Hawaii Film Blog

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa Waxes Sentimental

The Advertiser's Mike Tsai recently interviewed Honolulu resident Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa about his role as "The Baron" in the controversial "Memoirs of a Geisha." Interestingly, in Arthur Golden's novel, The Baron is a weak-willed alcoholic, but on screen, Tagawa gives the character some punch, making him more strong and confident.

While he plays the strong bad guy, Ken Watanabe gets to play the strong good guy. Of this, Tagawa says, "I'm sentimental lately. It's sad, the way Asian strength has always been portrayed as evil or bad. Ken is coming into a time when that kind of strength can now be seen as positive. That was what I had always hoped for, and it's a dream for me to watch these actors take advantage of that."

Of the various trans-ethnic/national/cultural controversies surrounding "Memoirs," Tagawa says, "There are some technical things about the culture that might not be totally correct, but anything produced outside of Japan is going to be interpretive. It's Hollywood's interpretation of geisha culture, but it's powerful and it's inspirational. It's produced a lot of strong, emotional responses, especially in women."

Finally, Tagawa (and I) hope that Asian and Asian American (and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander) actors and filmmakers will take the reins to create their own art. After all, self-representation is the best way to combat stereotypes and ignorance. So, get to work, people!

Actor sees promise for Asians in 'Geisha' [Hnl Advertiser, 12/20/05]

Yunjin Kim Rejected "Geisha" Role
Morita Was Best Supporting Asian
DDK Makes List of People's "Sexiest Men Alive"
Actors Get Reality Check
>> Kudos to "Lost" on Asian American Representation
Cultural Insensitivity
>> Halting American Cultural Imperialism
>> Charlie Chan's "Number One" Granddaughter

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