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‘Runaways’ film alters casting call after racism accusations

HollywoodNews.com: After the catastrophe that was the movie adaptation of “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” it appears Marvel Studios may be more willing to do what Paramount was not: cast Asians in Asian roles.

With the casting call for the film version of Brian K. Vaughan’s popular graphic novel series “Runaways”–about several privileged Los Angeles teens who discover their parents are supervillains–was released last week, the outcry was immense. The character breakdown for main character Nico Minoru, who is Japanese-American in the comics, did not specify race (generally read as ‘white’ by default), while the ethnicity of another character, Alex Wilder (African-American in the comics), was clearly stated.

Following an Internet campaign by RaceBending.com, an organization founded originally in response to Paramount’s casting of non-Asian actors in “Last Airbender”, Marvel has responded with the following message: “To address your concern over casting for the role of Nico, as we do with all of our films, we intend to stay true to the legacy and story of the comic when casting these parts. Thus, our goal is to cast an Asian American actress as depicted in the comic series and the casting notice will be adjusted accordingly.”

The casting call now reads: “Uniquely beautiful, nurturing but guarded Female, Asian-American, must play 16-18. Must be at least 16 by January 2011.” Accordingly, “Runaways” begins production in January.

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One Comment

  • August 30, 2010 | Permalink |

    Can’t really compare this case to Airbender. The studio was contacted about Airbender after they had hired actors. They couldn’t legally fire them at that point. You can’t argue no bona fide occupational qualification exists, hire people, then fire them, and argue a bona fide occupational qualification does exist. That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.

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