When Marvel Studios announced they had cast Tilda Swinton to star as the Ancient One in Doctor Strange, there was controversial shock and surprise, in forms both good and bad.
On one hand, many people respected her acting skills and couldn’t wait to see her contribution to a Marvel film, not to mention the fact that a woman would play a role that was famously a man *cue feminists remarks*. On the other hand, it didn’t matter that the gender was swapped for the film, as an Asian character has been turned into a white person.
The versatile actress reached out to American stand up comedienne/singer/songwriter, Margaret Cho, to discuss the issue of “whitewashing” in an e-mail exchange after taking offense to the comedienne’s backlash over her casting as the Ancient One in the Marvel film.
In an unprecedented move, Tilda Swinton released the string of emails to the press, making the American-Asian actress question Tilda’s motivations, “I don’t even know why she did that because it doesn’t make her seem like she’s really getting her point across.” Margeret Cho joked that the only reason Tilda Swinton posted the emails was a defensive act, saying, “That’s what happens when white people get mad.”
However, the comedian doesn’t hold anything against Swinton, as she pointed out, “I don’t have any sort of issues with her.” She added. “I think her casting in Doctor Strange was not the best. I think she’s a great actress, I think that this particular role should have been played by an Asian American or an Asian. An Asian role should be played by an Asian actor.”
But Tilda isn’t the only actor the comedienne took issue with. Margeret Cho called out all white actors who have been given the opportunity to play the role of an Asian character such as Matt Damon for the fantasy film The Great Wall calling it bulls–t and that nothing makes any sense. Scarlett Johansson didn’t miss out the trashing party as well, for starring in anime-based live action movie Ghost In the Shell.
While the Golden Globe Awards did show some diversity after last year’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy, there are still strides to be made. “I just can’t understand why Hollywood doesn’t really embrace these ideas, these Asian actors playing Asian roles. It’s such a backwards thing as Asians should be playing Asian roles,” she murmured,”The movie scene is certainly better now, but there’s no Asian people. I don’t know why that is or when it’s going to change.”
Well, it seems like racial issues are still being highly debated in Hollywood. What do you think? Is it finally the time for them to give Asians a chance? 🙂