Lots of controversy over the live action movie of the Japanese anime/manga Dragonball Evolution in the Asian American community. The core issue is the casting of the main character Goku is not Asian/Asian American. (Similar controversy to the movie 21 about a year ago.)
Over at yehey.com, they had a Q&A with director James Wong (The One, Final Destination). Here’s the question about casting:
Q: There are Asians in the cast, yet Goku, the main character is white American. Is there a specific reason that you cast him?
A: “I think I’m pretty sensitive to racial issues and I don’t have any sort of prejudice against Asian actors. I am Asian myself. I’m Chinese. But when I read the manga, I really didn’t think Goku was Asian. I didn’t think he had to be any particular race or ethnicity. He is drawn with crazy hair and ultimately he’s an alien. He’s not human. When we cast the part, I was looking at every kind of actor. Some of the characters drawn in the manga are definitely Asian like Master Roshi, but with Goku I never thought that by casting Justin I was doing something that was contrary to the manga.”
The guy’s got guts to attend a sold out advanced screening of Dragonball Evolution sponsored by DGA Asian American Committee. We’re sure he was asked about casting. There are a bunch of supporting character who are Asian tho. See our previous post here. But just like 21, the supporting cast doesn’t make up for the fact that the main character is not Asian. From the reviews we have seen, Dragonball Evolution looks to be an epic fail. Even with all the negativity around the film, this hasn’t stopped the studios from talking sequel.
Dragonball Evolution Trailer
director James Wong Talking about Dragonball Evolution