“Aloha” director Cameron Crowe has responded to criticism of his casting Emma Stone as a part-Asian character in the romantic comedy set in Hawaii.
“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,” Crowe wrote on his blog, the Uncool, Tuesday evening.
The story of a jaded defense contractor (Bradley Cooper) looking to get his life back together costars Stone as Allison Ng, an Air Force pilot who is one-quarter Chinese and one-quarter Hawaiian on her father’s side; her mother is of Swedish descent.
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“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,” Crowe wrote. “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.”
In his blog post, the filmmaker also said “Aloha” has “felt like a misunderstood movie” since emails in which it was badmouthed by Sony executives were leaked last year.
In recent weeks, the movie has been called out for featuring mostly white actors and accused of cultural misappropriation via its choice of title. Sony defended the film, saying it “respectfully showcases the spirit and culture of the Hawaiian people.”
Crowe wrote that he was proud to have employed many Asian Americans, native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders on the movie, “both before and behind the camera.” He added that the ordeal taught him that “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.”
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