Emma Stone speaks out on "Aloha" whitewashing controversy: "I've become the butt of many jokes"

Stone says the experience taught her a lot about the "insane history of whitewashing in Hollywood"

Published July 16, 2015 3:11PM (EDT)

Emma Stone in "Aloha"          (Columbia Pictures)
Emma Stone in "Aloha" (Columbia Pictures)

Speaking to an Australian news outlet earlier this week, Emma Stone finally weighed in on the “whitewashing” controversy surrounding Cameron Crowe’s recent film "Aloha," which starred Stone as a part-Asian character named Allison Ng.

Acknowledging that she has “become the butt of many jokes,” Stone revealed that the whole debacle has been something of a learning decision. “I’ve learned on a macro level about the insane history of whitewashing in Hollywood and how prevalent the problem truly is. It’s ignited a conversation that’s very important,” the actress said.

Still, she defended Crowe’s casting decision, explaining that the character, who is a quarter Hawaiian and a quarter Chinese, "was not supposed to look like her background." Crowe himself has previously stated that Allison Ng was written to be "a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one” and that she was "based on a real-life, red-headed local who did just that.”

The 26-year-old actress also addressed her role in another controversy — her frequent onscreen romantic pairings with older men, most recently opposite 40-year-old Joaquin Phoenix in Woody Allen’s “Irrational Man” — with a similar mix of equivocation and humility.

“It’s rampant in Hollywood and it’s definitely been that way for a long time, both culturally and in movies. But in 'Irrational Man,' the film is contingent upon the age difference; the movie is about that disparity. And when I did 'Magic in the Moonlight' Colin Firth and I talked about the gap which was huge, absolutely, because he was born the same year as my dad,” she explained.

“There’s a lot of conversation about how we want to see people represented on screen and what we need to change as a business to reflect culture in a clearer way and not in an idealised way. There are some flaws in the system,” Stone continued. “My eyes have been opened in many ways this year.”

By Anna Silman

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Aloha Cameron Crowe Emma Stone Film Irrational Man Movies Woody Allen