After the furor over the recent "Ghost in the Shell" adaptation, moviegoers should be familiar with the concept of "whitewashing," the insidious Hollywood practice of casting Caucasian actors in roles that originated as non-white characters. But when Lakeith Stanfield, who is African-American, was picked to play a beloved character in the U.S. screen adaptation of manga series "Death Note," he came up against a new term.
"I'm glad that I could be the one to usher in this new 'blackwashing' conversation," he says with a smirk. "I'm not quite sure what it is."
"Death Note" follows the exploits of a gifted high school student, Light Yagami, who comes into possession of a book that allows him to kill anyone by writing their name within its pages. Fueled by an adolescent sense of justice that quickly tips over into full-blown sociopathy, he sets out to purge the world of criminals — goaded on by a tittering, Grim Reaper-esque demon named Ryuk.