Marvel is to release its first predominantly Asian superhero film.
Shang Chi will be based on the comic character.
While an Asian actor will have the leading role the studio is also hiring Asian Americans to produce it.
CGTN’s Phil Lavelle reports from Los Angeles.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting bigger and for the first time, it’s going to have a movie with an Asian lead, an Asian American director and an Asian-American screenwriter.
The story of Shang-Chi is being brought to the big screen. And it appears that Marvel is keen on giving it an authentic feel, which critics said is important.
“The authenticity just little details that having an inclusive staff behind the camera can really add to a movie. That’s huge. I just don’t think it would work in the same way unless you had that inclusive nature behind the camera for sure,” said Aaron Couch a Marvel expert at The Hollywood Reporter.
Inclusiveness, they said it’s good for business but it probably makes a better product as well. You really have to have that inclusive environment behind the camera, the details that people can bring in that’s really what’s going to make it work.
No details have been announced about who will play Shang-Chi, but the director will be Asian American, Destin Daniel Cretton. Chinese American, Dave Callaham has signed on to do the screenplay for the movie, which fans are expecting to drop in 2021.
It comes at a time when Hollywood has been reflecting on itself, following claims of racism, a lack of diversity and accusations of whitewashing. ‘Ghost In The Shell’ a story described as ‘about as Asian as it gets’ was panned after producers cast the white-American actress Scarlett Johansson in the lead role. Marvel was also accused of whitewashing, casting the white Scottish actress, Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in ‘Dr. Stranger.’
But Marvel was also praised for Black Panther – one of its big recent successes which saw a predominantly black cast and a black director rock the box office and collect a host of awards.
“Black Panther was certainly one of the more significant Hollywood stories of the past five years, you know. it proved a lot of myths wrong one for the main ones was the idea that movies with black casts don’t play well overseas, and that certainly was proven wrong because BP was a giant success overseas,” Couch said.
Nancy Wang Yuen is a scholar in race and ethnicity in film at Biola University in Southern California, and has written extensively on the subject of whitewashing in cinema.
“We’re so long overdue for a movie like that because we’re hungry to see ourselves. We don’t have enough representation. Everyone wants to see themselves represented and their friends represented accurately, and I think we’re in a time now where people are no longer sitting back and willing to just take stereotype representation, they’re very sensitive to that and they want to see people of color behind the scenes this gives a higher guarantee that will happen,” Yuen said.