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"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
5th-Aug-2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
that's just... wow. i mean, why specify that Alex is African American, then? why not just make it a free for all?
i recently started reading this series, and finished the 10th digest last week. they actually state several times that Nico is asian-- so it's not one of those, "well, they never actually said she WASN'T white!"

i really hope it is just an oversight.
5th-Aug-2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
i mean, why specify that Alex is African American, then?

he turns out to be a villain so he can be a PoC anyway.
5th-Aug-2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
Question! How do you hide text so that people have to highlight it to see it? Nevermind! Just found out.


Edited at 2010-08-05 06:01 pm (UTC)
5th-Aug-2010 06:41 pm (UTC)
< font text = "white" > spoiler in there < / font>

only works when the background is white.
5th-Aug-2010 05:57 pm (UTC)
My thoughts exactly.
(Deleted comment)
5th-Aug-2010 06:05 pm (UTC) - aaarggh
html hates me. sorry for multi posts

you set the font color to "white" :

<font color="white">text goes here</font> is how you would write it

(reposted due to WAY wrong icon :-/ )
5th-Aug-2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
Wow, just. Wow. Really? I mean. Really??

5th-Aug-2010 06:41 pm (UTC)
It fits the pattern doesn't it :(
5th-Aug-2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
MTE. I was like, "oh cool, never read the series but I like that he's a POC and ... /reads spoiler



5th-Aug-2010 07:27 pm (UTC)
also spoiler: chunky girl dies; skinny pretty people continue on living /spoiler
5th-Aug-2010 07:28 pm (UTC)
yeah :(
5th-Aug-2010 09:27 pm (UTC)
AND JUST WAIT UNTIL THEY INTRODUCE THE ALIEN WHO MANIFESTS AS A POC AND GETS IN A LGBT RELATIONSHI-[spoiler]Oh wait, when did we last see Xavin again? right she was getting put on a proverbial bus.[/spoiler]

Now I remember why I stopped reading the comic.
5th-Aug-2010 07:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think that has a lot to do with it. :/

Edited at 2010-08-05 07:51 pm (UTC)
5th-Aug-2010 10:02 pm (UTC)
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