Hollywood has long been a dominate player in the film making game. Thousands of their films are seen by millions around the world. So with this being the case you would assume such a spotlight player, would set a prime example of how to be the best at the craft of movie making, right? I mean Hollywood has it all. Some of the greatest actors, directors, writers, television shows, reality shows, etc. One would assume that with all of these tools at their disposal, you couldn’t possible have any problems…right? Unfortunately, Hollywood also has a long history of white washing certain films to cater to a larger demographic. They believe that if they have a well-known “white” face on the screen, audiences are more likely to spend their hard earned money to see it. After all, a lot of what the world knows about America is oddly enough based on what they see through our films and television. So when a white actor is consistently displayed again and again for decades and decades, well that’s what they come to expect.
The problem with the recent movie, Ghost in the Shell, is that…well it’s not a “white” film at all. The film is actually based off of the famous Japanese manga and anime, Ghost in the Shell. So when you have a high prolific actor like Scarlett Johansson being cast as the lead girl who is supposed to be Japanese, you’re going to have some controversy undoubtedly. The problem is not necessarily that she was casted, she is a talented and gorgeous actress without a doubt, BUT when you have a film that is based off of a Japanese world that is supposed to have Japanese characters, and a Japanese actress wasn’t even considered, that’s where feathers are rattled. The studio executives believe a high prolific white actress would sell better than an Asian actress.
The problem with this theory is it is completely false. A lot of the time, yes, white leads do tend to better, BUT that’s not always the case. We all know of the African American box office champs Will Smith, Denzel Washington, even Scandal star Kerry Washington pull numbers. Assuming that a minority cannot pull the same kind of stats for the box office is completely ridiculous and shows Hollywood is still stuck in the past. Asia as a whole is nothing but Asian actors casted in their films, and they sell out box offices. What Hollywood continues to do is unacceptable. Especially for films like this, the line needs to be drawn somewhere. Even if you look at the film the Lone Ranger from years back, Johnny Depp was cast to play Native American, Tanto. The film actually bombed at the box office and the numbers reported back were disastrous. That’s saying a lot especially for someone as famous as Depp. Would it have been different if it were cast different? We’ll never know.
Ghost in the Shell publisher Sam Yoshiba, acknowledged the casting and stated; “I never expected a Japanese to be cast in the film.” How sad is that? It’s gotten to the point where people are no longer surprised by these racial casting decisions. Hollywood really needs to reevaluate itself and take a good look in the mirror. They are constantly on the world stage, and everything they do is seen by everyone. Let’s not forget Hollywood is also a representation of America which is a representation of its people. Which makes no sense that this sort of thing happens given how diverse America is. Only we can create change, even if it’s one film at a time.