Cyberpunk's Asian representation problem



I was just about to suggest that animation might have been the way to go. Hell, animate every era in a different style and book-end it with live action.


I think that Cloud Atlas is awkward as an example of the representation problem, because unlike most, it had an unusually diverse cast to begin with. So I suspect that they were not being stingy with roles out of bigotry, oversight, or laziness. There is a controversial argument to be made, I think, that the Cloud Atlas approach is more progressive than most are ready for, demonstrating that racial/ethnic distinctions do exist, but are not as significant or immutable as some might assume.

Besides the Euro/Australian Hugo Weaving as the presumably Korean Boardman Mephi, they also played two English and an American, which nobody seemed to find controversial. The Korean actress Doona Bae played also Tilda Ewing (Celtic?) and an unnamed Mexican woman. Chinese actress Xun Zhou plays a Korean clone, an American, and a Euro/Hawaiian. The Euro/African actress Halle Berry played a Pacific islands native, an Indian partygoer, Luisa Rey (American), Jocasta Ayrs (English), as well as Ovid (Korean?) who has even more drastic makeup than Weaving:


The main reason why Cloud Atlas gets viewed as problematic IMO is because it begs comparison to other productions where “transracial” casting is done to avoid diversity, rather than to celebrate it.


Don’t forget Barkhad Abdi, who played Doc Badger (the scanner guy). You may know him as the Muse, the main pirate in Captain Philips.

Also, while I recognized Lennie James from the Walking Dead. I can’t believe I didn’t realize before now he was in Snatch, one of my favorite films ever.


Totally forgot about that guy. Thank you for bringing him up. I rather liked that his character did most of his speaking in… i’m not sure what language. Edit: The actor is Somali so perhaps that’s what he was speaking, but i’m not sure.


Forgot all about him, that’s just how minor his role was. (But then again, I’m of the mind that aside from being really pretty, the entire film itself was fairly forgettable.)

In fact, his presence was so unremarkable that this is what shows up in a Google image search under Doc Badger blade runner 2049:

That’s telling, in and of itself.


You’re not the only one, and it’s hard for me to believe that’s ‘just happenstance.’


Maybe it was because you saw him from a funny angle?

Oddly, I hadn’t made the connection until you pointed it out.


I think it was partly the age difference, partly that he didn’t have an English accent mainly, and partly that other than Snatch I didn’t recognize him from his other work.

I am not disagreeing with you that he was a small character, nor that the world was overly white. I just listened to part of the Blade Runner (original) re:View by Redletter Media, and was reminded of the early scene with Deckard at the noodle stand, showing it got even less Asian in the new one. Anyway - But, given it was a minor character, there is no toys out etc, the character wasn’t leaked or in the promo materials, it is probably going to take time before it shows up on the internet. Even the Blade Runner wiki (because EVERYTHING needs a wiki) has only 7 characters listed.


I read it 30 years ago, but stand corrected.


I’m going to focus on the awesome coincidence (my first read was same year) rather than the reminder that 30 years has passed. :mage:


Um, you do realize that the reason white models are used on billboards world wide is because they are often for American-based companies yeah? And that white is the idealized mode of beauty, right? And that’s been true for a while?


Not to mention jet packs and weekend trips to the moon and whatnot.
By the time 2000 came around, what we actually got was collapsible pedal scooters (they were marketed around here as kickboards).




The weird thing is that I live in the year 2017 now and a year date like 2000 or 2001 still feels like “some time in the distant future” to me.


That was just one bit…image is another. Also Second hand inspiration is still inspiration? no?


That’s largely been my take away from the film. They chose to have the same actors play same person as they were reincarnated through out time regardless of form. It was intentional and I didn’t think it was tone deaf at all (maybe if all the actors were of European descent I’d feel differently).


That’s probably a residual from growing up in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s; when the 21st century seemed so close, yet still so far.

Now that we’re here…


Agreed. Also, for some time I kinda thought the future would be in black and white… (I watched the re-runs in the 70ies during my formative years. And Star Trek TOS, also at first in b&w. Looking back, the plywood sets looked much more believable that way.)


A post was merged into an existing topic: “White” is not really A Thing


Or they own us, and we’re looking at an environment where the prevailing white population is forced to assimilate into Asian society- Like we did to pretty much every group we encountered through history.

I mean, if the people are all European, but all the consumer goods and public services seem designed to cater to Asians, it kinda seems like the most likely scenario.