Jackie Chan’s casting in the upcoming dramatic thriller “The Foreigner” sparked controversy after critics of the film believed the Chinese actor had been cast as a Vietnamese immigrant. Now, a rep for the film clarifies Chan’s character is in fact Chinese.
Though the movie is based on a book by Stephen Leather in which a Vietnamese immigrant seeks revenge after his daughter is killed by an IRA bomb, the movie version changes the ethnicity of Quan, the character played by Chan to Chinese. A rep speaking on behalf of the film tells Refinery29 that the film’s plot will involves twists and mysteries surround Quan’s real identity. The title of Leather’s original novel is called “The Chinaman”.
In the film which is due in theatres on October 13, Quan is pitted against a government official (played by Pierce Brosnan) in a game of cat-and-mouse as he seeks the terrorists responsible for his daughter’s murder.
The trailer for the film was released online earlier this week, sparking online debate about Chan’s casting over a Vietnamese actor and the fact that the film is directed by Martin Campbell, a white New Zealander. The outcry comes after the whitewashing controversies surrounding recent films like “Ghost In The Shell”, “The Great Wall” and “Doctor Strange”.
“You can’t mix-and-match people’s ethnicities,” Twitter user @Linhtropy wrote on Tuesday shortly after the trailer’s debut, citing China’s colonization of Vietnam as a historical whitewashing.
Chan did not comment on the controversy before the statement by “The Foreigner”‘s rep.