Ed Skrein in The Transporter Refueled

In a possibly unprecedented win against whitewashing, Ed Skrein has stepped down from playing Major Ben Daimio in the Neil Marshall-helmed reboot of Hellboy.

The Japanese-American character had become a source of controversy when Skrein, a white British actor, was cast in the role last week. Criticisms of whitewashing mounted against the casting until finally Skrein announced on Monday that he has decided to leave the project.

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ali wong and randall park romantic comedy

Asian-Americans aren’t necessarily well-represented in Hollywood. In fact, you could say they’re pretty poorly represented, with few lead roles written for Asian actors, while plenty of those originally Asian roles are given to white actors in a little phenomenon called “whitewashing.” There’s a whole stigma around Asian men being believable romantic leads due to centuries of media and pop culture emasculating them, but that’s a whole conversation I’ll get to later.

But everything’s coming up, Millhouse. First, we had The Big Sick and Master of None showcasing South Asian men in complex lead roles, romantic and otherwise. Soon, we’ll be getting Crazy Rich Asians, a rom-com which boasts an all-Asian cast. And now, Netflix is gifting us with another Asian-American-led rom-com starring the always hilarious Ali Wong and Randall Park.

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Hollywood adaptations of asian movies

A lot was riding on the success of Ghost in the Shell. The upcoming wave of anime adaptations such as Death Note and Akira, Paramount Pictures’ chance for a new sci-fi franchise led by Scarlett Johansson, and the chance to stymie the steadily-growing outcry against whitewashing.

But when Ghost in the Shell limped into theaters last weekend, bringing in a meager $20 million domestically on a $110 million budget, that may have spelled the end for Hollywood adaptations of anime classics. But this is not the first time Hollywood has tried and failed to remake a critically and financially successful film based on an Asian property — nor will it be the last time. The question I’m interested in answering is whether or not these Hollywood adaptations of Asian movies actually make money. Let’s look at the numbers. 

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Marvel diversity

Marvel Comics has been praised recently for its uptick in diverse characters, the executives are now blaming diversity for the downturn in comic book sales.

The Marvel Retailers Summit was intended as a meeting between Marvel executives and retailers, but when Marvel allowed website ICv2 to report on the summit, it spawned a surge of outrageous headlines about Marvel’s business practices, including the inner circle’s real thoughts on the push for diversity.

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Netflix Iron Fist Lewis Tan Finn Jones

(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, and opinionated about something that makes us very happy…or fills us with indescribable rage. In this edition: why Marvel’s Iron Fist really blew it by not casting Lewis Tan in the lead role.)

Could Iron Fist have been received better if it had cast an Asian-American as Danny Rand?

Until now, that was a pipe dream for many critics of the latest Marvel Netflix show, who lambasted the series for perpetuating the myth of the white savior by choosing to stay loyal to the comic-book depiction of Rand: as a white, blonde outsider who can punch things with his magic fist. But it was recently revealed that half-Chinese actor Lewis Tan, who played one-off villain Zhou Cheng in episode eight of Iron Fist, was on hold for the part until they ultimately cast Game of Thrones alum Finn Jones.

Let me take a deep breath. I have a lot to say about this.

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