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8.27.2010

marvel responds to runaways casting concerns


Marvel Studios has responded to concerns over the casting of Nico Minoru, an Asian American character, in their movie adaptation of the comic book Runaways. Initial casting breakdowns did not specify any race, and only described Nico as "uniquely beautiful, nurturing but guarded. This did not sit will with fans. We've been down this road before...

The good news is that Marvel listened. Based on several conversations with the folks at Racebending, the studio has responded and adjusted the casting notice to reflect that they are indeed looking for an Asian American actress to fill the role: Marvel Responds to Runaways Casting Concerns. Here's the statement they sent to Racebending:
"Thank you for reaching out regarding your concerns over Marvel's recent casting notice for THE RUNAWAYS. We appreciate your interest in our production and with Marvel Entertainment.

"To address your concern over casting for the role of Nico, as we do with all of our films, we intend to stay true to the legacy and story of the comic when casting these parts. Thus, our goal is to cast an Asian American actress as depicted in the comic series and the casting notice will be adjusted accordingly.

"We thank you again for your correspondence and the opportunity to clarify our process."

Marvel Studios
On the public open casting call website for Runaways (aka "Small Faces"), the revised breakdown for Nico now reads:
Girl 1: Uniquely beautiful, nurturing but guarded
Female, Asian-American, must play 16-18
Must be at least 16 by January 2011
Who will play Nico? If you're a young Asian American actress who will be at least sixteen by next year, you're encouraged to submit for this role. The submission deadline for audition tapes has been pushed back to September 15, so you've got some time to prepare. For more information, go here.

Again, huge props to the good people at Racebending, who have remained vigilant and proactive about this issue. And tentative props to Marvel Studios for promptly responding to concerns from the Asian American community. But no props to Paramount. We're still pretty bitter about the whole Last Airbender movie debacle. (Thanks, Mike.)