Even though Emma Stone’s character in Cameron Crowe’s new “Aloha” film was supposed to not look Asian nor Hawaiian, the filmmaker has issued an apology to those accusing him of “whitewashing” a key role in the movie.
In an open letter he posted on his official website, Crowe said, “I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice,” of Emma Stone in the role of Allison Ng.
The controversy centers on the fact that Ng in the film is described as mixed race, the daughter of a half-Chinese, half-Hawaiian father and a white mother. Further upsetting members of various Asian communities is the fact the film has no Asian-Americans actors in major roles, despite Hawaii being over 70 percent non-white. “Aloha” does feature a few Asian-American cast members in smaller roles, including Hawaiian nationalist Dennis “Bumpy” Kanahele.
“Emma Stone was chief among those who did tireless research, and if any part of her fine characterization has caused consternation and controversy, I am the one to blame,” Crowe continued in his statement.
Crowe also has said he believed the casting of Stone — one of today’s major film superstars — made sense, since the point of her character is that despite her mixed ancestry, she has no outward signs of being either Asian nor Hawaiian.
The film has had a troubled history, including being bashed by former Sony chairman Amy Pascal, who called the film’s script “ridiculous” in a leaked email.
“Aloha” also apparently is not connecting with either critics or audiences. It only rated an anemic 18 percent on movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and only pulled in $10 million at the box office in its opening weekend.