KevJumba (one of the most popular, subscribed people on Youtube) recently posted a new video, the first in several months since he started college. He talks about the whitewashed casting in the upcoming Dragonball movie, an issue that hits home personally for him as a big fan of Dragonball growing up. Seeing that video made my day, because KevJumba's videos routinely reach two million viewers, so he's reaching a lot of people when he's addressing the issues of whitewashed casting and the exclusion of non-stereotypical roles for Asian American male actors.
Near the end of the clip, KevJumba cleverly dances around the reasons for whitewashing by asking if it's an issue of cool-ness. Ultimately it's not about if Asians are cool or not; it is that Hollywood is essentially saying American consumers are so racist/discriminatory that they won't pay as much to see an Asian American or Asian male actor lead a movie. This explains why The Departed and My Sassy Girl were remade/copied from popular Asian movies, and why upcoming or recent projects like Avatar, Akira, Speed Racer, 21, and even Charlie Chan are all being whitewashed or excluding Asian actors from roles. Nevermind the fact that Slumdog Millionnaire just won Best Picture, that actors like Jackie Chan and Jet Li have proven past box office success for Asian actors, and that Asian American actors are major characters in popular American shows such as Lost, Heroes, or House (before Kal Penn left).
On a related note, here is a link to an article I wrote about the unjustified discriminatory casting and whitewashing in Hollywood movies.
Asians Just Aren't Cool Enough?