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.”