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Asian-American group accuses The Martian of “white-washing” key roles

Mackenzie Davis as Mindy Park, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, playing Dr. Vincent (originally Venkat) Kapoor, in The Martian

An Asian-American advocacy and watchdog group has called out Ridley Scott’s The Martian for casting non-Asian actors in parts that were originally written as Asian-Indian and Korean-American in Andy Weir’s book. The group, the Media Action Network For Asian-Americans, claims that, by casting Mackenzie Davis and Chiwetel Ejiofor as characters originally written as Mindy Park and Venkat Kapoor, Scott was denying Asian actors “a great opportunity to give meaty roles to talented Asian-American actors.” (Group president Guy Aoki also claimed that alternative casting would have enabled the Asian-American community to “become a greater part of the rescue team,” creating the impression that he might think Matt Damon actually got stranded on Mars.)

The group went on to cite last year’s troubles over the casting of white actor’s in Scott’s Exodus: Gods And Kings, going so far as to ask, “Was Ridley Scott not comfortable having two sets of Asian Americans talking to each other?” They also called out a number of other recent instances of Hollywood “white-washing,” including The Last Airbender, Aloha, and Tilda Swinton’s upcoming role as wizened magical Asian person The Ancient One in Doctor Strange, while reiterating that the practice is “insulting,” and “has got to stop.”


[via Variety]

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