I recently stumbled across this variety.com article: http://variety.com/2015/film/news/the-martian-white-washing-asian-american-ridley-scott-1201614155/
In the article, it is revealed that Ridley Scott, director of the new sci-fi thriller “The Martian”, white-washed many roles in the movie. According to the Media Action Network for Asian-Americans (MANAA), many of the roles that originated from the 2014 novel, written by Andy Weir, were significantly less Asian than what the book implied. MANAA goes on to say that the movie, which has attracted Oscar buzz, should not receive any nominations for casting.
The character Mindy Park, described by Weir as a Korean-American, is played by a blonde, white actress. MANAA goes on to criticize Ridley Scott, raising the question of if he was comfortable with multiple Asians interacting on screen.
Unfortunately, this is just another prime example of Asian-Americans being over-looked for roles and replaced by white actors and actresses. Even in such a progressive time as 2015, Asian-American characters are being reworked and rewritten to be white. This anti-asian sentiment is what many Asian-American media figures have worked so hard to combat, yet still have trouble defeating. Asian-American actors NEED these roles, so they can play characters with substance and emotions and character, not just your “typical” Asian characters.
Hopefully, with the attention brought on by Variety and the criticism of “The Martian”, directors and producers in the future will not rework their characters, and give Asian-Americans the roles they were meant to play.