Hawaii Film Blog

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Hollywood Studio System is "Inherently Racist"

Indian Briton as Iraqi soldier

...so says Naveen Andrews who plays "Sayid" on ABC's "Lost" in an interview by the Advertiser's Michael Tsai. Specifically, when Tsai asks Andrews to comment on the kudos "Lost" is getting for its multiethnicity, he says, "We do live in a world that is populated by people who are other than white. We are using the medium of television to make that clear to the Hollywood studio system, which is inherently racist and always has been. There is a different kind of reality to be portrayed — and it's the real one."

Regarding "Sayid," Andrews, who is of Indian descent and was born and bred in London, said he and the show were "pretty nervous in the sense that we all felt we owed a real obligation, not just to Iraqis but the entire Arab world about how this character would be played. One of the biggest kicks was getting a letter from the Arab League saying how pleased they were about this. It was the first time they had seen an Arab character like that on TV. He's romantic, and not just to other Arab women but to white women as well, which is a big no-no in Hollywood. It's all right for a white geezer to be with a black woman or a Chinese woman, but never the other way around. And we do that on this show. That's what we need to see more of."

But actors like Andrews and "Lost" co-stars Daniel Dae Kim, Yunjin Kim, Jorge Garcia, Harold Perrineau, Jr., Michelle Rodriguez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Malcolm David Kelley, and L. Scott Caldwell, are still swimming upstream in an "inherently racist" Hollywood. Sister hit show "Desperate Housewives," for example, is, according to the grapevine (thanks angry asian man), going to introduce a new Asian character early next year, a "young Chinese maid of one of our housewives. I'm hearing her name is Chin-Chi, she speaks a little English, and she'll stick around for quite some time." Bloody excellent. Well, who knows, maybe she'll turn out to be Communist spy, an oversexed dominatrix, a kung-fu assassin, an undercover PhD student working on her dissertation about dysfunction in American suburbia, or some other interesting, multidimensional character like that. Oh wait...what?...never mind...those are...duh...stereotypes too.

>> Actor in the zeitgeist [Honolulu Advertiser, 12/28/05]

>> Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa Waxes Sentimental
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
>> "Lost" Writers a Diverse Bunch
Minority Writers Get Minor Share of Work

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