A while back, WB picked up the All You Need is Kill script, which is based off a Japanese novel. In the novel, the main character is named Keiji Kiriya. In the script, his name was whitewashed to “Billy Cage.”
When the director of All You Need is Kill, Doug Liman, was asked if the main character of the film would still be Japanese, he said no, "No, it’s totally American." Because apparently having a Japanese lead would make the character not American, or something, like “Japanese Americans” aren’t totally American…or was he trying to say something else by straight out saying “Nope, not even entertaining the possibility of considering you, actors of Japanese descent, for this main character once named Keiji”?
And apparently “totally American” means white American. Not “American” as in the diverse cast in the book (which included Asian characters, Native American characters, and a Japanese-Brazilian-American badass general character, and uh, also white characters—so white actors would still have an opportunity to be featured had the film stuck to the book…)
Nah, totally American apparently just means “white,” because somehow a 16 year old Japanese character is being played by 50 year old white American Tom Cruise. Based on IMDB, all the other leading actors are white, including Bill Paxton. (The film also stars Emily Blunt, Charlotte O’Reilly, and Jonas Armstrong, none of whom are American, *cough* paging the director trying to make the film “totally American.”)
(FYI I had the exact same expression as Tom on my face the entire time I was typing this. Ugh.)