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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
5th-Aug-2010 08:36 pm (UTC)
also why is Alex "natural leader" and Nico (co leader) "nurturing"

SOMEONE find me a second chainsaw
7th-Aug-2010 05:32 am (UTC)
Maybe in the first movie they don't get to Nico being leader-ly?

"Nurturing" doesn't sound like Nico anyway... :-/
7th-Aug-2010 05:43 am (UTC)
Dude, I bristle at "in need of a father figure." I mean, is that stereotypical black young male or what? Alex wasn't in need of a father figure in Runaways--of all the kids, he had the best relationship with his parents.
8th-Aug-2010 06:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah, seriously, are they just picking adjectives out of the Stereotype Hat at this point or what? Nico's a decent leader but she's kind of... not really the nurturing type. The 'sea urchin' descriptor applies to more than just her hair.
8th-Aug-2010 11:08 pm (UTC)
I dunno. Alex explicitly says he was doing everything to get his father's approval, which "Geoffrey never explicitly demonstrated to Alex during the series", as Wikipedia puts it.

"In need of a father figure" is probably misleading, since he did have a father, but he was still desperately trying to win that father's approval and respect throughout the series.
9th-Aug-2010 02:02 am (UTC)
*hands over chainsword and chainaxe*

Always good to have a backup. ;)
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