These White Actors Played Non-White Roles

White Actors Who Played Non-White Characters in Movies and TV Shows

*Originally published on our publishing group’s site

When a Hollywood studio gears up to make a movie, it knows the importance of casting. It’s not enough for the script, direction, and special effects to be top-notch – the casting has to hit the exact mark as well. Casting leads who are relatable is crucial, because they act as stand-ins for the audience. Unfortunately, throughout Hollywood history “relatable” has too often just meant “white”… even if the characters weren’t supposed to be. These are the most egregious examples of white actors playing non-white characters in movies and TV shows.

[post_page_title]Emma Stone – Allison Ng (Aloha)[/post_page_title]

In 2019, Golden Globes co-host Sandra Oh joked that Crazy Rich Asians was the first studio film with an Asian-American lead “since Aloha,” prompting the movie’s star Emma Stone to yell out, “I’m sorry!” If you missed the joke, Stone portrayed pilot Allison Ng, whose mom’s Swedish and dad is half-Chinese, half-Native Hawaiian.

Emma Stone – Allison Ng (Aloha)

Once proclaiming in an interview, “I’m so white,” Stone isn’t anything remotely Asian/Pacific Islander. In fact, despite being set in Hawaii, the entire principal cast was white. Director Cameron Crowe apologized, while simultaneously claiming Ng was based on a real woman who was similarly frustrated at not appearing as someone with her heritage.

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