The Outsider: Netflix faces backlash, accusations of whitewashing over casting Jared Leto in yakuza thriller

FP Staff

February 26, 2018 14:22:25 IST

The trailer for Netflix’s new action thriller The Outsider, which was released on Thursday, is facing plenty of backlash and accusations of whitewashing over casting Jared Leto as a member of the yakuza.

Poster for The Outsider. Netflix

Poster for The Outsider. Netflix

The Oscar-winning actor plays Nick Lowell in The Outsider, an American prisoner of war held captive during the end of World War II. After a yakuza cellmate helps him escape, he must join their violent world in order to repay the debt in exchange for his freedom.

And the backlash was almost immediate as Twitterati were quick to express their unhappiness with making a Caucasian actor the star of a film set in Asia, calling it ‘figurative whitewashing.’ Instead of hiring Leto to play the lead, many felt the producers could easily have had an Asian or Asian-American star as the film's protagonist.

This is, of course, not the first time there has been backlash about white actors taking on roles that could have been played by Asian actors: Scarlett Johannsson in Ghost in the Shell, Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange, Matt Damon in The Great Wall and, more recently, Natalie Portman in Annihilation have all faced similar criticism.

Directed by Danish filmmaker Martin Zandvliet, The Outsider also features Emile Hirsch, Tadanobu Asano, Rory Cochrane and Shiori Kutsuna alongside Leto.

The film will be available for streaming on Netflix from 9 March.

Watch the trailer below:

Updated Date: Feb 26, 2018 14:22 PM