‘Jackie Chan is not Vietnamese nor does he understand the struggles of Vietnamese people.’
A trailer for the action-thriller “The Foreigner” released this week has been met with excitement at the return of martial arts legend Jackie Chan to the big screen, full Liam Neeson style.
The Hong Kong star will take center stage in a dark role as a businessman embarking on a mission of revenge after his daughter is killed in a terrorist bombing.
Let’s learn a little bit about the heroic father here. His name is Ngoc Minh Quan and he is a Vietnamese who left his country during the war to start over in London.
See the problem right there?
Many people were upset with the casting choice and immediately got on Twitter to blast the erasure of Vietnamese people, some using the “f” word.
“Jackie Chan is not Vietnamese nor does he understand the struggles of Vietnamese people,” one post reads.
Another user wrote, with the hashtag #NoTotally, that she apparently won’t be able to watch the movie with her Vietnamese mother.
Some said the movie totally lacks “cultural sensitivity”.
“China was one of Vietnam’s colonizers. This is similar to whitewashing in terms of power dynamics,” writer Linh Le posted on Twitter.
“We cannot support this movie without at least having a conversation about the erasure/invisibility of SE [Southeast] Asians in film,” said Jenn Fang.
The STX Entertainment movie is based on “The Chinaman,” a 1992 book by Stephen Leather, which title has also been slammed as a racial slur.
It’s not the first time a big star has been caught up in casting controversy.
Paramount’s “Ghost in the Shell” had a poor opening weekend at the box office earlier this year, and film executives cited its casting problems as the main reason. The choice of Scarlett Johansson to play Japanese character Motoku Kusanagi was labeled “whitewashing”.
Last year, film critics were also vocal about the casting of British actress Tilda Swinton in “Doctor Strange.” She played a character who in the comic book is portrayed as a Tibetan man.