“Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.”
“Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.”
I love the Lunar Chronicles, and I’m really excited to see all of the fan casting stuff, but I get really irritated when people cast Cinder as an Asian girl. She’s not Asian, she get’s passed off as a European orphan, and let’s not forget she’s not even human. Cinder has light brown Curly hair, a trait that is rarely seen in Asians without hair dye or a perm. She is tan. Thought it is normal to see a need for tanness in America and Europe, in Asia it is more beautiful to be as pale as possible, like Pear and dear Peony. So just remember the detail in the books when you are doing fan casting…
What is Cinder’s ethnicity?
This question is answered in CINDER (Chapter 19), but when people ask this, I think what they really want to know is what does she look like. There’s been much confusion over this, in part because the actress in the book trailer is very fair, but also because I avoid specifying a race in the book. I envision Cinder as a mix of many races. Tan skin, brown hair, brown eyes. She has the type of coloring that’s very ambiguous and allows her to blend in just about anywhere (especially in a world where cultures and ethnicities have been merging for hundreds of years, like the Earthen Union).
The descriptions in the book do lean toward a white girl. But I’ve read the book and agree with the author. The story takes place in a world that only includes a limited number of countries (I think 6), and there’s a lot of traveling going on which means a lot of people mixing together. So fans casting Cinder as East Asian aren’t wrong.
And some rambling… I think the author made a mistake to describe Cinder as tan, a feature mostly attributed to white people, when she could’ve used olive. I read somewhere that Cassandra Claire (sp?), author of the Mortal Instruments, regretted her description of a major character who’s written to have tanned skin.
Some more rambling- Snow White’s gonna be black/mixed race.
Danai Gurira, most popularly known as Michonne from The Walking Dead, in the upcoming indie film ‘Mother of George.’ In the film she plays a woman struggling to conceive a child with her husband.
A movie I’ve been hearing a lot about.
And was that Yaya at the end!
"What if a group of genius kids came together to save their city … with a friendly robot in tow? That’s the premise behind Disney’s latest, Big Hero 6. According to Lasseter, it’s “inspired by the culture of Japan but mashed up with the culture of America.” That’s true right down to the name of the city where it takes place — San Frantokoyo."
I’m somewhat of an animation geek, so when I heard about the new/updated info on these projects from Disney and Pixar, I kind of flipped. Big Hero 6 stands out. I’ve never read the comic it’s based on, so I’ve been relying on Wikipedia (heh) and other sites to fill me in. I don’t like the fact that they’ve moved the setting from Tokyo to San Frantokoyo, but judging by the characters to appear in the movie, it seems like there won’t be any whitewashing happening (which makes sense ‘cause of John I Worship The Ground Miyazaki Walks On Lasseter’s involvement).
Note: Mild and rather vague spoilers abound.
Pacific Rim is important. It’s a post-apocalyptic narrative. A science-fiction film. A summer blockbuster. It’s also important, because in all its kaiju pummeling, jaeger piloting glory, this film is evidence of what the industry can give us and proof that we still have so very far to go.
I went into the theatre with enormously high expectations. With Guillermo del Toro at the helm and glorious shots of Idris Elba and Rinko Kikuchi taking names in the trailer, I hoped this would be the film that would help knock some sense into Hollywood. I prayed that this movie would finally make it clear that Characters of Color can hold a story. They can be compelling, heartbreaking, and complex. They can be heroes.
The audience cheered. They cheered for Mako Mori, Rinko Kikuchi’s rookie pilot when she pulled out the ace card during a Jaeger-Kaiju battle. They chuckled when she checked out Charles Hunnam’s Raleigh Becket and his extremely cut figure. They gushed over her when she was embarrassed. They rooted for her when she was given the chance to prove herself. They loved her. They. Loved. Her. An Asian female character, who was not fetishized, nor infantilized, and not a victim of Orientalization. When was the last time we saw that? When was the last time we saw the female gaze? When was the last time a non-white non-male character was given the opportunity to Jump At The Call? When was the last time a young Asian woman had a Hero’s Journey of her own?
In the same vein, when was the last time we had a heroic Black male character who was competent, dapper as high heaven, and portrayed as a complicated, over-protective father figure? Can we talk about that? Can we talk about how in love I am with Stacker Pentacost? Can we talk about how I would look into Idris Elba’s intensely concerned eyes all day if I could?
Pacific Rim gave us two non-white characters. Heroic characters. Characters with backstories and internal struggles and angst and cheesy lines. And it makes me want to cry.
But. I can’t pretend this film is groundbreaking. It still belongs to a scruffy, white, hyper-masculine protagonist. It still used the word “g*psy”, despite it being a racial slur. It still set itself in Hong Kong while giving no Asian actor besides Rinko Kikuchi any lines. It didn’t whitewash the background extras, which is a feat in and of itself, but it did inexplicably decide to cast a white man as a character called Hannibal Chau, just for laughs. And you know, it still didn’t pass the Bechdel Test.
But you know what it did pass? The other Bechdel test. The one where two Characters of Color have names, they talk to each other, and about something other than a white character. And I’ll take it.
That’s why this film is incredibly important. It’s a taste of what can be done, and yet it is absolute proof that we are not there yet. Not even close. The strengths of Pacific Rim show us that heartwarming, rock-music jamming, successful, mainstream science fiction can perch on the shoulders of characters a racist industry doesn’t usually let us see, and it’s shortcomings prove that the war isn’t over yet.
Today is tomorrow, and we are still fighting.
Discussion with Travis Beacham (Pacific Rim’s screenwriter) regarding the name ‘Gipsy Danger’.
The link Travis references is the Wikipedia discussion of the terms Gypsy and Gipsy.
Glad that he responded. I didn’t know that word was offensive until relatively recently. That said, I still think it’s weird to name your mecha after a word associated with an ethnicity, especially if it’s a term that’s so decisive. IMO, they could’ve came up with something else.