Ridley Scott Accused (Again) of Whitewashing His Movies via Latest, ‘The Martian’

Famed filmmaker Ridley Scott, whose roster of gems includes Alien and Thelma and Louise, is under fire again for his latest offering – The Martian starring Matt Damon. According to the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, Scott didn’t hold true to the identities of the characters in the book authored by Andy Weir and instead picked Caucasian actors to embody the roles.

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MANAA founding president, Guy Aoki didn’t hold back when calling out the Hollywood heavyweight in an open letter for succumbing yet again to the industry standard at the expense of perfectly gifted minorities who always seem to garner the short end of the stick – “This feelgood movie, which has attracted Oscar buzz, shouldn’t get any awards for casting”.

The anger stems from the fact that actors Mackenzie Davis and Chiwetel EJiofor both got assigned roles that were according to the book – clearly borne of Asian characters.

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This isn’t the first time that Scott has been called out for taking the safe road by opting for big name stars instead of risking the consequences of literally playing by the book. His 2014 biblical extravaganza, starring Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton came under intense fire, which he deflected by explaining the shallow business of show business. “I’ve got no regrets on anything with Exodus”. “I’m very proud of it but when they start saying, “Well gee, shouldn’t Moses have been black and shouldn’t the wife be Ethiopian”, well I don’t know, I wasn’t there. And also, I would never have got it, it would have been limited”

Whitewashing roles isn’t a new trend but rather an easy cop out to appease studio heads that are blinded by dollar signs and franchise envy. There is no indication that this destructive practice will cease anytime soon.

But the current president of MANAA – Aki Aleong isn’t willing to remain silent, “This insulting practice of whitewashing has got to stop”. “Alarmingly, it has been increasing in frequency. Today’s audiences expect multi-racial casts in entertainment, as they reflect the multicultural environment in which they’ve grown up”.