In the wake of this year’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy and recent accusations of whitewashing leveled at several high-profile films, a new social media campaign is imagining what a more diverse Hollywood might look like — and it might look a lot like John Cho.
#StarringJohnCho both highlights the underrepresentation of Asians in Hollywood and envisions an alternative by smoothly Photoshopping the Korean-American actor into posters for movies like Spectre, The Martian, Jurassic World, and Me Before You (all of which have white male leads).
The project is the brainchild of William Yu, a 25-year-old digital strategist who told the New York Times that he was partly motivated by Asian-Americans being left out of the #OscarsSoWhite conversation.
“It was very much a two-sided argument,” he said in an interview. “You had a white issue, and you had an African-American issue.”
Yu also said he was motivated by a UCLA study that suggested films with more diverse casts make more money.
“That was kind of the linchpin of me thinking, ‘If that’s true, then why aren’t we seeing leads reflecting this fact?'” he said. “If they’re not casting these leads, let’s show what Hollywood would look like if they did.”
Cho, whose credits include the Star Trek and Harold and Kumar movies, will be next be seen in Star Trek Beyond, opening July 22.
Representatives for the actor did not immediately respond to request for comment about #StarringJohnCho, but he did send a heart emoji to the project’s Twitter account.