The upcoming big-budget movie Aloha won't hit theaters for another couple of days, but it is already the subject of widespread controversy. The heat turned up so high that Sony Pictures was forced to release a statement defending the dramedy on Tuesday, May 26.
The drama began earlier this month when the Media Action Network for Asian Americans slammed the flick in a statement. The organization took issue with Aloha's largely white cast, which includes Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, and Alec Baldwin.
"Caucasians only make up 30 percent of the population aloh[of Hawaii], but from watching this film, you'd think they made up 99 percent," a rep for the group said in a statement to the New York Post. "This comes in a long line of films — The Descendants, 50 First Dates, Blue Crush, Pearl Harbor — that uses Hawaii for its exotic backdrop but goes out of its way to exclude the very people who live there. It’s an insult to the diverse culture and fabric of Hawaii."
The statement sparked outcry from those in agreement, who called out director, producer, and screenwriter Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire) for his role in casting.
The backlash inspired a statement from Sony, whose reps stood by Crowe and his movie.
"While some have been quick to judge a movie they haven’t seen and a script they haven’t read, the film Aloha respectfully showcases the spirit and culture of the Hawaiian people," the film company said in a statement to Us Weekly. "Filmmaker Cameron Crowe spent years researching this project and many months on location in Hawaii, cultivating relationships with leading local voices. He earned the trust of many Hawaiian community leaders, including Dennis 'Bumpy' Kanahele, who plays a key role in the film."
Hawaiian political leader Kanahele does, in fact, appear as himself in the talked-about flick. He is one of the few people of color in Aloha, which tells the story of a military project that coincides with a romance between Cooper and Stone's characters.
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