Netflix has released another film for the first quarter of 2018, but people are creating backlash of the film even before it’s seen. The issue is not on the plot itself, but on the casting.
The Outsider is a thriller film that stars Jared Leto as a soldier who loses his way and finds comfort in joining the popular Japanese mob syndicate, the Yakuza. According to Collider, the movie has been in the works for quite some time now. However, this just looks like another movie in Netflix’s “content pile.”
The trailer shows Leto with a clear cut as he features a couple of action moves. Leto is an award-winning actor, but he hasn’t got much credit for his past work lately. Even before the actual screening, The Outsider is predicted to be a B-movie at most. Still, unless the movie is out, these is still just speculation.
Moreover, people are not only criticizing the film for Leto’s past performances, but for his casting. Since this is a story about the Yakuza, many wonder why, in 2018, it’s still difficult for production companies like Netflix to find an Asian-American actor to play the role.
Yomyomf noted that the film actually has a lot of Japanese cast, but this still doesn’t deter the fact that the protagonist is a white man.
Special Education educator and culture writer Abdul R. Siddiqui noted that the casting did nothing to highlight the Japanese culture. Instead, they set it in Japan and hired Japanese actors only as “props” to “ONE Hollywood actor.”
While others don’t see this as culture appropriation since Leto’s character is supposed to be an ex-soldier who joins in the Yakuza, another user justified this as a similar “transgression.”
“It’s different because the film’s creators created a white role for a white actor that appropriates another culture rather than, say, cast a white actor for an asian character? The transgression is all the same.”
Though others look at it as an opportunity to a create culture-appropriate film like Black Panther, Netflix reportedly looked for other white male alternatives like Tom Hardy or Michael Fassbender.
The film stars Tadanobu Asano, Kippei Shiina, Shioli Kutsuna, Emile Hirsch, Raymond Nicholson, Rory Cochrane, Nao Omori, and Min Tanaka. The Outsider will be released on March 9.