The film received criticism for not featuring enough Hawaiian actors, despite being filmed and based there. One sore spot was the fact that the female lead was played by a white actor. Crowe described the character of Allison Ng as 1/4 Asian and 1/4 Hawaiian.
The Jerry Maguire writer/director took to his website and wrote an essay apologizing and defending his choice in casting Emma in the role. “Thank you so much for all the impassioned comments regarding the casting of the wonderful Emma Stone in the part of Allison Ng, I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heartfelt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice.”
However, according to Cameron, “Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one… Extremely proud of her unlikely heritage, she feels personally compelled to over-explain every chance she gets. The character was based on a real-life, red-headed local who did just that.”
Cameron went on to say, “So many of us are hungry for stories with more racial diversity, more truth in representation, and I am anxious to help tell those stories in the future.” ~Greg Chisholm