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Hollywood Just Cast Yet Another White Actor in a Non-White Role
Today in ugh: Shameless actor Zach McGowan, a white dude, will portray real-life native Hawaiian war hero Ben Kanahele in Gabriel Robertson's upcoming Pearl Harbor historical drama Ni'ihau,Deadline reports.
The real Ben Kanahele was awarded the Medal for Merit and a Purple Heart for helping stop an enemy takeover of Hawaii's Ni'ihau island by killing Imperial Japanese Navy pilot Shigenori Nishikaichi. Kanahele's on-screen portrayal is the kind of substantial, heroic role that Asian and Polynesian actors have been systematically denied for decades.
Despite the public outcry that surrounded Scarlett Johansson's casting in this year's Japanese manga-adaptation film Ghost in the Shell, and Emma Stone's portrayal of a Chinese-Hawaiian character in Cameron Crowe's 2015 rom-com Aloha, it seems Hollywood is doubling down on casting white actors to portray non-white characters—and Twitter isn't happy about it:
Ben Kanahele is a real person & hero. He has a MEDAL OF HONOR (his wife Kealoha—also a hero, great role for Emma Stone!—went unrecognized).— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) May 9, 2017