Creator of #StarringJohnCho, William Yu, a 25-year-old digital strategist from New York City, says that this was his inspiration for his viral internet meme.
Studies show that only one per cent of lead roles go to Asians, but it is also proven that films with diverse casts result in higher box office numbers and returns on investments.
“That was kind of the linchpin of me thinking, ‘If that’s true, then why aren’t we seeing leads reflecting this fact?’ ” he says. “If they’re not casting these leads, let’s show what Hollywood would look like if they did.”
William decided to take the matter into his own hands and create the posters for an alternate reality in which lead roles were given to a diverse range of actors.
He photo-shopped well-known film posters such as The Martian and Spectre to show the Korean-American actor John Cho (Harold and Kumar, Star Trek).
William was also outraged by the trend of Caucasians being cast in originally Asian roles. This includes the Scarlett Johansson casting in the remake of the Japanese anime film Ghost in the Shell and Tilda Swinton’s role as a sorcerer of Tibetan descent in Marvel’s Dr. Strange.
John Cho, 43, has not officially addressed the project, but did send a heart emoji to @StarringJohnCHo on Twitter.
However, he has previously spoken publicly about his issues with racism as an actor in a session with Reddit users in 2015.
“I experienced racism, and in my professional life, I try to take roles (and have always tried to take roles) that don’t fall within the parameters of any Asian stereotype,” he wrote.