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The movie 21 opens today in theaters, and a lot of you are already familiar with the controversy surrounding it. It’s based on the true story of a group of MIT students who learned to count cards and make off with millions in Vegas. [insert obligatory "baby"]. The team in real life was led by two Asian-American men, but in the movie, these characters are essentially played by Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe) and Kate Bosworth (Orlando Bloom’s ex-girlfriend). For two quality takes on these dubious casting decisions, check out Racialicious and Angry Asian Man.
The Boston Herald reported today on the hubbub, and Ben Mezrich, who wrote the nonfiction bestseller Bringing Down the House about the MIT students, was quoted as saying:
“Sony looked at hundreds and hundreds of actors – from all ethnicities – to play the lead character, and I am sure if they found a hot 21-year-old Asian actor, they would have hired him. But they didn’t. They found Jim.”
Now, we’re not really card players, nor are we particularly good with numbers (sorry, Dad), but this afternoon, we easily “found” 21 hot Asian (and mostly Asian-American) actors on the internetz:
So either Sony’s casting people really really suck at their jobs or the studio really really doesn’t believe that Asians can open a movie. We’re betting it’s the latter.