Asia

Jackie Chan’s New Film Sparks Outrage Because His Character is ‘Vietnamese’

The trailer for Jackie Chan’s new film “The Foreigner” has since been released to much acclaim, but another issue with Chan’s character is now creating a buzz online.

Based on the 1992 novel “The Chinaman” by Stephen Leather, the new thriller is directed by “Casino Royale” director Martin Campbell. Chan’s latest role marks a departure from his usual comedic action style in favor of a brooding serious tone that shows off his acting prowess. 

But while many are understandably excited about the action legend’s return to the big screen, some people have expressed criticisms over his casting.

The negative reaction apparently stems from the interpretation that Chan’s character in the film is Vietnamese. A scene in the trailer showed a passport identifying the character as a Vietnamese immigrant in London named Ngoc Minh Quan.

Twitter user @linhtropy posted a series of tweets pointing out how “You can’t mix-and-match people’s ethnicities.”

@Linhtropy further explained that having a Chinese actor play a Viet character can be a form of erasing Vietnamese culture, especially since China has been one of the countries that colonized Vietnam in the past. 

Asian-American user @Reappropriate added that the film itself is a problem as it is based on a book titled with a racial slur.

Both critics also pointed out that while having an Asian actor star in a Hollywood movie already means a lot for representation, miscasting ethnicities misses the whole point.

However, a representative for the film revealed that Chan’s character is actually Chinese, and the plot involves some mysteries on the hero’s real identity.

In a statement released to Teen Vogue, a spokesperson for STX Entertainment said:

“SPOILER ALERT: The character is Chinese in the movie and is being brought to life on screen by Jackie Chan, one of the most beloved and popular actors known throughout the world. We can’t wait for audiences to see Jackie in this extraordinary role (with extraordinary plot twists about his true identity).”

We’ll all find out soon enough how well all this plays out as “The Foreigner” opens stateside on October 13, 2017.


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