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Old November 5 2012, 06:17 AM   #16
Nerys Myk
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Re: Asian confusion

kythe wrote: View Post
The problem is, you can't really "act" a different ethnicity any more than you can "act" a different race. It's part of who you are, and is unchangeable.
Yet actors do all the time. Brando as Vito Corleone. Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln. Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne.
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Old November 5 2012, 06:46 AM   #17
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Asian confusion

In Sulu's case, I never figured the guy was Japanese as in actually calling Japan his permanent residence. His name suggests a long-time American, given that you don't find the "l" in real Japanese. Maybe he has some Filipino descent, or the immigration officials just decided to spell the family's name how they felt like doing, back in the early 20th century when that happened a lot.

(Oh, and don't forget that he calls San Francisco home.)
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Old November 5 2012, 08:34 AM   #18
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Re: Asian confusion

It's not really restricted to Trek, it's a phenom for all of Hollywood. I remember reading something a few years ago that said that the reason that Ken Watanabe is the Japanese guy in so many films is because there is a limited pool of talented actors (men) that are of Japanese descent in Hollywood.

But yeah, as others have said, a big part of "acting" is making believe you are the character or something.
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Old November 5 2012, 09:06 AM   #19
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Re: Asian confusion

Zombie Cheerleader wrote: View Post
kythe wrote: View Post
The problem is, you can't really "act" a different ethnicity any more than you can "act" a different race. It's part of who you are, and is unchangeable.
Yet actors do all the time. Brando as Vito Corleone. Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln. Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne.
And Yul Brynner and Anthony Quinn as everything.
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Old November 5 2012, 09:19 AM   #20
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Re: Asian confusion

CandyCornCosby wrote: View Post
It's not really restricted to Trek, it's a phenom for all of Hollywood. I remember reading something a few years ago that said that the reason that Ken Watanabe is the Japanese guy in so many films is because there is a limited pool of talented actors (men) that are of Japanese descent in Hollywood.

But yeah, as others have said, a big part of "acting" is making believe you are the character or something.
With Trek they do make a conscious effort to appeal to diversity in Star Fleet. Disney's Mulan had primarily Asian actors of non-Chinese decent because they couldn't find enough actors to voice the characters.

All you have to do is look at the recent Cloud Atlas and it's accusations of 'yellow face' for casting white actors and using make up to make them look asian, and depicting stereotypes of asian culture. Honestly I think the Wachowski's are a duo who have seen too much anime, and think it's edgey and cool to depict their interpretation of it on the big screen. Look at their movies if you doubt me.

The same thing can be said about M. Night Shymalan's The Last Airbender and it's criticisms of racebending. He cast white actors for all the asian and inuit roles. If given a sequel he said he would make sure that that the last character to the Airbender "Toph" would be an asian actress. M. Night's defense for his casting white actors for these roles was that "anime is ambiguous" and thus the actors race didn't matter.
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Old November 5 2012, 09:51 AM   #21
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Re: Asian confusion

I've never heard the term 'racebending' before... interesting.

A film produced in a nearby town when I was in high school cast some Asian students in my class as Native Americans... needless to say everyone was pretty stoked about it and I don't recall anyone finding the racebending issue unacceptable... just that it was fun to skip class and be in films.
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Old November 5 2012, 10:37 AM   #22
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Re: Asian confusion

sbk1234 wrote: View Post
William Shatner is Canadian, and he played an Amereican.
And James Doohan was Canadian, and he played a Scotsman.
And Leonard Nimor is an American from Boston, and he played a Vulcan.
The list goes on.
If I'm not mistaken. I think Variety ran a help wanted ad back in 1965 for a casting call for Vulcans. But nobody showed up. I think that they're all hanging out in Pennsylvania masquerading as Menonites. They use those hats to cover up those ears. Nimoy happened across the ad and showed up spouting some BS that Vulcans were Orthodox Jewish, so acting was against their beliefs. So he got the job.
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Old November 5 2012, 02:37 PM   #23
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Re: Asian confusion

Pawleygirl wrote: View Post
There's also Robert Beltran, a Mexican American playing a Native...
Actually the majority of Mexicans are of partly or fully indigenous ancestry -- including Beltran himself. He refers to his ethnicity as "Latindio," a portmanteau of "Latin" and "Indio," the Spanish word for Native American.
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Old November 5 2012, 03:06 PM   #24
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Re: Asian confusion

If people want something to complain about Hollywood could always go back to the Charlie Chan days.
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Old November 5 2012, 03:50 PM   #25
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Re: Asian confusion

I've wondered since Kung Fu was on the air, if Asian actors of one nationality or another were offended by playing another nationality (or just happy to have work), and if Asian viewers of one nationality or another were offended that actors of a different nationality played their nationality (I think I said that right ). I'm vaguely aware of ill feelings between many nations going back into history that might give rise to such ill feelings today (i.e. China not entirely forgiving Japan for WWII atrocities).

Or, it's just all in my head and nobody really cares.
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Old November 5 2012, 03:50 PM   #26
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Re: Asian confusion

Carcazoid wrote: View Post
If people want something to complain about Hollywood could always go back to the Charlie Chan days.
Two words: Cloud Atlas.
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Old November 5 2012, 03:52 PM   #27
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Re: Asian confusion

at least trek ethnoshiftery never got as bad as john wayne as genghis khan
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Old November 5 2012, 03:55 PM   #28
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Re: Asian confusion

Watch some early episodes of Hawaii 5-0 from the 60s. They constantly had Asian characters played by non-Asian Hollywood actors. Both Montalban and Mark Lenard played Japanese with fake eyelids.
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Old November 5 2012, 04:02 PM   #29
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Re: Asian confusion

I agree that it's an issue with Hollywood in general about confusing their Asian characters as well as other races/ethnicities.

However, I don't think it should be an issue in Trek. Sure, a character may be from China and have a Chinese name, but a majority of their ancestry may actually be something else. I'd like to think that the open borders and ease of travel depicted in Trek would contribute a lot to having the heritage of many characters be quite a varied mix. For my own children, their ancestry includes Slovak, German, English, Irish, Scottish, French, and Cherokee, and their varied features reflect some of that. But as I like to say, we're all-American mutts!
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Old November 5 2012, 07:01 PM   #30
Christopher
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Re: Asian confusion

Forbin wrote: View Post
Watch some early episodes of Hawaii 5-0 from the 60s. They constantly had Asian characters played by non-Asian Hollywood actors. Both Montalban and Mark Lenard played Japanese with fake eyelids.
On the other hand, I gather that since the show was actually shot in Hawaii, they did feature a fair number of actual Asian or Pacific Islander actors, certainly more than most shows of the era.

On Mission: Impossible, they only ever did one episode set in an Asian country, specifically Japan. On the plus side, all the Japanese guest characters were played by Asian (if not necessarily Japanese) actors. But on the minus side, the story expected us to believe that Leonard Nimoy wearing fake epicanthic folds could fool actual Japanese people into thinking he was Japanese. There were earlier episodes where Rollin Hand or Paris impersonated Asians with unconvincing makeup, but at least they were only trying to fool Westerners, which is slightly more plausible.
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