21 - the film | casting woes...
Vegas. Gambling. Money. Aw, man, not another Vegas film? Yeah, but it's about brilliant math geeks playing the game. 21 stars Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe), Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush), and Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix), and will be released March 28, 2008.
21 is based on Bringing Down the House, the best-selling book by Ben Mezrich, about the true story of a group of gifted MIT students who headed to Vegas every weekend to count cards and employ an intricate system of signals to beat the casinos. (Damn, should've stayed in Kumon!)
Now, there are grumblings about 21 's casting -- controversy! The main characters in the book were mostly Asian Americans in real life (the character Jason Lewis is based on Jeff Ma; and Jason Fisher is based on Mike Aponte). Now, Jim Sturgess doesn't look Asian to me. It doesn't matter that he might be described as having "almond-shaped eyes".
You guessed it, studio execs cast mostly white characters (alongside Aaron Yoo and Liza Lapira). Ben Mezrich, the author of the book, has stated that the scheme worked because a young white man betting large amounts of money would have stood out, while a young Asian (or other minority) would be less conspicuous. Meh, what do you expect from Hollywood? After all, it's about the money game.
Aaron Yoo and Liza Lapira
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