Everything might be connected in Cloud Atlas, but some aren't exactly connecting with the decision to cast Caucasian actors in Asian roles.
As a result, the film, which spans several centuries and finds actors playing characters of more than one race, age and even gender, has come under fire by the Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA).
"Cloud Atlas missed a great opportunity," said MANAA founding president Guy Aoki in a statement to Asian Week referring to a storyline in South Korea in the year 2144."The Korea story's protagonist is an Asian man - an action hero who defies the odds and holds off armies of attackers. He's the one who liberates [South Korean actress] Doona Bae from her repressive life and encourages her to join the resistance against the government. It would have been a great, stereotype-busting role for an Asian American actor to play, as Asian American men aren't allowed to be dynamic or heroic very often.
"But instead, they cast Jim Sturgess in yellowface," Aoki noted, while also expressing his frustration over how actors were made to look Asian.
"Every major male character in the Korea story is played by non-Asian actors in really bad yellowface make-up," he said.
"When you first see Hugo Weaving as a Korean executioner, there's this big close-up of him in this totally unconvincing Asian make-up. The Asian Americans at the pre-screening burst out laughing because he looked terrible - like a Vulcan on Star Trek. It took us out of the movie. And Jim Sturgess and James D'Arcy didn't look much better."