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we saw wut u did thar, paramount
"Runaways" Movie Casting Breakdown 
5th-Aug-2010 10:24 am
The casting breakdown for Marvel's "Runaways" movie was released today. You can view the official casting website here and articles about the casting here and here.

The Runaways crew is pretty diverse as comic book teams go, at various points in the story there's African American and Japanese American team leaders, a girl who has a BMI above 20, a Latino Catholic, and lesbian and genderqueer characters.

Fans of the comics will be familiar with the characters to be used in the adaptation...

Alex Wilder
Boy 1: Very smart, natural leader, in need of a father figure
Male, African American, must play 16-18
Must be at least 16 by January 2011

Chase Stein
Boy 2: A rebel, ignores rules and authority, wounded inside
Male, must play 16-18
Must be at least 16 by January 2011

Nico Minoru
Girl 1: Uniquely beautiful, nurturing but guarded
Female, must play 16-18
Must be at least 16 by January 2011

Gert Yorkes
Girl 2: Chubby oddball, smart and verbal
Female, must play 16-18
Must be at least 16 by January 2011

Karolina Dean
Girl 3: Conventionally beautiful, with an unchecked ego
Female, must play 15-18
Must be at least 16 by January 2011

Molly Hayes
Girl 4: An innocent, wide-eyed and overprotected
Female, must play 8-10
Must be at least 9 by January 2011

So these casting calls follow a lot of Hollywood conventions when it comes to breakdowns, namely the idea that characters who are white don't need ethnicity mentioned in the breakdown because it's taken for granted that white actors will submit (but a character who is black, like Alex, does require specification.)

What's particularly of concern is that the breakdown for Nico--who is explicitly featured in the comics as a several-generations Japanese American--does not mention that the character is Asian, or that Asian American actresses should submit. Nico is simply described as "uniquely beautiful" as opposed to the blonde Karolina's "conventionally beautiful" descriptor.

Although Runaways is an ensemble, Japanese American Goth Girl Nico Minoru was the series' predominant heroine, featured on the cover of the very first issue.

A Hollywood agent trawling casting breakdowns for an Asian American client would not likely stumble upon this role that is tailor-made for an Asian American breakout star. It certainly doesn't sound like Marvel is prioritizing actresses of color in this search. And readers of racebending.com know that just recently, unclear and biased casting calls for The Last Airbender led to the erasure of characters' ethnicities and reinforced Hollywood's glass ceilings for lead roles.

Racebending.com will absolutely follow up on this casting breakdown. This looks like an easily corrected oversight, so we will contact the right people at Marvel about this issue. If you have an anonymous tip on this situation or contact information for the higher ups, please email us at mlee@racebending.com
(Deleted comment)
6th-Aug-2010 02:11 am (UTC)
Yeah, I don't think I'd ever use 'unchecked ego' to describe Karolina.
6th-Aug-2010 05:15 am (UTC)
If anything, I'd use it to describe Nico when she's having one of her "moments" of self doubt and over reacts to compensate.
6th-Aug-2010 02:50 am (UTC)
goobalicious just linked to the article you guys put on the website at the_hostel. You guys were quick!

Most people who posted there are pissed off.
(Deleted comment)
6th-Aug-2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
We're once bitter twice shy because of Airbender. Honestly, if I didn't know about Airbender, I wouldn't be worried at all.

Had this conversation yesterday.

Friend: Don't worry. They're not going to whitewash it. I mean, it's not like Marvel is Paramount
Me: Are you kidding? Paramount distributed all of Marvel's movies, including Iron Man II!
Friend: But Marvel's with Disney now!
Me: Prince of Persia...
Friend: Oh.
7th-Aug-2010 12:19 am (UTC)
If it helps any, my note for dv8nation is 'sure is hard being white on the internet' and spam_27 is 'dislikes term poc, doesn't understand white privilege'. Pretty sure both of those came from some wank awhile back on ns_d.

Wondering if I should add a few more notes from there. :\
6th-Aug-2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
Most people who posted there are pissed off.

But, unfortunately, one of the usual Straight White Male suspects is in there.
6th-Aug-2010 04:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's just dv8nation. They've been repeatedly bashing racebending on avatar_fans since the beginning of time. Didn't know he/she was a Runaways fan, too. Sooo weird that this person has a taste for media that is diverse but is completely dismissive of efforts to maintain that diversity.

This person has blown off pretty much any argument people have thrown at them about why it's important to speak out against whitewasing of characters, so it's totally not worth it to engage in conversation in any way with this person--you'd be talking to a wall.
8th-Aug-2010 06:57 am (UTC)
Good luck!
6th-Aug-2010 08:13 pm (UTC) - UPDATE 8/6
Made some calls today to some people at Disney and Marvel, also contacted the actual film production...we'll see what happens!
8th-Aug-2010 05:56 am (UTC) - Re: UPDATE 8/6
Yay! :) *keeping fingers crossed*
9th-Aug-2010 01:58 am (UTC) - Re: UPDATE 8/6
You seriously rock. :D
16th-Aug-2010 02:20 am (UTC)
Where are you getting the info that girl 1 and girl 3 are Nico and Karolina, respectfully? The official casting site doesn't have their names listed and neither do either articles. Granted, one of them should say Asian-American for Nico, but as it stands couldn't you swap Karolina and Nico's names and have the descriptions still make sense? While Gert is visibly chubby and Molly is younger (thus making their character descriptions fairly obvious), its arguable 'unchecked ego' fits Nico, and 'nurturing' fits Karolina. Also debatable is that Nico is somehow unconventionally beautiful while Karolina is conventional. By whose standards?

Just curious where you got the info that specifies which girl is which numbered role.
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