Why Emma Stone was cast as a mixed-race Asian character

This is Emma Stone, the very talented and very caucasian actress.

Stone was recently cast in Aloha as a mixed-race Hawaiian and Chinese character, Allison Ng, prompting headline such as the one below.

Now director Cameron Crowe has responded to the controversy, apologising to anyone "who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice". He added if any part of Stone's "fine characterisation has caused consternation and controversy, I am the one to blame".

As far back as 2007, Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one. A half-Chinese father was meant to show the surprising mix of cultures often prevalent in Hawaii. Extremely proud of her unlikely heritage, she feels personally compelled to over-explain every chance she gets. The character was based on a real-life, red-headed local who did just that.

  • Cameron Crowe

This is not the first time a white actor has played a character with a different ethnicity. Notably Natalie Wood played a Puetro Rican in West Side Story, Mickey Rooney played a Japanese man in Breakfast at Tiffany's, Laurence Olivier blacked-up to play Othello and John Wayne was inexplicably More recently Angelina Jolie played a mixed-race black woman in A Mighty Heart while Johnny Depp played a Native American character in Disney's The Lone Ranger.

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