Monday, August 8, 2016

Chinese audiences love white people as the stars of movies

So, I'm watching the trailer for The Great Wall where Matt Damon saves the ancient Chinese from whatever the Great Wall was built to keep out. Mexican illegal immigrants? I kid The Donald. (Trailer for The Great Wall below.) And as a Chinese American, it bothers me that a major movie set in China needs a white guy to be the star. Should I ask, "Where would Asian civilization be without the white man?" Yeah, Republican Cong. Stephen King (Iowa) you made the point that whites gave the most to civilization.

Then I found this out. The movie is directed by a Chinese filmmaker, Zhang Yimou. And the movie is partly produced by the Chinese. (China Film Group Corporation) Okay, then I noticed more "whitewashing" of upcoming films. Actress Tild Swinton is playing The Ancient One in "Doctor Strange." That character is supposed to be a Tibetan man. Then there's Scarlett Johansson who's playing the lead in the Japanese anime classic Ghost in the Shell. Her character is supposed to be Japanese.

So what's going on here? It's not all racism in Hollywood. China is a big market for movies. There are changes to movies to appease a Chinese audience. ScreenRant: 15 Movies That Made Drastic Changes For A Chinese Audience You would think that more Asian actors would be cast for those markets.

I think Bill Maher was onto something here when he said on his HBO show Real Time this, "The dirty little secret is most movies are made now with an eye to the foreign market, and Asians really are racist.” He added,

“I’m just honest. They don’t want to see black people generally in their movies. The Hollywood executives are, like, ‘We’re not racist, we just have to pretend to be racists because we’re capitalists. We want to sell our movies in China (and) they don’t like Kevin Hart.’ ”

From Jan. 22, 2016 Real Time with Bill Maher reported by Deadline

Being racially Chinese, and an American, I can't dispute Maher's notion. I don't believe the great number of Chinese are racists to non-whites but it exists. (See Huffington Post article.) Growing up, I heard the Taishanese Chinese around me speak of black people as "Black Ghosts." Trust me it's not a compliment. So, maybe the Chinese like their movie stars "white." Maybe that's their idea of human beauty. And it's their prerogative. But in doing so, cinema is going to be less diversified.

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