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we saw wut u did thar, paramount
Ben Kingsley to play Mandarin in Iron Man 3, Whitewashed? 
14th-Jul-2012 12:33 pm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/apr/10/ben-kingsley-iron-man-villain

http://www.metro.co.uk/film/900807-ben-kingsleys-character-in-iron-man-3-revealed-as-the-mandarin

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/ben-kingsley-iron-man-3-robert-downey-jr-jon-favreau-309693

It looks like the upcoming Iron Man movie seems to have gotten a little more than an off footing and sidetracking with its casting.

I am fully aware like others who follow the comic book, that the Mandarin, Tony Stark/Iron Man's arch nemesis, is a Eurasian character (According to the sources: The Mandarin's late father was a wealthy Chinese merchant in pre-revolutionary China and has Mongol ancestry going back to Genghis Khan, while his late mother was an English noblewoman.) 

But his cultural background and the setting of his story in the comics is firmly Chinese through and through.
The Mandarin, usually has his stories taking place there, his plans, schemes and machinations often entail themes and subjects dealing with Chinese mythology, he sometimes works in collaboration with the Chinese Government to implement his plans for world domination and so on. As much of a stereotypical throwback to Fu-Manchu as he is, that is his ethnic background.

And nothing could be further from that cultural background and backdrop than Kingsley (a British Indian actor). As good as Kingsley is, this is still tantamount to a whitewashed role and it would have deemed more appropriate for a Chinese actor, whether a Chinese or a Western Chinese actor to get the role.

I don't see how even an actor like Tzi Ma (who has been crucially involved in the Racebending protests, and also often been typecasted rather unfortunately in many villanous roles in Hollywood movies)  could not have gotten it as someone like him would have been more appropriate for the role.

NB: It's too bad John Lone, of the Year of the Dragon, The Last Emperor and Rush Hour 2 fame, was already cast in a role very similar to that of the Mandarin (in the early 90s fiasco of a superhero movie, The Shadow), otherwise he is what I would have imagined Mandarin to be in my imagination of a live-film adaptation of the character.



 

Comments 
(Deleted comment)
14th-Jul-2012 02:17 am (UTC)

Good Lord, thanks for that. To be honest, I don't remember Firepower too much but if that is so, then what the heck is the deal...? This is almost like the John Stewart controversy and the white nerd rage over not having him portrayed as Green Lantern in the GL movie.

Leave it to Hollyweird to spin this and said "but we have got a black guy for War Machine already..." Yeah, cuz having a black guy playing second fiddle to mightey whitey Tony is appropriate but certainly not having a black character who outmatched, outwitted Tony and is his equal.

Hate to think what Hollyweird would do with a film adaptation of the New Warrriors, especially with a character like Night Thrasher. But highly unlikely they would ever go near that source material as it shows a black man too much in a heroic light. Which is a good thing for the rest of us I guess.

PS Even whitewashing aside, who in the right mind would cast Ashley Hamilton in anything? He and his father, George are both incredibly bad actors IMO and he has barely been standard acting material. Just look at Beethoven 2.

Edited at 2012-07-14 02:19 am (UTC)
15th-Jul-2012 02:00 am (UTC)
"Leave it to Hollyweird to spin this and said "but we have got a black guy for War Machine already..." "

But... ...what kind of argument is that? It's not like there's a quota on black characters, or that having one is automatically enough. I mean... who could think that way? Don't they realize that black people are a large and diverse group?
14th-Jul-2012 02:26 am (UTC)
What confuses me most about this is that Iron Man 3 is a Chinese co-production, so you'd think they'd have Chinese actors. Or maybe the Chinese government didn't want the villain of the movie to be Chinese? I know they censored Chow Yun Fat out of Pirates 3 for the Chinese release for a similar reason.
14th-Jul-2012 02:37 am (UTC)

Thank you for that too, hoyvinglavin64. I wasn't aware of that info prior (that it was a Chinese co-production), but that already was in the back of my mind that having a stereotyped villain like Mandarin would be problematic in itself and perhaps you are right that that was the most likely case where the Chinese government didn't want that kind of clout over the movie production.

Doesn't excuse the whitewashing going on though and it would be absolutely ludicrous ala TLA, having a antagonist/character from China with a story based in China where he is portrayed as anything but Chinese!

3rd-Sep-2012 04:23 am (UTC)
China is actually starting to voice a dislike for stuff like that. There's calls from the gov't to include more involvement from Chinese actors/stuntmen/workers/etc in future Hollywood films that want to be filmed in China.
15th-Jul-2012 01:57 am (UTC)
Funny. We hadn't had a post here in a while and just the other day I was thinking about Racebending, specifically that if a movie or series was made of the Circle of Magic books then someone would probably have to point out strenuously during casting that the characters Briar and Lark have golden-brown skin.
19th-Jul-2012 11:03 pm (UTC)
Clearly that means that they are white people with tans.
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