#StarringJohnCho - What Hollywood would look like with an Asian actor in lead roles | Follow the Hashtag | DW | 11.05.2016
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#StarringJohnCho - What Hollywood would look like with an Asian actor in lead roles

The hashtag #StarringJohnCho is being used to share film posters of blockbuster movies photoshopped with the face of actor John Cho as a way to highlight the lack of Asian-American leads in Hollywood films.

Hollywood studios and the entire American film industry have repeatedly come under fire in recently for failing to adequately represent minority groups on screen.

After scandals over the poor representation of African-American actors rocked two consecutive Oscars ceremonies, it is now the Asian American community that is taking to social media to voice their own grievances.

This drove New-York based Asian-American William Yu to launch the Twitter campaign #StarringJohnCho where he shares mock film posters of Hollywood blockbusters, photoshopping the Asian-American actor John Cho into leading roles.

Cho is a familiar face for both American and international audiences having starred in the "American Pie," "Star Trek" and "Harold & Kumar" films.

With his series of fake posters, Yu reimagined Cho into "new roles" including leads in action movies like "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and the James Bond movie "Spectre" as well as romantic dramas like "Me Before You."

The twitter campaign is a reaction to the 'whitewashing' of Asian characters and storylines in movies, a term used to describe the casting of white actors to play characters with Asian origins.

"A lot of people think that an Asian-American won’t succeed as a Hollywood lead," William Yu explained in an interview with the news community AJ+. "With #StarringJohnCho it’s literally showing you exactly what it would look like. It’s not that terrifying."

The idea spread and users started creating and sharing their own film posters, making John Cho the star of other major Hollywood productions like "Batman v Superman," "Doctor Strange" and "Southpaw."

One of these posters even made its way out of social media and into the real world. A supporter of the cause cut out a picture of John Cho’s face and taped it to an actual physical poster in a New York subway station.

The campaign got a lot of positive feedback on social media. Users applauded the hashtag for expanding the debate over diversity in Hollywood.

John Cho himself is not affiliated with the campaign but he shared his thoughts about it on Twitter with a simple message: a heart emoji.

Although Asian-Americans and persons of Asian descent make up an estimated five percent of the total US population, it is estimated that Asian actors make up only about one percent of lead roles in Hollywood movies.

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