‘The Martian’ Slammed Over ‘White-Washing’ Asian-American Roles

I saw ‘The Martian’ opening weekend and loved the movie. I only learned of the movie a few months ago when I started to see the movie trailer on TV. I never read the the original book, but recently I was a little disappointed and disturbed to learn about the white-washing of some of the characters in the movie:

The_Martian_race_bendingThe Media Action Network For Asian-Americans has criticized director Ridley Scott over “white-washing” Asian-American roles in “The Martian.” … MANAA noted that Weir describes NASA’s director of Mars operations Dr. Venkat Kapoor as an Asian-Indian character who identifies religiously as being “a Hindu.” The group pointed out that in Scott’s film, his name is changed to Vincent Kapoor, and he’s played by British black actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who says his father was “a Hindu” but that his mother was “Baptist.”

MANAA also noted that Mindy Park, described by Weir as Korean-American, is played in the movie by Mackenzie Davis, a white, blonde actress.”

I’m all for artistic discretion, but when all the other major characters are maintained authentically to the book, you kind of have to wonder the motivation for the changes. Clearly a case of racebending.

But The Martian is one of the best movies I’ve seen recently, if not ever, so I’ll probably watch the movie again, probably in IMAX.


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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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