Cyberpunk's Asian representation problem


And as i pointed out above. The movie takes place in California, one of the most mixed states in the country. I want to make clear i’m not “outraged” or upset over the casting, i think the movie is wonderful. I am however voicing my disappointment over the poor choice to cast so many white actors, especially after there’s been so much press these past years of problematic casting choices.



I don’t think it’s quite fair to base what the future of Blade Runner’s universe should be like on real life projections, considering it already contains things that are obviously an alternate reality, such as the continued existence of Pan-Am. That said, it was already established that there were lots of Asians in the first movie, so it does seem inconsistent to have them suddenly all vanished. Zathras’ explanation would make sense to me if we hadn’t already been shown otherwise in the first movie, and the second one doesn’t really offer up any explanation that would justify it.


Thank God, I don’t.


I think it’s this guy…


…for the reasons that you mentioned.


That might be true (sorry for not having an accurate feel of the current demographics). I can’t think of a good reason why the cast should not represent present-day levels of racial diversity.
I should have made clearer that I was only objecting to the idea that increased presence of Asian-inspired culture does not require increased presence of Asian-descended people. The article doesn’t explicitly complain about the mismatch between the movie’s demographics and actual present-day demographics, it seems to imply that representation of Asian cultural influence should go together with increased representation of racially Asian people.
This view implies a level of identity between genetics and culture that does not sit well with me.

tl;dr: I did not mean to imply that the number of asian characters in BR:2049 was appropriate. But I do think that the level of Asian cultural influence depicted in the movie should have no bearing on it.


That’s the excuse du jour, yes.


Interesting how that shifted to Chinese influences in the 90’s, right? I’m specifically thinking of Firefly and a few others.


Seeing how unremittingly horrible and self-destructive every character in the original film was, I can buy that. Perhaps all that mass of Asian iconography, food, etc. is just empty cultural appropriation of a long murdered race – similar to how Native American culture is sometimes used by whites in the western U.S.


I would buy it too if addressed in some way but the way the movie currently stands it seems like a curious oversight. Like i said, as far as i recall there’s a single black character in the entire movie and i don’t understand why that is.


We’re overthinking it and retconning, of course. Fun, but the real problem is that Hollywood’s casting practises haven’t changed much since 1982.


This :arrow_up:️ Casting Bladerunner 2049 whitewhitewhite is lazy, unimaginative, and insensitive. The fact that boingboing readers are creative enough to back a plausible story into that does not make it OK.


Ironically, the original BR at least had the noodle shop guy at the beginning.


I suspect that since nudity costs producers extra, they’ll want to use it where it will have the most impact on box office draw, and that means female nudity. But I’m just guessing! I don’t know jack about Hollywood.


And Hannibal “I Just Do Eyes” Chew, played by the great James Hong.


At first I was like wow good point. But then I did a comparison of how today’s marketing is like.

You can go to countries with next zero Caucasian presence and you will still be exposed to tons of American advertising (in English words mind you) and the models on the advertisement would be blue eye blonde hair. Lots of other cultures and races do find light hair, light skin, light eyes to be exotic and attractive (my black Gf from Africa got tons of modeling offers as a kid because of her green eyes). So Caucasian models are seen on billboards in the middle East or Philippines or wherever.

But anyways point of this article is damn white people if they are using white models in other cultures and damn white people if they use Asian advertising where there are no Asians.



Yeah, one of my early-80’s favorties, too!


I would say one problem is that the Los Angeles depicted in the film doesn’t even look like LA as it is now, let alone how it might look in a future where asian influences have taken an even greater foothold.


RE James Hong - the guy who does the No Small Parts channel did and AMAZING video on Hongs work. Unfortunately, he had to take it down as he used clips from another video who interviewed him, and he had to change things to appease their copy right. Then the 2nd time he said James Hong requested a few changes, but that he also wanted him to maybe work with him on a documentary about his life. Sooo - like 3 or 4 months ago he said he might put it up - or just wait if this other thing panned out … I dunno. It is a shame its not up in SOME form as I think he was super well done and covered not just his career, but touched on the issues of Asians in films.

Fun fact - he did have a small role in the 90s Shadow film.