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For most filmmakers, casting the lovely and talented Emma Stone in a movie is a recipe for success; but for Cameron Crowe, the director of “Aloha,” the decision has resulted in a LOT of recent criticism.
Why? The reason doesn’t stem from Stone’s acting abilities, but her racial background. In “Aloha,” Stone plays Allison Ng, a character described as mixed race, with a half-Chinese, half-Hawaiian father and a white mother.
And while Emma Stone might be many things, she is definitely not Asian. When details of her character’s racial background emerged, many saw the casting of the blonde haired, blue- eyed actress as another example of “white-washing” in Hollywood. In fact, for a film set in Hawaii, “Aloha” has no Asian actors featured in prominent roles.
Today (June 3), Crowe posted a statement on his official site addressing criticisms of his latest film. “Thank you so much for all the impassioned comments regarding the casting of the wonderful Emma Stone in the part of Allison Ng. I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice,” he wrote. “As far back as 2007, Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one. A half-Chinese father was meant to show the surprising mix of cultures often prevalent in Hawaii. Extremely proud of her unlikely heritage, she feels personally compelled to over-explain every chance she gets. The character was based on a real-life, red-headed local who did just that.”
Crowe continued: “Whether that story point felt hurtful or humorous has been, of course, the topic of much discussion. However I am so proud that in the same movie, we employed many Asian-American, Native-Hawaiian and Pacific-Islanders, both before and behind the camera… including Dennis “Bumpy” Kanahele, and his village, and many other locals who worked closely in our crew and with our script to help ensure authenticity.
We were extremely proud to present the island, the locals and the film community with many jobs for over four months. Emma Stone was chief among those who did tireless research, and if any part of her fine characterization has caused consternation and controversy, I am the one to blame.”
What do you think? Is it cool that Emma Stone was cast in “Aloha,” or does Hollywood need a reality check when it comes to race?