London: The makers of blockbuster movie ‘Cloud Atlas’ are under fire for using “poorly-done” eye make-up to make white actors look like Asians.
The use of “eye prosthetics” to change the appearance of the actors’ eyes in the film, has been called “disturbing” by an Asian American media watchdog.
Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) said that the makers had missed a “great opportunity” to break racial stereotypes by using a white actor to play an Asian man in one of the lead “action hero” roles.
“In the modern age of movie make up, it is disturbing to see poorly done Asian eye prosthetics to make Caucasian men look Asian,” the Daily Mail quoted Guk Aoki, MANAA’s founding president as telling a leading daily.
“Cloud Atlas missed a great opportunity. The Korea story’s protagonist is an Asian man--an action hero who defies the odds and holds off armies of attackers.
“It would have been a great, stereotype-busting role for an Asian American actor to play, as Asian American men aren’t allowed to be dynamic or heroic very often,” he said.
White actors Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving and James D’Arcy played Asian characters in ‘Cloud Atlas,’ while black actor Keith David was made to look Asian too.
According to the website, Aoki complained about the apparent assumption that white actors could be made to look Asian just by changing their eyes and “not their facial structure and complexion.”
Other actors in the film to play different races included Halle Berry, who plays a white woman, and Tom Hanks who plays a British man of southern European heritage.
Aoki said the movie showed that using “badly done yellowface” in films “is still OK.”