Netflix dropped the first trailer for the Jared Leto-starring film The Outsider – a crime-thriller centering on a Westerner’s immersion into the dangerous criminal underworld of the Yakuza.
Set in post-WWII Japan, Leto stars as American POW Nick Lowell, who is set free with the aid of his Yakuza cellmate.
He remains in Japan and, to repay his debt, joins the violent world of the organised crime syndicate.
The trailer was met with harsh criticism, accusing the film of whitewashing, since the story arc follows that of a Caucasian lead.
The casting of Jared Leto in The Outsider appears to sit more in line with Matt Damon’s lead role in The Great Wall (2016) and that of Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai (2003).
All three films share a common theme that leans heavily towards the western hero narrative.
If anything, this trailer has brought to light a broader problem in the under-representation of diverse Asian characters in Hollywood-made films.
The argument is that an Asian-American actor could easily play the part.
Let’s hope the validity of casting Leto becomes apparent after watching this film.
Danish director and screenwriter Martin Zandvliet, known for Land of Mine (2015), directs the film which is produced by Ken Kao, John Linson and Art Linson.
The Outsider is the second project for screenwriter Andrew Baldwin, who’s debut screenplay was 2016’s Bastille Day starring Idris Elba.
In addition to Leto, the film stars Tadanobu Asano, Kippei Shîna, Shioli Kutsuna, Rory Cochrane (who’s come a long way since his Dazed and Confused (1993)) days, and Emile Hirsch.
This film has been in the pipeline since 2013 and rumours initially had Tom Hardy in the lead role and Takashi Miike on board to direct.
Leto hasn’t received much love from audiences since taking on The Joker in Suicide Squad (2016), and it would seem that the second avalanche of criticism is set to hit him with this latest project.
As a firm believer in making up one’s own mind, why don’t you watch the trailer and let us know what you think in the comments?
The Outsider will be available to stream on Netflix from 9 March 2018.