"If it happens to be used as a joke, that’s the fault of the writer or of an uninformed American culture"
Constance Wu has discussed why she would not turn down doing Asian accents in her roles on screen.
Wu, who has the leading role in this summer’s highly anticipated all-Asian cast film Crazy Rich Asians, shared her thoughts on Asian accents on Facebook.
“As I go into press for #crazyrichasians I’m already being asked about this kind of stuff so here’s what I’d like for ppl to consider with specificity and real thought/consideration: I don’t turn down roles with accents bc there is nothing shameful about knowing 2+ languages and having an accent,” Wu wrote.
The 35-year-old actress went on to say that accents should not be the butt of the joke. “It’s not a joke,” Wu stated. “If it happens to be used as a joke, that’s the fault of the writer or of an uninformed American culture, it’s not the fault of the accent itself. Let’s CHANGE that culture of ridicule, rather than buy into it. To turn down a role simply bc of an accent actually reinforces that biased culture.”
Although Wu would not turn down a role with an accent, she clarified that she would not portray a character that reinforced negative and stereotypical perceptions of Asians. “I will never make career choices that reinforce a non-Asian person’s ridicule of what is simply a product of immigration,” she said. “That’s why I don’t turn down those roles as a blanket statement. In fact, I think roles that are brave enough to portray immigrant stories with authenticity (which include accents!), ones that are written by Asian Americans are roles to LOVE, not ones to avoid.”
“I think we should have pride in selecting those roles and not just blindly apply the word “stereotype” to anything that has an accent. Because accents are not inherently shameful.”
Wu then extended the discussion to other accents including European and various American accents, stating that the job of an actor is to not play themselves. “Also? I’m an actor, I majored in Acting in college and part of that course of study was learning accents that are not your own. French, British, Boston, etc. it’s not “fake” it’s just…acting. Because when you’re acting, you’re not playing yourself. People who are immigrants deserved to have their stories told, not avoided, and not watered down. Let’s have pride in these stories, because we come from those stories. Ok bye!”