White Washing the Legend of Billy Sing
It seems that White Washing movies is not just an American phenomenon.
The Asian Australian community is calling out director Geoff Davis for casting his son Josh as Billy Sing in a new mini-series. Chinese Australian Billy Sing fought at Gallipoli as a sniper and racked 201 confirmed kills. He is a rare historical hero for the Chinese Australian community. And now he’ll be portrayed by a White man.
When asked to respond about the casting gaff, Geoff Davis lamented that he could not find an Asian actor that could fill the role of Billy Sing’s father so instead, he cast veteran Australian actor Tony Bonner for the part.
Asking Tony to play it as Chinese would not only have been racist and demeaning. It was also financially irrelevant — we could not have afforded the make-up. Whatever his genetic background, his culture was Australian. To me, he’s very representative of every Australian whose parents were not born here.
A lot of people are sitting at the back of this bus attacking the driver. A lot of people feel they own the story of Billy Sing. But they’ve probably got more resources than me — if they want to tell that story, then tell it.
I guess we should be thankful Davis didn’t decide to “yerrow face” them up with heavy makeup. Still, they couldn’t find any Asian actors? In America I would call this fucking lazy. There are plenty of Asian American actors out there young and old who could have fit the bill. But I’m not familiar with the minority populations of Australia. Is there a large Asian Australian actor community that Davis could have drawn from?
Well, I hate to wish ill on anyone, but I think it’s a sign that he’s run out of money on the production. Maybe if he had the support of the Asian Australian community, they might have been able to hold some awesome fundraisers or maybe an awesome Kickstarter campaign. But it appears that a lot of people who worked on this show will not get paid unless it makes money. Sorry folks, you threw your hat in with a white washed production. It was doomed from the start.