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.
WHO ASKED FOR THIS ???????????? https://t.co/YC78LLvtnY— Rebecca Sun (@therebeccasun) February 23, 2018
Seriously!?! Another one of those movies where the Asian actors are props and the story--set in JAPAN--revolves around the ONE Hollywood actor?!?— Abdul R. Siddiqui (@PakistaniPepper) February 23, 2018
white guy goes through an emo phase then decides to join a gang in this trailer for Netflix’s The Outsider.— William Yu (@its_willyu) February 23, 2018
there I fixed it. https://t.co/tTZHLGukVE
What problem is there so far, all I notice is the race baiting and misleading headline. Judging off the headline u think it's whitewashing but u read the article it's something different. I'm more annoyed at that than the movie premise— Samwell Gnarly (@JolieFemmeSam) February 23, 2018
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.— CJ Melendez (@CJMelendez_) February 23, 2018
Smh @ Netflix. I can believe a white man can be a member of the yakuza, but only if it isn't forced diversity pandering to a vocal minority. https://t.co/aOlbNLqRg3— ????????NB (@CanadiEnby) February 23, 2018
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.”
If you want to watch something on the Yakuza in post-war Japan, check out the five amazing films in the 'Yakuza Papers' series by Kinji Fukasaku which covers the Yakuza's rebirth and rise from the early '50s to the early '70s. Leave this embarrassing mess unloved and ignored. https://t.co/rQFAxgAM57— Chris Eng (@hoodieripper) February 23, 2018
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.