Tom Cruise's character was based on Keiji Kiriya from Japanese novel 'All You Need Is Kill'
An Asian American organization has written a letter to director Doug Liman to ask him not to whitewash the upcoming sequel to Edge Of Tomorrow.
Media Network For Asian Americans (MANAA) claims that the 2014 sci-fi film was based on Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill but yet did not feature any Asian actors.
In a letter addressed to Liman, MANAA writes, “we are excited to hear that a sequel to Edge Of Tomorrow is in development. However, we are also disappointed that Asians and Asian Pacific Americans were not represented on-screen in the 2014 version, given that the source material is Japanese (All You Need is Kill).
MANAA stresses that audiences are “demanding Asian representation”, highlighting how badly the casting of Ghost In The Shell went down in 2017. “The selection of a Caucasian actress to play a Japanese character created so much outrage and backlash that when Johansson was later cast in the transgender role of Dante ‘Tex’ Gill in Rub And Tug, she had to withdraw due to strong public disapproval.”
The Asian American organization then directly labels Edge of Tomorrow as a “clear case of whitewashing” for “casting Tom Cruise as Keiji Kiriya and renaming him William Cage” and for “not including any Asians in the cast at all”.
However, MANAA displays some faith in the director and asks him to redeem himself by not whitewashing the film’s sequel. “With the sequel in development, you have an opportunity to remedy this, especially since many major characters in the previous film were killed off.”
“Representative casting is the right thing to do,” the letter states.
Liman is asked to “include substantial and compelling Asian roles in the sequel to appease audiences who are hungry to see onscreen representation.”
MANAA concludes its letter by telling the director, “we hope that your perspective has shifted since 2014” and hopes “that a sequel of Edge of Tomorrow does not further add to the whitewashing in Hollywood”.
Founded in 1992, MANAA is dedicated to monitoring the media and advocating balanced, sensitive, and positive coverage and portrayals of Asian Americans.
Since 1999, the organization has met annually with the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the four major TV networks – ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox, pushing for more diversity among writers, producers, actors, directors, and executives.
In a statement to Resonate, the LA-based organization said they were inspired to write the letter to hold the film’s creators accountable. “More accountability for whitewashing should fall on those who make casting decisions,” MANNA said. “If they fail to accommodate Asian casting, then they are willingly repeating the whitewashing from 2014. And the conversation & perspective on whitewashing has (hopefully) shifted since then.”