Cameron Crowe's latest film Aloha faced many scathing reviews upon its release late May, not just because it was a trash movie, but also because of its racial controversy. In the movie, Emma Stone was cast as Allison Ng, whose character is supposed to be quarter-Chinese and quarter-Hawaiian. Which of course was a problem because we were supposed to believe that Emma Stone, a full-on white-as-it-gets Caucasian woman, was supposed to be a half-Asian woman, while so many Asian actors who could have filled this role were ignored. Cameron Crowe may have sort of apologized for that mishap, but Emma Stone had been silent on the subject... Until now.
"I've become the butt of many jokes," Stone said in a new interview (true, the timely Rachel Dolezal jokes flooded my Twitter just a week or so later). "I've learned on a macro level about the insane history of whitewashing in Hollywood and how prevalent the problem truly is," she adds. "It's ignited a conversation that’s very important."
She also responded to Hollywood's ageism problem, having been cast in romantic roles alongside men much older than her (see: Colin Firth in Magic in the Moonlight and her new Woody Allen project, Irrational Man, in which she stars opposite Joaquin Phoenix). She says:
It’s rampant in Hollywood and it’s definitely been that way for a long time, both culturally and in movies. But in Irrational Man, the film is contingent upon the age difference; the movie is about that disparity. And when I did Magic in the Moonlight Colin Firth and I talked about the gap which was huge, absolutely, because he was born the same year as my dad. There’s a lot of conversation about how we want to see people represented on screen and what we need to change as a business to reflect culture in a clearer way and not in an idealised way. There are some flaws in the system. My eyes have been opened in many ways this year.
Still, I'm very here for Emma Stone and (most) Emma Stone movies. Let's hope she gets more progressive roles in her promising future. (One thing to look forward to is her upcoming movie with Ryan Gosling, with whom she shares some serious onscreen chemistry.)
P.S. Cameron Crowe still hasn't responded to my finding of him casting yet another white woman as a possible Asian character. Care to comment?