16 White Actors Miscast in Nonwhite Roles, From Mickey Rooney to Emma Stone (Photos)
Rooney as Japanese? Stone as Chinese/Swedish/Hawaiian? TheWrap looks at history of racially misguided castings
Wrap Staff | June 29, 2020 @ 2:04 PM
Last Updated: June 29, 2020 @ 2:09 PM
Katharine Hepburn in "Dragon Seed" (1944) Caucasian Hepburn played a Chinese woman in this big-screen adaptation of the Pearl S. Buck novel.
Marlon Brando in "The Teahouse of the August Moon" (1956) Brando starred as an Okinawan translator for the U.S. Army in this comedy about the American occupation of the island nation.
RKO Radio Pictures
John Wayne in "Conquerer" (1956) Wayne was cast as Mongol conquerer Genghis Khan in what's considered by many to be one of the worst films of all time.
Charlton Heston in "Touch of Evil" (1958) Heston starred as Ramon Miguel Vargas in the 1958 crime film, a Mexican narcotics officer.
Mickey Rooney in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961) More caricature than character, Rooney starred as the buck-toothed, Japanese Mr. Yunioshi in the 1961 film, which has faced volumes of criticism since.
Natalie Wood in "West Side Story" (1961) Wood plays a Puerto Rican teenager in the 1961 musical film, although she was Russian-American in real life.
Laurence Olivier in "Othello" (1965) Not only did the white actor play a Moor in 1965's "Othello," he did so while wearing blackface.
Al Pacino in "Scarface" (1983) Pacino plays a Cuban gangster in the 1983 film, and many criticized his over-the-top accent as offensive.
Anthony Hopkins in "Mask of Zorro" (1998) Welsh actor Hopkins starred as the Spanish Zorro, a.k.a. Don Diego de la Vega, in the 1998 film.
Rob Schneider in "50 First Dates" (2004) Schneider seems to play a different ethnicity in every Adam Sandler movie. In "The Waterboy" he was the "You can do it!" guy, in "Big Daddy," he was a Middle-Eastern deliveryman, and in "50 First Dates," he plays a native Hawaiian. Badly.
Every character from "21" (2008) The movie follows a group of math students who come up with a card counting strategy to win big in Vegas. While the movie had a predominantly white cast, the real life MIT students were all Asian-American.