Does Hollywood have something against Asian actors and actresses?
According to Masi Oka, who appeared on NBC's Heroes and is a Japanese-American, the answer is yes. He says that the film industry is reluctant to cast Asian faces in leading roles.
“It’s changed in Hollywood, but only so much,” Oka he said. "You can’t get Asians cast in leads yet. Maybe as a second lead, but the lead is still going to be Caucasian or African-American. But Hollywood is fickle, it follows trends. If a show or a film did well with an Asian lead, then it would take off.”
Oka wants to help bridge the gap between American and Japanese entertainment.
“I grew up bicultural, reading manga in America. I’m a product of that,” he said. “I want to act as a bridge between Japan and America.”
The actor believes that Japan could use some political comedy, specifically using Second City and its method as an example of something that could benefit the island nation. Japanese TV avoids political context mainly, even though there are areas that are ripe for satire.
“Japan needs political humor and satire,” he added. “The political system here isn’t working; it needs to change.”
I think he has a point (with the Hollywood part - I have never been to Japan and cannot comment on the rest). Hollywood seems to play it safe, mostly. I cannot same I blame it, though - making a movie is not cheap. There are few Asian actors that I can picture that a studio would really think could carry a picture.