15, 2002

Jeff Sakson

VP Publicity

Universal Pictures

100 Universal City Plaza, Bldg. 2160

Universal City, CA 91608

 

Dear Jeff,

Thanks for your quick and detailed response to my letter and also your continued support in our efforts to find a resolution.

Your description of our action being “an extreme rush to judgment” stems from several things, which should not be construed as “extreme” or “rushed”.  An advocacy group such as ourselves always find it better to alert our concerns to a project before they commence production.  We gather our information from trade articles announcing the cast and impending production and also reports from various sources.  Based on this, we voiced our concerns, which was stated in the previous letter.  So if your movie actually contains Jin Auyeung, an Asian American male, why was he not mentioned in any of the articles?  We suspect it’s because you never included him in the press release.  Plus, you probably hired him after our conversation.  Was he announced in your press release?  If not will you put out one? Also, when was he hired?  After our conversation?   Maybe if Universal promoted Rick Yun’s involvement in the original by mentioning his name in the trailers.  Maybe if his face and name was on the poster – a poster that featured little known Jordana Brewster.   Maybe if Rick’s character was more developed and had a smidgen of any redeemable quality.  Maybe if one of the, drag racers, partiers, or even the mechanics was an Asian American Male.  Maybe if the creators of the original did not rest on their laurels and thought, “Hey we got Asian guys with guns on bikes – that should clearly represent Asian American’s involvement in the import car scene.”  Maybe if just one of these incidents happened, we would not be so extreme this time around.

Also, let me respond to some of the other points you made in you letter:

Your claim to never agree to arrange a meeting with John Singleton is confusing as I recall you did – and I will stand by it. Plus, you never voiced any invitation for us to call the director John Singleton ourselves.  Instead it was always agreed that we should go through Universal.  We have the relationship with Universal and we wanted your company’s cooperation.

In regards to the Asian American presence in the sequel, I never used the word preponderance.  I also did not justify the need to have Asian Americans by stating any population fact about the city of Miami – YOU DID.  You keep telling us that the reason why there is less of an Asian American presence in the sequel is because Asians Americans only make up 1.4 percent of Miami’s population.  If that’s the case this movie will feature Latinos in more than half of the roles and extras as Hispanic and Latino represent 57.3 percent of Miami’s population.  Will it?  Instead, what we are trying to get across is simply this: You go any car culture event in Miami, you go to the Miami car culture websites, you make a quick call to the top three car clubs in Miami (Sinister, Mock 5, and Jade).  I guarantee the number of Asian American males will definitely be more than 1.4 percent.  Asian Americans made the car culture what it is today and the original did not reflect this.  Will the sequel?

As for Devon Aoki and Jin Auyeung, because you had the privilege of reading the script and we didn’t, we pose the following questions to you:  Is Devon’s role not mere window dressing and stereotyped?  Can you say with confidence that her role will not further the exotification of Asian American women as foreign sex objects?  Is she cleverly drawn out and dimensional, or is she someone there to provide a visual short hand to the audience that she is unique in a white man’s eyes and just by looks alone Brian O’Connor can’t refuse to have sex with her.  Do they have anything beyond a sexual relationship.  Will casting Jin Auyeung make up for the absence of Rick Yun and his gang plus clearly show the contributions Asian Americans made to this world?  Will his on screen time match or better that of Rick?  Is he dimensional?  Does he have any redeemable qualities (like how Vin was a bad guy but was heroic and honorable).  Will you do better in promoting these two than you did with Rick?  In other words: quality not quantity.  A Pasadena Weekly article warns readers of “Asians driving supped up Honda” and blames them for the rise of crime and murders.  This is what happens if we do not show that Asian Americans can like cars and racing and can be heroic and honorable.  Will your movie help us combat this stereotype?  If your answers are positive and turn out to be true, I will publicly give the biggest Mia Culpa to this movie and help promote it to the Asian American/Car Culture community.

Finally, one of the most important point from our letter that you fail to respond to.  Will you let us see the script and screen a preliminary cut?  The facts you detailed still does not satisfy that you’ve done everything to be sensitive to the importance of including Asian Americans but more importantly how they are depicted.

Thank you for your time and we look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Aki Aleong

President