Cameron Crowe on Casting Emma Stone: ‘I Offer You a Heart-Felt Apology’

Cameron Crowe

Aloha” director Cameron Crowe, who has given very few interviews to promote the film, spoke out Tuesday about some of the negative reaction to his film and especially his casting of Emma Stone as the one-quarter Hawaiian Allison Ng character. Crowe explained she was based on a real-life redhead who was constantly explaining her heritage.

He writes on his blog TheUncool, “I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice. As far back as 2007, Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one. A half-Chinese father was meant to show the surprising mix of cultures often prevalent in Hawaii. Extremely proud of her unlikely heritage, she feels personally compelled to over-explain every chance she gets. The character was based on a real-life, red-headed local who did just that.”

He goes on to explain that he is proud that the production employed many locals and cast several roles with Hawaiian actors.

“If any part of her fine characterization has caused consternation and controversy, I am the one to blame,” he says.

The “Jerry Maguire” and “Almost Famous” director sounds chastened by the harsh reaction to his latest film. “From the very beginning of its appearance in the Sony Hack, “Aloha” has felt like a misunderstood movie,” he says. Crowe also says he is anxious to tell stories with more racial diversity in the future.

 

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  1. anonymous says:

    Who cares Emma Stone was fantastic in the movie!!

    We aren’t bound to play the same roles the same characters because of where we come from, or what skin tone we have!

    Does anyone agree If so, reply agree!

  2. Gahan says:

    More groveling before the Liberal Inquisition. PC crap like this is destroying the business.

  3. Marsha Berger says:

    The film “Aloha” was thoroughly entertaining! ! Cameron Crowe did a splendid job of telling a magical story. It did not deserve the harsh criticism. Well acted, well filmed and it made for a great date night romantic slice of life. Keep them coming Cameron!!!

  4. Chuck Zigman says:

    What is the filmmaker apologizing for? How come, in today’s world, everybody has to apologize for everything? Doesn’t make sense.

  5. Emma Stone is horrible.

  6. Candice says:

    That would be all well and good, but, Bradley Cooper & Stone, had ZERO chemistry. THAT was the real reason the film tanked.

  7. Jacob says:

    I want to see who the character was based on. How can you have a Chinese father and not look the least bit asian. Sounds like he’s looking for an excuse. It’s a bit messed up that asians are a very low percentage on screen and once a part specifically calls for one they hire a white actress instead.

  8. sorry says:

    This is insanity. The character is based on a real person that had the problem of not looking “ethnic,” but felt she was. Besides that, it’s a work of fiction. If a writer wants a character to look a certain way, that his/her choice. Nobody can be forced to like the choice, but he doesn’t have to apologize.

  9. Larry says:

    Why doesn’t Crowe apologize for writing and directing a wonderful cast into a basically lousy film? He let everyone down, cast crew and audience. With the talent he had on hand, he should have done a much, much better job. His writing and direction completely sucked. Oh yeah, something about an Asian-American being offended – sorry, didn’t notice.

    • carlb says:

      one good movie with tom cruise does not a Spielberg make! you could have made this movie with tom and it would have made it’s money back and then some! while I do not plan on going I may when it gets to the library check it out if I remember it. lol

      • Sal U. Lloyd says:

        Speilberg is known for comedy drama?

      • Skoonix says:

        You show some ignorance about Crowe’s career w/ your comment about “one good movie with tom cruise”…Crowe wrote the seminal “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” and has written & directed the wonderful “Say Anything” and “Almost Famous”. Yes his last few films haven’t worked but guess what? Writing is hard.

  10. DougW says:

    Apologize for not changing the background of the character, not for casting Emma. He handled this very poorly, as the headline to this story proves.

  11. Todd says:

    I’m saddened a bit that this otherwise intelligent man felt an apology was necessary or that it would mean anything to the low-information, terminally offended dross.

    An explanation? I get that. I didn’t know the gal was terminally unhip enough to feel the need to be frustrated and need to “over-explain” her heritage. Guess it’s relative to the name and the desire to not have it assumed she married into it.

    The weight of an apology has been so downgraded of late due to the over-pandering to the miff-monkeys.

    Todd.

  12. What Crowe should have said: “You don’t like my casting? Make your own f-cking movie you f-cking cry babies. Whah whah! Daniel Day Lewis played Lincoln but he’s Irish! Not American! No fair! DeNiro played Jake LaMotta but LaMotta was full italian!! Not a quarter!! Don’t like my casting? don’t see the movie. Now get that mic out of my f-cking face”.

    • WendyW says:

      I agree.

    • Jacob says:

      It’s not really about Crowe it’s about there being racial discrimination in Hollywood that keeps creeping up. Here’s another situation of it once again. Lewis playing Lincoln isn’t the same thing. It’s not like John Cho played Lincoln.

    • carlb says:

      nice retort from one of his fans. but one good movie with tom cruise as the star does not a Spielberg make. by the way I think lincoln did have Scottish blood maybe a 1/4!

  13. I goggled Ng and she definitely looks part Asian -part Hawaiian , so what is he talking about?

  14. Colin Smith says:

    So it turns out that Cameron Crowe’s point about Allison Ng (Emma Stone’s character) is meant to be a humorous case of mistaken identity. Yes, there’s irony there, but it’s an unsophisticated sort of irony that makes light of mixed race people because it’s presented as a joke. The bigger and more troubling irony is that with Aloha we get yet another movie about Hawaii that’s not only mostly about white people, who make up a minority of the population, but which also casts white actors for mixed-race roles. What’s wrong with that, you ask? Nothing in and of itself, but when it happens over and over and over again, it gets tiresome and the message seems to be that non-white people don’t matter and it’s OK to exclude them.

  15. Cornelia Trowbridge says:

    Emma Stone’s performance and character in Alpha are not only convincing but plausible. Her wide set eyes and broad, high cheekbones could be the outcome of a half Chinese/Hawaiian/Norwegian genetic mix. Hawaii was one of the most culturally diverse areas in the world. Naysayers are woefully ignorant of hawaii’s interesting history. The film was thought provoking and a little scary in that “privatization” of the military is actually more frightening than government. Its a good film that evoked many feelings and provided plenty of stimulus for thought.

  16. …crowe…go f $&# yourself!…

    • Sean Ching says:

      You’re NOT from da Aina, OBVIOUSLY. I guess you think The Descendants is a fine example of casting as well. That’s a great movie with great performances and is TERRIBLY rascist in its casting and a complete fantasy of casting inv the entire film.

      Obviously your opinion supports casting her as 1/4 Black! If this were the same premise but making the character black instead of Asian.

  17. So the casting was intentional and necessary to advance the whole “nobody believes I’m native Hawaiian” plot line of the character, yet Cameron is still issuing a “heartfelt apology”? Am I missing something here? Why would you “apologize” for something that you did on purpose for reasons you believe are correct?

    • Because he understands the different between effect and intent. You can apologise for the hurt your actions cause even when you believe the initial logic behind them to be justifiable.

  18. Thomas Houlahan says:

    Claude Rains played a French police Captain in Casablanca. He wasn’t French. Eli Wallach wasn’t Mexican. Yul Brynner (The King and I) wasn’t Thai. I feel cheated. Someone owes me an apology

  19. TOM says:

    I’m sure that if he tried to cast an ‘ethnic’ actress in this role, he would’ve been pressured to hire ‘a name’ that’ll ensure international dollars.

  20. Shadow Eagle says:

    The non-white actors who are looking for jobs are the ones who care, when they cant get a job even portraying people like themselves.

  21. Mantle Head says:

    Who cares who plays what character..? Why is this an issue; but Crowe needs to tell a story that people will pay to see and this controversy will cease (that’s the real tragedy: no story… dumb movie!)

  22. Lisa says:

    I liked the movie, have seen it twice already, and Emma Stone was the draw for me. I went for the entertainment value to escape a stressful challenging day and it did the trick. Is that wrong? Sometimes that is all I want in a movie.

  23. jj says:

    I bought CC’s explanation – until I looked for a photo of Ng. She looks Chinese and PI, with light hair. Nothing like Stone. She was an odd choice, for a sensitive movie about a real person. Her acting is OK, and there were hundreds of others that could have played the part.
    It’s just… ODD. Can Cooper play Gandhi, in the next movie?

  24. Alyson says:

    I am very excited to see the movie and even more so now that I know why Emma got cast to play captain Ng.
    I think the negative comments are the perfect example of the lack of critical thinking that is involved when people make Internet complaints.

  25. filmsharks says:

    ‘Aloha’ is a turkey way beyond the Hawaiian descent controversy. The screenplay is horrible. I expected more from Crowe. Why can’t he just own up and admit his movie is a failure?

  26. ericscoles says:

    That is one of the sorriest excuses for an apology I’ve seen in a long time. Basically, “I’m sorry I cast this lily-white WASP to fill this role I wrote to explicitly exoticize a caucasian-looking actress.” But, you know, no apology for the lousy, lazy writing choice….

    Oh, well, maybe it will do a little to dispel the myth that Crowe is a great screenwriter.

  27. jj says:

    We are missing the story here people. Crowe is apologizing for a movie that was clearly in serious trouble with the initial script. Amy Pascal, the head of Sony said it was crap and yet the movie still gets made without any heed to her notes. Maybe it’s about time these arrogant, self entitled males in the industry try and listen to a woman for a change.

  28. I guess the half Actresses looked too Asian for the half asian role.

  29. davlestev1 says:

    LMAO..he was probably giving his heartfelt apology over the phone to a reporter or on twitter while looking over and noticing he was almost out of toilet paper…but he had enough for the present moment..LOL

  30. taneagrafika says:

    I totally buy Crowe’s explanation. Nowadays, non-white characters (including biracials – yay!) are starting to appear on US screens without having to either justify their existence or fit into storylines that are completely centred on their race. It makes perfect sense that it is at this moment that Hollywood drops the stories about people of difference who are marginalized from mainstream culture and instead starts depicting the pain of people who are taken for white when all they want to do is find a place to belong in their non-white community.

    It makes perfect sense. The studios think that people can only identify with white characters, so in order to tell a story about the suffering of a biracial person, they’re obviously going to use a white person to tell it. This fits in very well with the topsy-turvy narrative peddled by a certain type of talking head that white people are the modern victims of racism and discrimination.

  31. davlestev1 says:

    That stupefied look says it all…like the gender confused wolf in Shrek’s bed…WHAAATTT????

  32. arienfire says:

    Sorry, but anyone 1/4 chinese and 1/4 hawaiian, would not look like Emma Stone, at ALL. The character MAY have been written that way, but it’s not reality. Even our whitest Asian Hawaiian Haole mix don’t look like Emma Stone, who is pretty much a ginger.

  33. Atomic Fury says:

    Cameron – I would simply announce to the world that if anyone has a problem with my films, they should take all the time they need to go *bleep* themselves.

  34. anon says:

    Racial diversity LOL. please recast bc Natalie Shin is not white.

    • obloodyhell says:

      I blame the racist liberals for this irrational Brouhaha…

      There was a time when “Funny, you don’t LOOK Jewish” was understood to be a sign of racism…

      This is true even when you change out the word “Hawaiian” for “Jewish”.

      The question is, was the character interesting and well played? Not “What RACE is she?”

      That’s a question ONLY a RACIST would ask.

  35. Jimmy Green says:

    now he can start apologizing for that POS titled Vanilla Sky.

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