25 Shameful Times Hollywood White Washed Characters.

Now more than ever it's important for minorities to see themselves represented on the big screen. This doesn't seem like much to ask for, but Hollywood feels another way.

Here is a list of embarrassing cinematic moments when Hollywood has white washed its films.

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1. Alicia Nash in A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Films that are based on true stories will often take liberties to enhance the story for entertainment sake, and we forgive them... in most cases. In the case of A Beautiful Mind, where they took a Hispanic woman and turned her caucasian by casting Jennifer Connelly as Alicia, there is no excuse.

2. Hae-Joo Chang in Cloud Atlas (2012)

In Cloud Atlas, Jim Sturgess portrays a Korean man. Since he isn't Korean he had to wear prosthetics and yellowface. Can't get any worse than that... but it does. For the film Sturgess had his eyes altered by the make-up artist...

3. Brandi Boski in Stuck (2007)

Stuck is inspired by the true story of Chante Jawan Mallard, a young Black woman who commits a hit-and-run, then finds her fate tied to her victim. In the film they changed her name to Brandi Boski, and cast Mena Suvari, a pale blonde white woman. Don't worry, not to stray too far from the source material they gave her corn rows. Thanks Hollywood!

4. I.Y. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

Breakfast at Tiffanys is a film that has stood the test of time. It's hard to say what makes this film a fan favourite. The alluring performance of Audrey Hepburn, or possibly one of the most offensive performance from Mickey Rooney?

A lot of people forget Mickey Rooney is in the film, simply because he is "transformed" into a walking Japanese stereotype. Even if a Japanese man had been cast, there was no saving this from being the most racist moment in film history.


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5. Miguel Vargas in A Touch of Evil (1958)

Touch of Evil is a cinematic masterpiece given to us by Orson Welles. The film is a story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town that stars Charlton Heston as a Mexican DEA agent named Miguel Vargas. Heston. In case you were wondering Heston is of English and Scottish descent. Heston had to don pounds of dark makeup for the role. Throughout the film his skin appears in a variety of colors due to lighting changes. In some scenes, he almost looks like he's in blackface.

6. Sakini in The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956)

The performance in this film is all kinds of racist. First They cast Marlon Brando as an Okinawan translator. There is no doubt the man is a great actor, but even he admits he was "miscast" in the role. He underwent hours so that he could physically look like an Asian man. Second, his character didn't even do much translating in the film. This was because Brando didn't speak the Okinawan dialect that the rural village would have spoken. Instead they opted to speak Japanese, because if you're going to disrespect a culture, why not go all in.

7. Ira Hamilton Hayes in The Outsider (1961)

The civil rights movement was in full effect during the 50s and 60s. Progress was being made for minorities and Hollywood had to follow suit. So, when they need to cast a Native America soldier in The Outsider they look at Tony Curtis, who is of Hungarian descent, and thought, "close enough".

8. Genghis Khan in The Conqueror (1956)

We're going to go out on a limb and say The Conqueror is the worst film of all time. What makes it the worst film is what also lands it on this list. Who better to play Genghis Khan the Mongolian emperor than America's favourite cowboy John Wayne. Yes, the Duke was transformed into the "conqueror" with the magic of Hollywood make-up.


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9. Maria in West Side Story (1961)

There was no escaping the issue of race in West Side Story, the film follows two rival street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds, Puerto Rican and Polish. What they could have escaped was making the most racist casting decisions in film history when they cast Natalie Wood, neither Polish nor Puerto Rican, as the female Puerto Rican lead. To be fair the film did cast some Puerto Rican actresses as Maria's friends, but they barely make it out of the background.

10. Cleopatra in Cleopatra (1963)

One of the most iconic performances in film history is Elizabeth Taylor's portrayal of the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra. Often people forget she is a white woman portraying a woman of colour.

11. Othello in Othello (1965)

If Hollywood white washing didn't exist Laurence Olivier wouldn't have received and Oscar nomination for his performance as the title character in Othello.

Olivier is an amazing actor, and this film is one of his greatest performances, but when it came out it was 1965. With the civil rights movement was in full swing, and there were many great African American actors circulating Hollywood that could have taken the role, how about Sidney Poitier? There really is no excuse for this one.

12. Hrundi V. Bakshi in The Party (1968)

We cannot think of anyone whiter than Peter Sellers, but with the help of dark make-up he was able to play an bumbling Indian guy in The Party. Although, this is a humorous film you can never quite get past the brown face.

13. Irene in Drive (2011)

Irene, was originally written as a Latina woman in her late twenties. Naturally, when director Nicholas Winding Refn met Carey Mulligan, he felt she was perfect for the part.

While Mulligan performance is great, this casting decision robbed a perfectly good Latina actress of a role.


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14. Massai in Apache (1954)

There is no doubt how much Native American's have suffered, getting their land stolen from them, and the physical abuse they've suffered at the hands of the settlers. But rarely do we talk about the emotional abuse caused by Hollywood. Specifically, the time they tired to pass blue-eyed Burt Lancaster as Native American by giving him a tan.

Could they have cast a Native American for the lead role in Apache? Sure. Did they? No, and now we can continue to watch this shameful moment in cinematic history.

15. Eben Oleson in 30 Days of Night (2007)

In this film, Josh Hartnett stars as the Alaskan sheriff Eben Olemaun, who in the comic book the film is adapted from, is of Inuit descent, Hartnet is not. So, they changed the characters surname to Oleson.

We get it. When casting it can be hard to find an actor of the correct race, especially when you're not looking. The film is set in Barrow, Alaska with a population that's 57% Native American! White people only account for 22% of the population. If you watch closely you'll notice there is one Inuit character in the film. Which could have been their saving grace, if he wasn't portrayed by a Samoan actor.

16. Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart (2007)

Mariane Pearl, the mixed race wife of slain journalist Daniel Pearl. So, why does Angelina Jolie portray her in the 2007 film A Mighty Heart? This one might be excusable because Pearl herself hand-picked Jolie to play her. Saying it is about who you are. What is not excusable is the fact that Jolie's skin has clearly been darkened for her portrayal.

17. Ben Campell in 21 (2008)

21 is based on a true story of a group of MIT and Harvard students, most of them Asian-American, who made millions by counting cards in casinos all over the country. What's wrong with that?

Well, Jim Sturgess and Kate Bosworth were cast as the leads. The Asian roles dwindled in the cast allowing for the Korean friend and a part Filipino, part Chinese girl characters to fall flat in the background. The producers excuse was they didnt have access to any bankable Asian-American actors."


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18. Katara and Sokka in The Last Airbender (2010)

Don't beleive that M. Night Shyamalan is a perpetrator of white washing? Think again.

The casting of M. Night Shyamalans The Last Airbender is one of Noah Ringer does closely resemble his pale, wide-eyed character from the Asian culture-inspired TV series that inspired the film. However, both Nicola Peltz and Jackson Rathbone looked nothing like their characters.

In the case where they could have cast a light skinned person to portray Prince Zuk0, they went full on racist by casting Dev Patel as the villain. Next time you watch the film look closely, and you'll notice the heroes are portrayed by white actors, and the villain by someone with darker skin.

19. Dastan in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Why hire an Iranian actor as a Persian prince, when you can spray tan Jake Gyllenhaal. This casting choice caused an uproar in Hollywood.

Not that Iranian actors are out of work, they could always play a Pakistani terrorist on Homeland. Go Stereotypes!

20. Goku in Dragonball: Evolution (2009)

One of the biggest sins in cinema history is when Justin Chatwin, a white kid from Canada, was cast as Gokuin an adaptation of a Japanese manga.

21. Wang and O-Lan in The Good Earth (1937)

If the title film sounds familiar, but you just can't place it perhaps you know it better as the most racist film in history. It is based on the 1931 Pearl S. Buck novel about a family of Chinese farmers.

According to Hollywood legend they originally did want to cast actors and actresses of Chinese descent, but the studio, MGM, didnt think a cast of racial minorities would bring in an audience. Paul Muni, white man, was then cast in the lead role. Being the 30's they had to cast a white actress as the leading lady lady because of the Hays Code, which enforced racial segregation for romantic relationships in films.

If you're thinking that isn't too bad the entire cast is comprised of white actors wearing pounds of makeup and prosthetics to appear Chinese.


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22. Jade Tan in Dragon Seed (1944)

This film is about a Japanese woman named Jade Tan who, when faced with Imperialist Japanese soldiers invading her village during World War II, stands up to the army. Now, casting white actors to portray different actors wasn't abnormal at the time so seeing Katherine Hepburn playing Jade isn't what's shocking. Watching the film, and seeing her transformation into a woman of Japanese descent is what is truly disturbing.

23. Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games (2012)

The Hunger Games film franchise has been very successful at the box office, but fans of the book will notice something very wrong with the casting of Jennifer Lawrence. In the books, her character Katniss Everdeen is described as non-white, with dark olive skin.

The film has shot Jennifer Lawrence to superstar status, but it's sad to think another role was taken away from a minority actress. This casting is especially sinful due to the fact that the casting call called for "caucasian actresses between the ages of 15 and 20."

24. Tony Mendez in Argo (2012)

Ben Affleck's greatest performance is hands down that of CIA agent Tony Mendez. Unfortunately, it is overshadowed by the fact that he is a white man playing a man of hispanic decent.

25. Nora in Warm Bodies (2013)

There are few roles available for actors of color that aren't bit parts or stereotypes. When one does come along it is a shame to see it go to white actress. The character of Nora, in the novel, is that of Ethiopian decent. She was a fully realized character that would have been a great breakout role for a woman of color.

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Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.

Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.

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