The #SeeAsAmStar hashtag is William Yu's follow up to #StarringJohnCho, because Hollywood can still be more diverse

Joshua Lee |

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Why can't Asian actors be cast in Hollywood lead roles?

William Yu, a digital strategist based in New York who created the #StarringJohnCho hashtag in 2016 to highlight Hollywood's "whitewashing", has created several video clips showing what Hollywood films would look like with Asian Americans as the lead actors.

The videos clips show popular Asian American actors, including John Cho, Steven Yeun, Constance Wu, and Arden Cho superimposed onto several Hollywood hit film.

In the videos, John Cho appears as Marvel’s Captain America. Yeun, who plays Glenn Rhee in The Walking Dead, is seen as Tom Hansen in the romantic comedy 500 Days of Summer.

Wu, who stars in the upcoming film Crazy Rich Asians, digitally replaces Scarlett Johansson's Major in Ghost in The Shell, which was a casting decision that was met with rage and accusations of "whitewashing" yet another originally Asian character for film. And Arden Cho has been superimposed as Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series.

Yu launched the hashtag #StarringJohnCho two years ago to promote diversity in Hollywood. That project involved adapting popular film posters by replacing the lead actor with images of John Cho, and it was an attempt to show that Asians actors can be leading men in Hollywood blockbusters.

William Yu launched these recent short clips together with the hashtag #SeeAsAmStar to show what films would look like if Asian Americans were cast as the heroes, romantic leads, and main characters of major films, and to further the conversation about representation and diversity in the film industry.

According to Yu, more still needs to be done to make Hollywood include more Asian American stories. He also notes that "whitewashing", the casting of white actors to non-white characters, still remains an issue in Hollywood.

The video clips were created using Deepfake technology, which uses artificial intelligence-based programs to superimpose video clips or images onto other clips.

Edited by Jamie Lam