Dear John Cho,
Just got the word that you are going to be playing Spike Spiegel in Netflix’s live action series Cowboy Bebop, an adaptation of one of the most iconic anime series in the world. The news is all over the internet, from CNN, to Vanity fair and Buzzfeed. Theres isn’t one popular news station that has not caught wind of this momentous occasion! Not only that, the original creator Shinichiro Watanabe, the director of the original will serve as a consultant to the Netflix series. I do have to say, you are definitely leading the way for Asian American actors being cast as leads. especially today.
I have been following you since your earlier work in American Pie, Harold and Kumar of course, and even as Sulu in the latest Star Trek installations. You always played the part well and broke ground for Asian Americans to be cast in non-stereotypical roles. I know that when I first saw you in Harold and Kumar, I thought “How cool is this?” an Asian American lead being the main guy, the hero and in the end, getting the girl! Searching was another great movie that you starred in that, in it’s original casting where race was not baked into the narrative, you turned out to be the perfect choice! It demonstrated colorblind casting, and choosing the best person for the role which is something we want to see more of in Hollywood. Your work has become an inspiration to Asian Americans not just in film but also in their everyday lives to show that we are so much more than what the stereotypes in film have depicted.
Your roles have definitely been enough to inspire the trend back in 2016 created by William Yu, a digital strategist out of New York. He was “Tired of hearing that a role can’t be played by an Asian actor because people just don’t see it.” He photoshopped you across popular mainstream Hollywood posters as the lead, which I am sure you saw and created the trending hashtag #starringjohncho that was shared thousands of times and they look great. Lot’s of people saw these memes that grew in popularity, but little did they know, behind it was a movement to tackle the lack of Asian American representation in the media. That movement even inspired Jon M Chu, the director, to create the blockbuster movie that has epitomized where we stand today, Crazy Rich Asians with it’s all Asian cast.
Why shouldn’t there be more diversity in media? After all, in 2016, the 3rd annual Hollywood diversity report found that audiences preferred diverse content. Diverse casts tended to sell more tickets and earn higher ratings. Even in social media, they found that the median number of twitter posts was highest for programs with casts made up of at least 30% minority actors!
I know you probably know all these things I had just mentioned, but just wanted to let you know that we appreciate how you are helping pave the way for Asian Americans in media today, and hope to see more of us cast as leads in major films and television. I can’t wait to see the Netflix live adaptation of Cowboy Bebop later this year, I am sure it will be great. No pressure (just the entire Asian American community) resting on your shoulders ;).