It was just two days ago that Netflix released the trailer for its latest feature film, The Outsider, starring Oscar winner Jared Leto, but already, it’s causing some ruffled feathers. While some were thrilled to see the star in his first role since 2017’s Blade Runner 2049, others had a serious bone to pick with Danish director Martin Zandvliet over his casting choice.
The film stars Leto as an American soldier in Japan who is imprisoned toward the end of World War II. The character eventually escapes with the help of his cellmate, a member of the yazuka (the country’s organized crime syndicate), leaving him indebted to his mafia pal. Consequently, Leto’s character, Nick Lowell, soon finds himself involved with the criminal underground, saying, “In life, sometimes we fight the current, and other times it’s important to flow with the river.”
While the trailer is undeniably full of thrilling (if somewhat gruesome) action, some fans were none too pleased with the fact that its central character is white. Though his role doesn’t technically fit what Merriam-Webster defines as white-washing, or “the practice of casting white actors as non-white characters,” there are many who would argue that since the story is centered around Asian culture, its non-Asian lead has no business playing the part of a recruited Japanese gangster.
Leto, Zandvliet, and Netflix have remained silent on the controversy thus far, with the film currently set for release on March 9.
What do you think about the white-washing accusations against Jared Leto’s new movie? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Photos via Dia Dipasupil/Getty)