Published Apr 26, 2017Hollywood's long history of recasting non-white characters with white actors has been a hot-button issue of late, with everything from Ghost in the Shell to Doctor Strange to The Walking Dead. Up next, it looks like Netflix may have to answer for its casting choices.
The streaming service has partnered with ABC and TVNZ to develop The Monkey King. The 10-episode show is an adaptation of Journey to the West, which previously existed as a Japanese television show. Both series are based on the Chinese novel Journey to the West.
The book was written by Ming Dynasty novelist and poet Wu Cheng'en and is counted among the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.
A cast photo from The Monkey King has drawn the ire of online commenters, however, many of whom accuse the show of "whitewashing."
As YOMYOMF points out, the show's cast isn't entirely white. Here's a statement on the main actor's backgrounds:
Now before you call me a race traitor or denier, please hear me out. Checking the background of the characters one of them is a hapa, half Asian – Chai Hansen (who plays the main character of Monkey), Luciane Buchanan, who I am told comes from a Pacific Islander/Maori background (as Tripitaka), Josh Thomson, who I am also told comes from a Maori background (as Piggy) and Emilie Cocquerel, well yeah she is white (playing Sandy). So in essence only one of the main characters is played by a white person and can be considered as "whitewashed"… the others are played by a hapa and actors of colour. In the US, Pacific Islanders are identified with the same "Asian" category with AAPI (Asian American And Pacific Islanders) so I wouldn't scream from the mountain too much I guess. In Australia and NZ and other parts of the world this isn't the case, so I do get what the hoo haa is about.
Either way, that hasn't stopped a chorus of Twitter users to complain about the casting. Read their concerns below.
Why are they all white https://t.co/DsVvcANRip— Snarky Platypus (@SnarkyPlatypus) April 20, 2017
@wenleima There's an angle you should have covered in the story on The Legend of Monkey - blatant whitewashing.— James Scullin (@JamesScullin) April 20, 2017