Emma Stone On "The Older-Man Problem" & Whitewashing In Hollywood

Photo: NurPhoto/REX USA
"My eyes have been opened in many ways this year," Emma Stone acknowledged to the Australian press, opening up for the first time about the multiracial casting controversy that erupted this spring when she starred in Cameron Crowe’s Aloha as Allison Ng, a character of supposed Chinese-Hawaiian-Swedish descent, despite the fact that she is not even the littlest bit Asian-American. But rather than lose herself to the controversy, the charmingly relatable actress has chosen to turn the cringe-worthy casting decision into an important learning experience.

"I’ve become the butt of many jokes," she told an Australian news site. "I’ve learned on a macro level about the insane history of whitewashing in Hollywood and how prevalent the problem truly is. It’s ignited a conversation that’s very important." (Native-American fans of Peter Pan disappointed by the casting of Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily likely agree.)

While Stone did display her loyalty to Crowe with a small statement to the Aussie news outlet in defense of the casting choice — "The character was not supposed to look like her background which was a quarter Hawaiian and a quarter Chinese." — she did not shy away from also discussing Hollywood's frustrating tendency to cast young women such as herself as the romantic interests for much older men.

"It’s rampant in Hollywood and it’s definitely been that way for a long time, both culturally and in movies," Stone said of the all-too-common dramatic on-screen age gaps. (The numbers don't lie.) But in her latest movie, Woody Allen's Irrational Man, "the film is contingent upon the age difference; the movie is about that disparity.”

So what do we do? "There’s a lot of conversation about how we want to see people represented on screen and what we need to change as a business to reflect culture in a clearer way and not in an idealized way," Stone told the news site. "There are some flaws in the system..."

Well put, Stone. When a 37-year-old Maggie Gyllenhaal is deemed too old to play opposite a man of 55, it's safe to say the system is flawed.

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