Bullet Train's writer replies to the whitewashing controversy

Bullet Train's writer replies to the whitewashing controversy ...

Kotaro Isaka, the writer of Bullet Train, has responded to the controversy surrounding the whitewashing of Japanese characters in the new action comedy.

Bullet Train is a remake of Isaka's 2010 Japanese novel Maria Beetle, starring Brad Pitt's contract killer Ladybug, who's invited to collect a briefcase on a shinkansen ('bullet train'), which is apparently boarded by other assassins with their own agendas.

Despite criticism of the film for starring non-Japanese actors, Isaka has remained firm in its decision to include the likes of Pitt, Joey King (The Kissing Booth) and Sandra Bullock (The Lost City) in its most prominent roles.

Isaka said in an interview with The New York Times that his characters are "ethnically malleable," and that his original Japanese setting and context don't matter because the assassins in the story are "not real people," and perhaps they're not Japanese.

Sanford Panitch, the president of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group, commented on Isaka's views on his characters.

"It] gave us comfort in honoring its Japanese spirit, while at the same time giving the film a chance to attract big-name actors and have it work on a global scale."

Bullet Train features a cast of Black, Latino, Asian, and white actors, including Michael Shannon, Brian Tyree Henry, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Zazie Beetz, Hiroyuki Sanada, Masi Oka, Logan Lerman, and Bad Bunny.

Zak Olkewicz, the screenwriter, said that the decision to expand beyond Japanese talent "just demonstrates the original author's ability" and how this might be a story that would transcend race in any event.

Bullet Train will be released in UK cinemas on August 3 and in US cinemas on August 5.

Best Entertainment and Tech Deals