Maybe you’ve seen Aloha. Maybe you’ve just read about some of the film’s racial fallout. Either way, a lot of viewers are unhappy with the fact Emma Stone was cast as Allison Ng, a vital part of the movie, one that’s supposed to be part Asian. (Stone is 0 percent Asian.) Helmer Cameron Crowe has had some time to think about the feedback, and in a post on his website, he officially apologized for the move. “I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice,” he writes. “So many of us are hungry for stories with more racial diversity, more truth in representation, and I am anxious to help tell those stories in the future.” He goes on to explain where the Ng character came from and how she was based on a real-life redheaded local; he also contends that although the film whitewashes Stone’s character, Aloha created jobs behind and before the camera for other locals. Ultimately, though, he notes that he’s the one to blame for the casting decision.
Read the whole apology below (and here):
From the very beginning of its appearance in the Sony Hack, Aloha has felt like a misunderstood movie. One that people felt they knew a lot about, but in fact they knew very little. It was a small movie, made by passionate actors who wanted to join me in making a film about Hawaii, and the lives of these characters who live and work in and around the island of Oahu.
Thank you so much for all the impassioned comments regarding the casting of the wonderful Emma Stone in the part of Allison Ng. I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice. As far back as 2007, Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one. A half-Chinese father was meant to show the surprising mix of cultures often prevalent in Hawaii. Extremely proud of her unlikely heritage, she feels personally compelled to over-explain every chance she gets. The character was based on a real-life, red-headed local who did just that.
Whether that story point felt hurtful or humorous has been, of course, the topic of much discussion. However I am so proud that in the same movie, we employed many Asian-American, Native-Hawaiian and Pacific-Islanders, both before and behind the camera… including Dennis “Bumpy” Kanahele, and his village, and many other locals who worked closely in our crew and with our script to help ensure authenticity.
We were extremely proud to present the island, the locals and the film community with many jobs for over four months. Emma Stone was chief among those who did tireless research, and if any part of her fine characterization has caused consternation and controversy, I am the one to blame.
I am grateful for the dialogue. And from the many voices, loud and small, I have learned something very inspiring. So many of us are hungry for stories with more racial diversity, more truth in representation, and I am anxious to help tell those stories in the future.