International market drives diverse casting in Hollywood, says Masi Oka
Japanese-American actor Masi Oka, who features in the upcoming creature-thriller "The Meg", believes a growing international market for Hollywood films is driving the trend of diverse casting.
The actor, best known for his roles in "Heroes", "Hawaii Five-0" and "Friends With Benefits", says the industry has changed a lot in recent years and there is a need for stories that are "real and relatable".
"More than the West, the global market is a huge factor in the success of a film, so you have to have an international cast. It is also the make-up of the work now. The world is full of different places, cultures, races, and genders. We are a melting pot of amazing individuals," Oka told PTI in a telephonic interview from Los Angeles.
"Now Hollywood is a lot more open to diverse casting. We have to represent individuals from different walks of life. It makes for more real and relatable stories. In this climate, this is what we need. It is not just good for business but also great for creativity," he added.
"The Meg", an ambitious creature-horror from Warner Bros, has Jason Statham in the lead as a former Naval captain and expert diver who heads a mission to rescue the crew stranded at the bottom of the sea, facing an attack from a massive prehistoric white shark.
"Jon Turteltaub (the director) was a fan of mine, which is strange because I am his fan. He reached out to me and said, 'Hey, 'Would you like to be in this film'. It was a huge opportunity to work with Jon and such an international cast."
Oka, who counts "Jaws" among his favorite creature movies, hopes "The Meg" connects with the younger generation in the same way.
"Who has not seen Jaws while growing up? It is such a legendary film. I think the young generation don't have their 'Jaws'. We hope that 'Meg' would be that. It is 'Jaws' for the new generation.
Besides being a successful actor, producer, Oka is also a digital effects artiste. He believes a film like "Meg" would not have been possible earlier because creating a terrifying 70-foot-long creature demanded certain technical expertise.
"This is a film that could not have been done years ago. Visual effect is a huge component of this. We had to create a creature which is as real and as terrifying as possible."
"The Meg" releases across cinemas in India on August 10 in English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. Besides Statham and Oka, the film also stars Li Bingbing and Ruby Rose among others.
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