Who needs Cameron Diaz? Interracial love in Fast Five

by doorhalfopen

Things were starting to look good last year. The Warrior’s Way, while not exactly looking like a masterpiece, showed that studios were beginning to have the guts to experiment with Asian male leads. Jay Chou was set to play Kato in Green Hornet, the role that first introduced Bruce Lee to Western audiences. The Asian roles in these two movies were expected to have love interests just like roles played by ‘normal people’!

Unfortunately The Warrior’s Way flopped, and some critics in the AA community pointed out that it was proof that Asian males are still restricted to the same stereotypical roles. Green Hornet fared a little better, and Jay Chou got some exposure on some big shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live. Then came the news that one of the biggest names in the movie, Cameron Diaz, refused to kiss Jay Chou. This wasn’t a case of the scene not being in the movie. The director and producer felt like it would have added to the film, and the actress refused to do what she was paid to do.

Yes, there was progress last year, but it was also a huge wake up call: there’s still quite a ways to go. Why did she refuse? The official response is, according to director Michel Gondry, “she felt the story would lead to a complexity she didn’t want to deal with”. The real reason? I am not sure, but it probably has a lot to do with reputation or her own biases.

But all that hype was from last year, and maybe early 2011. What’s done is done. I lost a lot of respect for Diaz, but there’s no point in dwelling on here. A lot of Asians working in film and television are continuing to push for progress. Today, Angry Asian Man posted the trailer for Fast Five, the fifth installment of The Fast and the Furious. The film, which is directed by Justin Lin and includes Sung Kang in the cast, gives us reason to hope. Both the director and Sung Kang first made their mark with a very significant AA film, Better Luck Tomorrow, and continued working together again during Tokyo Drift. I can’t help but imagine that Lin had some part in what you will see below. All screencaps are from Angry Asian Man as well.

It’s impossible to tell what the context of this scene is, but let’s hope it wasn’t a dare or something. Good to see Sung Kang maintaining some sort of role in these films; hopefully it pays off big time.