The highly-anticipated live action Hollywood adaptation of Baccano is set to hit theaters next year, and earlier today Paramount Pictures announced that the cast will feature primarily Asian actors and actresses.
“Baccano is a classic anime, and we want our casting decisions to reflect the fact that it is a great Japanese anime,” an official spokesperson told the assembled media.
Baccano originally aired in 2007 and was praised for its unique film-noir style. Its multiple storylines are set aboard a train traveling from Chicago and in Prohibition-era New York. The various narratives are unified by Issac Dian and Miria Harvent, a pair of eccentric thieves respectively played by Bollywood star Salman Khan and Japanese actress Matsushima Nanako. Andy Lau will play Luck Gandor, a calm and level-headed mafia leader, while Tony Leung will star as the sadistic hitman Ladd Russo.
Also confirmed are Chow Yun-Fat as Szilard Quates, a mad alchemist, and Kawaei Rina as Ennis, his homunculus creation. There is also heavy speculation for Chane Laforet, a mysterious mute daggar-weilding woman, being played by Zhang Ziyi.
While many have expressed excitement that such a recent anime will be getting its Hollywood debut, others have pointed out that none of the characters are actually Asian, and have accused Hollywood of continuing its trend of “yellow-washing” its characters. Other examples being… I guess Donnie Yen in Rogue One.
“We understand the concerns caused by our casting decisions for Ghost in the Shell, and to that we say ‘gomenasai’ and ‘itadakimasu’. But for Baccano, we’re excited to bring this incredible cast of Asian actors to the silver screen,” the spokesperson continued.
“With this one film we hope to change Hollywood, and to meet our diversity quota for the next several years.”