. Gah!

Yeah, I'd heard that. Heartbreaker.

I did love STRANGLEHOLD, though!

NickT
03-30-2008, 07:17 PM
Yeah, I'd heard that. Heartbreaker.

I did love STRANGLEHOLD, though!
Never got round to playing that.

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 07:18 PM
Personally I like Hiro because he is such a fun character. In a show which can be very miserable we have this guy who seems to be enjoying himself. He also has the best lines in the show.


Oh, I love Hiro too. I think it's good that he actually had some depth and story, but that's why I said "initial" appeal. Can't make him conventionally good looking to the mass audience? Make him cute!

NickT
03-30-2008, 07:21 PM
Oh, I love Hiro too. I think it's good that he actually had some depth and story, but that's why I said "initial" appeal. Can't make him conventionally good looking to the mass audience? Make him cute!
Gotcha.

Taxman
03-30-2008, 07:34 PM
Examples of Asian leads bringing in good box office in Asian markets?

That would probably be the Asian Box Office.Examples of Asian leads in American films increasing Asian box office, and examples of this being significant enough to offset a weak performance in the North American market.

Nick Spencer
03-30-2008, 07:39 PM
Examples of Asian leads in American films increasing Asian box office, and examples of this being significant enough to offset a weak performance in the North American market.

That would be impossible given that Asians never get the lead in American films.

I can show how certain films do better as a result of having an Asian in the supporting cast, or being based in an Asian city.

Taxman
03-30-2008, 08:14 PM
That would be impossible given that Asians never get the lead in American films.

I can show how certain films do better as a result of having an Asian in the supporting cast, or being based in an Asian city.i continue to find the entire argument compelling.

On interesting thing I thought of though. Asian who have become American sports stars have become phenoms in their home countries. All of these guys have been native to that country though. I wonder whether an Asian American star would come close to the same popularity.

dEnny!
03-30-2008, 08:23 PM
:mistrust:

I'm just saying.

You know how popular hot Asian women are in this country.

Taxman
03-30-2008, 08:25 PM
I'm just saying.

You know how popular hot Asian women are in this country.Wow, I don't think I want to go where you seem to be going.

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 08:30 PM
i continue to find the entire argument compelling.

On interesting thing I thought of though. Asian who have become American sports stars have become phenoms in their home countries. All of these guys have been native to that country though. I wonder whether an Asian American star would come close to the same popularity.

Probably NOT.

I think the biggest Asian American talent is probably a soccer player named Brian Ching. I really don't think he gets any press from his "native country," because technically, America is is native country.

Think about Jim Lee. He is arguably the biggest Comic book artist in America. Given how big comics as a medium is in Korea, it's weird how few people have heard of him there, even though he was born there.

dEnny!
03-30-2008, 08:34 PM
Wow, I don't think I want to go where you seem to be going.

Umm...could someone help me out of this hole I seem to be digging. :surrend:

Taxman
03-30-2008, 09:21 PM
Probably NOT.

I think the biggest Asian American talent is probably a soccer player named Brian Ching. I really don't think he gets any press from his "native country," because technically, America is is native country.

Think about Jim Lee. He is arguably the biggest Comic book artist in America. Given how big comics as a medium is in Korea, it's weird how few people have heard of him there, even though he was born there.I don't think we have seen an Asian American player at a high enough level to know for sure. I know there have been at least two in the NHL and there was a line backer who was awesome at Texas A&M and had an NFL career. There are the only ones that I can think of.

A.Huerta
03-30-2008, 10:00 PM
Brandon Lee was the last asian guy to make an impact... then he got shot. :(

ERNIE_E
03-30-2008, 10:11 PM
Probably NOT.

I think the biggest Asian American talent is probably a soccer player named Brian Ching. I really don't think he gets any press from his "native country," because technically, America is is native country.

Think about Jim Lee. He is arguably the biggest Comic book artist in America. Given how big comics as a medium is in Korea, it's weird how few people have heard of him there, even though he was born there.

The biggest Asian-American sports star is arguably Michael Chang, the former tennis player. When he won the French Open twice I think?? Well, at least once, that was huge and became the face of American Tennis for a short while along with McEnroe until Courier and Agassi came in and Chang went into obscurity with constant nagging injuries. I'm not sure how big he was though outside the US. I'm sure in France he was known, and in England. But in China? Who knows. Not sure Tennis is a really big sport there. I could be wrong though. But my brother and I loved watching him during his run.

Dat Nyguen (sp?) LB for the Cowboys enjoyed a relatively brief but solid career. He was a monster in college but it was great to see an Asian make it in football on that level.

And there's been females like Kristi Yamaguchi but we're talking about males here.

The next big Asian talent from Asia is in a 16 yr old Golf phenom from Japan I think. He's single-handedly influenced the golf-related business to an increase of 55 million US dollars (lots of yen!!). He's under 6 foot and is driving the ball consistently at 290 yards.

Speaking of comics though... Carmine Infantino (Flash) was probably one of the first Filipinos to make big waves as a comic book artist. After him, there's been a constant talent search to seek out artists there. Flips love comics, and they love to draw them. But a completely different scale of entertainment when you're comparing comics to films, but Infantino opened the door for a wealth of Filipino artists.

ERNIE_E
03-30-2008, 10:22 PM
Look for him in the Mummy 3!! :neutral:
Also starring Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh and the previously mentioned Russel Wong.

He was also in the Painted Veil with Ed Norton, which my GF said was no good.

Painted Veil wasn't a bad film. I thought it was solid.

ERNIE_E
03-30-2008, 10:23 PM
Umm...could someone help me out of this hole I seem to be digging. :surrend:

"You play with matches, you get burned!"
:)

ERNIE_E
03-30-2008, 10:29 PM
I don't think we have seen an Asian American player at a high enough level to know for sure. I know there have been at least two in the NHL and there was a line backer who was awesome at Texas A&M and had an NFL career. There are the only ones that I can think of.

My sister bought me and her son front row tickets to a minor league hockey game and we saw one of the forwards on our home team with this tallish, stocky Asian guy with really long hair ripping shit up. We never go to hockey games but we fucking loved it. We were banging on glass and yelling out "Asian-Man!" We loved it when he was checking guys, starting fights and scoring goals. We didn't know anyone from a hole in the wall but we had a hero that night. IT was just cool to see an Asian guy out on the ice.

ERNIE_E
03-30-2008, 10:31 PM
Probably NOT.

I think the biggest Asian American talent is probably a soccer player named Brian Ching. I really don't think he gets any press from his "native country," because technically, America is is native country.

Think about Jim Lee. He is arguably the biggest Comic book artist in America. Given how big comics as a medium is in Korea, it's weird how few people have heard of him there, even though he was born there.

Actually I said that the biggest one was Michael Chang but how I forgot Tiger Woods is beyond me. This guy is half Thai and everyone thinks he's 100% African-American.

Boris the Blade
03-30-2008, 10:37 PM
I think that the amount of Gaysians on TV is also far too few. There's Lloyd from Entourage and...?

ERNIE_E
03-30-2008, 10:43 PM
Okay, not blockbuster, as much as a non-indie movie. IE a movie designed to make money. No one spends 35 million to send a message.

But that's the thing at debate here. They are sending a message. Hollywood does not think Asian Males make money (outside of stereotypes) especially when they've casted an unknown for the lead character. I think an Asian lead would not have cost that much at the box office, given an unknown in the lead. This film still had Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, and Laurence Fishburne all in supporting roles. It's the concept that got people out to see this film, so I don't think there was the need to change that.

ERNIE_E
03-30-2008, 10:51 PM
B.D. Wong (Oz, is one TV actor who's an accomplished stage and screen actor who has done right in his career. He would have been way too old for this role, but I like him in a really gritty/cool lead surrounded by much bigger/well-known supporting actors and I think you get a hit.

I also really like Michael Paul Chan (The Closer, Boomtown, Arrested Development), not lead material, but I've always enjoyed his character work.

*sigh* I guess we'll never have another Jonathan Ke Quan (Goonies, Indy Jones)

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 10:56 PM
The biggest Asian-American sports star is arguably Michael Chang, the former tennis player. When he won the French Open twice I think?? Well, at least once, that was huge and became the face of American Tennis for a short while along with McEnroe until Courier and Agassi came in and Chang went into obscurity with constant nagging injuries. I'm not sure how big he was though outside the US. I'm sure in France he was known, and in England. But in China? Who knows. Not sure Tennis is a really big sport there. I could be wrong though. But my brother and I loved watching him during his run.

Dat Nyguen (sp?) LB for the Cowboys enjoyed a relatively brief but solid career. He was a monster in college but it was great to see an Asian make it in football on that level.


Heh.

Michael Chang was pretty big in Hong Kong where I grew up, when I was growing up. I had a pretty sheltered lifestyle there though... my bringing up I think was more British influenced than Chinese, so I don't know if he was popular with the mainland population.

When I tried out for football for the University of Texas, Dat Nguyen had just got done with an All-American career, and had been drafted by the Cowboys. Call it racial-profiling, but although I wanted to play fullback, the head coack himself (Mack Brown) immediately pegged me at Linebacker and called me Baby Dat because I weighed 235 pounds at the time. And then they saw me run. I didn't last long after that. :)

I think Brian Ching is the best current athlete. And I know it sounds bad, but because Tiger isn't perceived primarily as Asian, even if he is as much Asian as any other ethnicity, I don't actually count him as Asian. I don't imagine he'd check the "Asian/Pacific Islander" circle when doing his SATs let's say, at least not just that. It IS a lot about perception. Russell Wong is perceived as being Asian long before Tiger Woods, even though they're equally "Asian".

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 10:58 PM
But that's the thing at debate here. They are sending a message. Hollywood does not think Asian Males make money (outside of stereotypes) especially when they've casted an unknown for the lead character. I think an Asian lead would not have cost that much at the box office, given an unknown in the lead. This film still had Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, and Laurence Fishburne all in supporting roles. It's the concept that got people out to see this film, so I don't think there was the need to change that.

Yeah, but that's secondary to the studios, if that. It's not their intended message, in that they didn't spend $35 million to raise social awareness or spread any kind of racial equality message, good or bad.

ERNIE_E
03-30-2008, 10:59 PM
Heh.

Michael Chang was pretty big in Hong Kong where I grew up, when I was growing up. I had a pretty sheltered lifestyle there though... my bringing up I think was more British influenced than Chinese, so I don't know if he was popular with the mainland population.

When I tried out for football for the University of Texas, Dat Nguyen had just got done with an All-American career, and had been drafted by the Cowboys. Call it racial-profiling, but although I wanted to play fullback, the head coack himself (Mack Brown) immediately pegged me at Linebacker and called me Baby Dat because I weighed 235 pounds at the time. And then they saw me run. I didn't last long after that. :)

I wrestled for 3 years and was pretty good at that as was a few other Filipinos, but I made my sports mark as a cross country runner which I did into early college. It was hard to hang with all those tall college runners but for a while I held my own. Loved Dat Nguyen!!! It's interesting Michael Chang's impact across seas. I always wondered how he was received outside of here.

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 11:06 PM
I wrestled for 3 years and was pretty good at that as was a few other Filipinos, but I made my sports mark as a cross country runner which I did into early college. It was hard to hang with all those tall college runners but for a while I held my own. Loved Dat Nguyen!!! It's interesting Michael Chang's impact across seas. I always wondered how he was received outside of here.

COMPLETE and utter aside.

A friend of mine told me he once played basketball with Nguyen. Apparently, he's not a shade above 5'10". He was under the basket on one end when the ball was stolen by a guy on the other team at mid court, and was racing towards the opposite basket for a dunk. Dat chased him the length of the court and blocked the dunk above the rim.

That is why I didn't make the college team. Them college athletes are good at the sports. I suck.

ERNIE_E
03-30-2008, 11:19 PM
Yeah, but that's secondary to the studios, if that. It's not their intended message, in that they didn't spend $35 million to raise social awareness or spread any kind of racial equality message, good or bad.

I'm not saying you maintain the Asian lead to spread racial equality. I just think you do it to keep the story close to the inspiration. Who knows? maybe whoever would have been in that lead be good enough that someone else sees something in him and casts him as another lead. You just don't know.

Making that big decision to change the lead character's heritage to me, is sending a message from the studios: "Sorry, America doesn't want to see Asian guys, we think an unknown white lead will make us more money than any good Asian actor." And honestly I don't believe that. But we're spinning in circles here. I see it as a big "fuck you" to Asian actors, but others don't. Everyone's entitled to their opinion.

People are willing to watch equally cool films starring British actors with THICK accents who are relatively unknown here, (trainspotting, boondock Saints, Snatch, Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, any Jason Stantham film) I just don't see any logical reason not to see if Asian-American can be the man.

If I saw more studios/writers make that decision and see a trend of Asian leads not being able to bring in money because it was their lack of sex appeal or ability to act out a wonderful script, that would be one thing. I'd be willing to admit, "Asian guys can't be leads in American films." But Hollywood has done little to lead me to think otherwise due to the little lead work done by Asians or when they give away the few roles taylor-made for them.

Run-BMC
03-30-2008, 11:31 PM
I'm not saying you maintain the Asian lead to spread racial equality. I just think you do it to keep the story close to the inspiration. Who knows? maybe whoever would have been in that lead be good enough that someone else sees something in him and casts him as another lead. You just don't know.

Making that big decision to change the lead character's heritage to me, is sending a message from the studios: "Sorry, America doesn't want to see Asian guys, we think an unknown white lead will make us more money than any good Asian actor." And honestly I don't believe that. But we're spinning in circles here. I see it as a big "fuck you" to Asian actors, but others don't. Everyone's entitled to their opinion.

People are willing to watch equally cool films starring British actors with THICK accents who are relatively unknown here, (trainspotting, boondock Saints, Snatch, Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, any Jason Stantham film) I just don't see any logical reason not to see if Asian-American can be the man.

If I saw more studios/writers make that decision and see a trend of Asian leads not being able to bring in money because it was their lack of sex appeal or ability to act out a wonderful script, that would be one thing. I'd be willing to admit, "Asian guys can't be leads in American films." But Hollywood has done little to lead me to think otherwise due to the little lead work done by Asians or when they give away the few roles taylor-made for them.

You're absolutely right. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. It almost needs to be broken by accident. That's why I'm really hoping John Cho totally kicks ass and steals the Star Trek movie. It's why I was hoping for a big role for Ken Watanabe in Batman after seeing him in the Last Samurai, and was really disappointed that he had like two lines, and one of them was "hiiiyaaah!"

But I think we really do have different opinions, especially if you see English actors in American movies as a reason for studios to think that Asian actors should succeed as well.

ERNIE_E
03-30-2008, 11:44 PM
But I think we really do have different opinions, especially if you see English actors in American movies as a reason for studios to think that Asian actors should succeed as well.

mmmm Not that I think necessarily that they should succeed as well based on accents alone. Perhaps I didn't state it all that well. I know that the look of the Asian is probably the biggest hurdle facing the Asian actor (for reasons I don't know) but I know that Asian actors who didn't grow up in this country can't pull off the dialogue AS well, but it's another obstacle where they've just got to push through that much harder. Obviously Asian American actors who grew up here in America with English as their first language should not have to worry about that as a hurdle at all. Just trying to think of all the reasons Hollywood would think why they don't think it could work. I'm all for John Cho in getting roles but this guy isn't the only good Asian actor out there.

Taxman
03-31-2008, 07:15 AM
The biggest Asian-American sports star is arguably Michael Chang, the former tennis player. Forgot all about him. He was from Fullerton and came from out of nowhere to win that first major. That made him big, but he wasn't really able to become the sort of perennial contender which tends to make one a super star.

WillieLee
03-31-2008, 07:22 AM
I think it's more disturbing that Guy Aoki attacks Jeff Ma because he has no problem being portrayed by a white actor.

Evan the Shaggy
03-31-2008, 07:37 AM
Have you read the book? The main character is not at all an Asian stereotype. Yes, he is good at Math, but he isn't the stereotypical Asian nerd.

I guarantee you that regardless of this fact, if it had been done with an entirely asian cast, there would be an article exactly like this except "scolding" the supposed "asian stereotype that the movie presents".

Its a lose/lose situation for the studio.