Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski called on expert makeup artists to transform Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving and James D’Arcy into Asians for a storyline in the film by altering their eye lids and hair colour, and the result has infuriated bosses at the Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA), who claim the the movie’s artistic team should have consulted them to make the actors look more authentic.
A statement from group president Guy Aoki reads, “In the modern age of movie make-up, it is disturbing to see poorly done Asian eye prosthetics to make Caucasian men look Asian. It appears that to turn white… actors into Asian characters, the make-up artists believed they only had to change their eyes, not their facial structure and complexion.
“You have to ask yourself: Would the directors have used blackface on a white actor to play (the slave) Gyasi’s role? I don’t think so. That would have outraged African American viewers. But badly done yellowface is still OK.”