Whitewashing in Hollywood has been at the forefront of our television and movie coverage for awhile now, as it should be. The desire to create a culturally and racially rich and diverse community of actors should be a priority in the writers' room, on the set floor, and beyond. Three titles come to mind when it comes to whitewashing, or the act of casting a caucasian actor to play a role originally intended (from source material) to be performed by an actor of another race — most recently, Asian. There's Ghost in the Shell, Netflix's Iron Fist, and The Great Wall (although the latter is a bit more white savior than whitewashing). The reaction to the main characters being played by white actors has, for the most part, been probing into why an Asian lead was not used. Not doing so does a disservice to the unity and clarity of the film (even a studio head agrees). But now, actor Daniel Wu is sharing his take on the buzz-worthy controversies.
The 42-year-old star of AMC's Into the Badlands recently sat down with ScreenAnarchy.com to talk about the second season of the post-apocalyptic martial arts action series, and as a Chinese-American actor in Hollywood (he was born in California), the actor was asked about the coverage of the whitewashing projects. The site asked him about Iron Fist's "controversy or cultural appropriation issue" and Wu had a totally new take that not many have written or spoken about.
"I think that's people [getting] a little too precious [with the whitewashing controversy], because originally the character was written white,” Wu told the site. “It wasn’t like it was a whitewashing thing. It’s not like you are talking about a Ghost in the Shell issue, right? And I still don’t actually buy the Ghost in the Shell whitewashing issue either, and I certainly don’t buy into the cultural appropriation bullshit because that’s saying that only Asians are allowed to do martial arts. Then that means only Black people can play basketball and rap? That means Jeremy Lin shouldn’t be playing basketball? And Eminem shouldn’t be rapping? That’s bullshit, you know."
Wu continued, adding that Asian Americans should focus their anger on something else: " So I know Asian Americans are angry, but they should calm down and choose the correct fight in that case – I agree that Marvel missed the chance of doing something interesting and casting against the race – they could have done that – and that would have given them some credit, but they didn’t, so what are you going to do about it?"