Compiled and translated by Shin-wei Chang

An online movement has been launched to demand cast diversity in Hollywood.

William Yu, creator of the #StarringJohnCho campaign, intends to raise public awareness regarding the lack of Asians taking lead roles in movies. Yu says, only 1% of the leading roles are Asian, and there is no more than 7% of Asian actors in Hollywood films. In addition, Aaron Sorkin, writer of the movie “Steve Jobs" and TV series “The Newsroom," has also complained that the lack of Asian movie stars has made it difficult to adapt movies with Asian protagonists.

In the campaign, John Cho, a Korean movie star cast in the “Harold and Kumar" trilogy, Star Trek, and Total Recall (2010), is regarded as “Hollywood’s best hope for an Asian-American leading man." The website of the #StarringJohnCho campaign claims that Cho deserves to get top billings.

By changing the image of the leading roles to John Cho on movie posters, Yu intends to show what it would look like to have an Asian playing a leading role, and says, “It’s not that terrifying."

The Asian film market also plays an important role in the global film market, and the Asian box office surpassed that of the US and Canada, reaching US$10.5 billion in 2014, with China earning US$4.8 billion. Los Angeles Times reports, China is predicted to become the largest movie market in 2017, and the Chinese box office is set to grow at least 30% in 2016.

Higher diversity, higher revenue?

A 2016 report on Hollywood diversity, conducted by UCLA Bunche Center, says movies hit better box office revenue when the cast is more diverse. Moreover, the report shows that a 41% to 50% non-white cast brings the most return on movie investments.

A New York Times article argues, the Fast and Furious series (a total of seven movies) has a crew and cast of high racial diversity and has earned more than a total of US$4 billion. Michelle Rodriguez, a female star in the franchise, also credits its success to the multicultural cast and the audience drawn by it.

Edited by Olivia Yang

Starring John Cho (Official Site)
Starring John Cho (Twitter)
Los Angeles Times
Yale Global Online
The New York Times
AJ+ video
The Huffington Post
The Hollywood Reporter
UCLA Newsroom