Okay, so let’s recap in case you missed it…

For years, Zac Effron was rumored to be American’s Light Yagami. It turns out that wasn’t true, but another actor was cast in the role that has fans screaming about the choice just as much: Nat Wolff. For those of you who have no idea who that is, remember a few years back, when Nickelodeon had a show called The Naked Brothers Band? He was one of the brothers. See?

Nat Wolff during his Nickelodeon days on the left, and more recently on the right.

Yeah, that guy. Nope, he’s not even a little bit Asian, none the less actually Japanese. That’s actually most of the uproar.

Anyway, the new news is that Margaret Qualley has been cast as well. Although her role hasn’t been revealed, the word around the campfire is that she will be taking on the role of Misa Amane. Margaret is apparently best known as Jill Garvey from the show, The Leftovers.

margaretShe’s pretty, totally. But is she a Japanese pop star with a shinigami on her shoulder (so to speak) and an unhealthy obsession with mister sociopathic Light? And speaking of Light, he is rather dark by the time everything is said and done. Can Natt manage a role that dark? Or is Hollywood actually going so far as to remove all Japanese culture from the story and completely change everything around? (Personally, that’s what I think is happening, but hey, what do I know).

The public fan outcry is actually one of racial sensitivity. Hollywood has long been accused of so-called white-washing all sorts of roles, and this is one that has Asian Americans upset. The question of why a story that originates in Asia can’t have at least one Asian actor or actress is one that no one has addressed, even with the outcry for an explanation becoming deafening. There are several prominent Asian American actors and actresses in the industry, even if they happen to be Vietnamese or Korean. Why weren’t one of these people chosen to portray characters that are actually Asian? The silence from Hollywood is almost as loud as the questions being asked.

So here’s the question of the hour: Is this right? Is this okay, to take something that has a cultural background and setting, and seemingly remove that? Is what Hollywood is doing to this story something that is detrimental to it, or is it the fans of the original that need to have several seats?

What do I think? I’m a fan of the original, and I understand what the culture brings to the story and the lore. Stripping it seems like it would leave it very empty and hollow. and the fans are right, most minorities don’t really get a fair shake at their own stories, even when they clearly should. I side with the fans. Who do you side with?

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