Film Forward

#StarringJohnCho Makes A Powerful Statement About Diversity In Hollywood With Redesigned Film Posters

Tweet the change you wish to see in the world.

Hollywood has a well-documented diversity problem, but a 25-year-old digital strategist is reimagining a solution — one tweet at a time.


William Yu created the #StarringJohnCho website and @StarringJohnCho Twitter account as a social movement that "literally shows you what it would look like if today's Hollywood blockbusters cast an Asian-American actor — specifically, John Cho — as their leading man." 

Using Photoshop, Yu redesigned popular movie posters to feature Cho, an award-winning Korean actor best known for American Beauty, Star Trek, and the Harold & Kumar trilogy. 

Considering that each of these films was shot roughly five years apart, it just goes to show exactly how hard it is to get consistent, quality work as one of America's top Asian actors.

But that's all about to change if William Yu has anything to tweet about it.

According to UCLA's Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies' 2016 Hollywood Diversity Report, new evidence from 2013 and 2014 suggests "that America's increasingly diverse audiences prefer diverse film and television content." Despite that, minorities are still "underrepresented on every front" in Hollywood. 

Minority actors claimed only 12.9 percent of leading roles in 163 films from 2014, and of that amount, 81.3 percent went to African-Americans. Asian-Americans are arguably the most "whitewashed" race in the media, as seen in the problematic casting choices of AlohaGhost in the Shell, and 21.

Only 1 percent of lead film roles go to Asian actors. It's not much better on the small screen, where Asian actors are cast in 4 percent and 2 percent of broadcast scripted show and cable scripted roles, respectively.

Now, the #StarringJohnCho movement has flipped the script by creating "a reality that brings that vision of tomorrow's Hollywood to today."

They say, "Seeing is believing." If that's true, John Cho should be getting a lot of callbacks right about now. Though the actor is "not affiliated with #StarringJohnCho," he did tweet a heart emoji at the account last night. 

According to BBC News, other famous Asian performers such as Ellen Oh, Ki-Hong Lee, and Margaret Cho have also followed the account. 

Overall, the social media response has been positive, with thousands of #StarringJohnCho tweets since last week. Casting directors: take note. 


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