the weapon co-creator talks about the whitewashed movie adaptation

Last year, I posted something about the Hollywood movie adaptation of the comic book The Weapon, about martial arts enthusiast and inventor Tommy Zhou, "who has developed a ground-breaking portable innovation that an evil order will stop at nothing to steal." In the comic book, the Tommy Zhou is Asian. But in true Hollywood fashion, the producers cast a white guy.

Here's a recent response to this whole thing by Fred Van Lente, co-creator of The Weapon, who gave this thoughts on the casting of white actor David Henrie as Tommy Zhou in the movie: FVanLente answered. I'm re-posting it here:
What are your thoughts on the casting of David Henrie, and Italian-American actor, to play the role of Tommy Zhou in the movie adaptation of The Weapon? And what does this says about Hollywood, given other casting controversies of late (Avatar, etc.)?

When people asked me about Donald Glover playing Spider-Man, I said I didn't see why not. The first qualification to cast an actor was whether or not he could do the job, not his or her skin color. It would be extremely hypocritical for me not to extend the same courtesy to David Henrie.

That said, I am but one of many, many writers who've tackled SPIDER-MAN, but I co-created THE WEAPON.

Peter Parker's ethnicity is almost totally irrelevant to his character, to the point we don't even really know what it is. (His aunt, May Reilly, has been established as Irish-American, but he's only related to her by her marriage to his uncle Ben.) As those of you who read THE WEAPON know-- and all of you can, in its entirety, for free, at http://www.drunkduck.com/The_Weapon/ (PLUG! PLUG!)--that Tommy Zhou's Chinese heritage is a huge part of his character, and a huge part of the story overall. For Tommy not to be Chinese would require a fairly significant rewrite of the story, which does not exactly thrill me, no. I thought the story was just great the way it was.

I've worked in Hollywood a lot. Still do. I know folks there feel they need to make changes to material to set a project up at a studio or to sell it to the public. As I made THE WEAPON as work-for-hire for Platinum, they have no reason to ask me for advice about how to adapt the story -- I found out about the casting when you did.

But I take solace in something Stephen King once said. An interviewer asked him if he felt bad that the movies had altered his books so much.

"What do you mean altered?" he said, then turned to a bookcase where all his books were shelved. "They're all right here."

That's how I feel -- A movie adaptation will drive curious people to the original, comics version of THE WEAPON, where people will read and enjoy Scott Koblish's terrific art and Tommy Zhou will always be Chinese-American.

Maybe it's selfish, but that's what's important to me.
It's apparent that Van Lente is dismayed by this casting choice, since Tommy Zhou's Chinese heritage plays an integral part in his character. But Van Lente also knows Hollywood, and knows the score when it comes to adaptations. If this is the way it's going, I'm hoping The Weapon movie will die a quiet death in development. You can read the original comic free and in its entirety here.

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