Tag: Justin Lin

We need more balance in Asian American media

by doorhalfopen

John Cho is one of the most successful Asian American actors of the past decade and a half. He’s starred in a few high-grossing films, such as Star Trek and the Harold & Kumar series. and he’s one of the few AA actors who are known by general audiences. If not by name, people can see him and remember his face from other movies. As far as Asian American actors go, he’s done a great job proving that it’s not a bad idea to cast him regardless of the character’s race (or as little regard as currently possible, at least).

Recently he gave a talk at Yale about his career, and how he tied it to his heritage. He has been careful in choosing his roles, much like we learned about Harry Shum Jr., so that he doesn’t have any embarrassing, stereotypical roles under his name. His resume is very respectable compared to many of his peers. There’s not much of “selling out” to make a quick buck. While it’s not easy to be an actor looking for their big break, much less an AA actor, John Cho is one good example that you can succeed while remaining respectful and proud of your heritage.

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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.

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