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‘Doctor Strange’ Director Scott Derrickson Responds To Whitewashing Outcry

'Doctor Strange' Director Scott Derrickson Responds To Whitewashing Outcry

As Hollywood’s lack of diversity problem continues to be a topic of discussion, “Doctor Strange” director Scott Derrickson is finally opening up about the underrepresentation of Asian-Americans and the whitewashing claims. 

In a tweet posted on May 4, the Marvel film helmer acknowledged people’s outcries and stated that he is “listening and learning.”

“Raw anger/hurt from Asian-Americans over Hollywood whitewashing, stereotyping & erasure of Asians in cinema. I am listening and learning,” Derrickson wrote on Wednesday. 

READ MORE: Margaret Cho Leads #whitewashedOUT Discussion in Response to ‘Ghost in the Shell,’ ‘Doctor Strange’ Casting

His tweet comes from the #whitewashedOUT social media campaign that ignited when stars like Margaret Cho and George Takei expressed their opinions about the latest casting news regarding The Ancient One, a Tibetan character in “Doctor Strange” and Scarlett Johansson cast in “Ghost In The Shell,” role originally written as a Japanese character.

“Doctor Strange” screenwriter C. Robert Cargill had previously explained that the casting of Tilda Swinton was based on her talent and not race. He also said that the casting was necessary to prevent the Chinese government from banning the movie for having a Tibetan character, but Takei didn’t buy his reasoning. 

“You cast a white actress so you wouldn’t hurt sales…in Asia?” Takei wrote on his Facebook page. “This backpedaling is nearly as cringeworthy as the casting. Marvel must think we’re all idiots.”

While Cho tweeted, “We are just the ‘sidekick.’ I’m sick of it.”

Derrickson has presented no other statement regarding the casting choices at this time.

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Andy Papster

You guys are really getting a lot of mileage from this minor controversy.

B Lee

Andy Papster – maybe because it’s not so minor.


Marvel has stated this incarnation of The Ancient One (for the film) is Celtic, portrayed by an English ACTRESS (and as progressive a casting decision that is it gets little attention.) And where were the "white-washing" claims when Guy Pearce was cast as The Mandarin in "Iron Man 3"? And if Takei is passively putting aside the suffering of the Tibetan people under Chinese rule, while screaming indignations over casting in a comic-book/Hollywood movie, sorry, this is hypocritical; at least he HAS a home. And let’s not forget there is an enormous tradition of Asian films, spanning decades, which represent the diversity of its people and culture. Conversely do you think there are bloggers in China calling for more white people in their movies? (Actually, you never know…) So, Indiewire, I don’t know if you think writing these articles is helping the "good fight" but, politely, they’re not. They’re adding gasoline to the fire and are part of the problem.


SCOTS-You do realize that white people aren’t the only Americans, right? Asian-Americans and other minorities are also Americans yet we don’t see ourselves represented in American films. Before you say, "Go and make your own movies." Well, that’s easier said and done when there are gatekeepers like Marvel Studios that secondguess the casting of an Asian character and always defaults to white. Look at "Ghost in the Shell." Look at the movie "21," based on a true story about Asian math whiz kids and instead you get one token Asian goofy character.


RAUL: Ugh. This is why I think politics and film should stay on opposite ends of the globe. I would certainly never belittle someone who wanted to have their voice heard, but to demand that studios simply be inclusive of everyone is naïve. Studios are beholden to their stock-holders and the bottom line. Period. And to talk of representation and having the POWER of representation are two entirely different things. If you don’t understand that, then what are you fighting for? And on a personally note since when has film/Hollywood ever been a true reflection of reality? Never once have I seen a film by Akira Kurosawa, or Zhang Yimou, or Satyajit Ray, or even Steven Spielberg and bemoaned that I wasn’t being "represented". Because I was: As a human being! All these subjective attitudes have deteriorated art and, quite frankly, ANY artist, regardless their make, has had to push hard to get heard. In fact nowadays it’s easier than ever for, say, a filmmaker to make something and get it out there. All this political bickering is nonsense. It boils to personal endeavor: Want to change your life? You have a story to tell? Then do it.


Did you people who are so "outraged" have the same problem with Idris Elba playing the very white Norse god Heimdall, did you?

Wait, no, you didn’t.


Exactly, Scots. ^

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