Academy apologizes for Asian jokes at the Oscars

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Yahoo/Variety:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences apologized on Tuesday for the Asian jokes on the Feb. 28 Oscar telecast, after receiving a protest letter signed by 25 AMPAS members, including Ang Lee.

An Academy spokesperson issued the statement, “The Academy appreciates the concerns stated, and regrets that any aspect of the Oscar telecast was offensive. We are committed to doing our best to ensure that material in future shows be more culturally sensitive.”

ORIGINAL POST: Two dozen members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, including Ang Lee and several other Oscar winners, have asked the AMPAS board for “concrete steps” to ensure that future Oscarcasts will avoid the “tone-deaf approach” to Asians that was exhibited in the Feb. 28 ceremony.

The protest was delivered in advance of Tuesday’s board meeting, where diversity promises to be a key item on the agenda. The missive was sent to the board, AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, CEO Dawn Hudson, and ceremony producers Reginald Hudlin and David Hill.

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The letter said, “We are writing as Academy members of Asian descent to express our complete surprise and disappointment with the targeting of Asians at the 88th Oscars telecast and its perpetuation of racist stereotypes. In light of criticism over #OscarsSoWhite, we were hopeful that the telecast would provide the Academy a way forward and the chance to present a spectacular example of inclusion and diversity. Instead, the Oscars show was marred by a tone-deaf approach to its portrayal of Asians.

“We’d like to know how such tasteless and offensive skits could have happened and what process you have in place to preclude such unconscious or outright bias and racism toward any group in future Oscars telecasts. We look forward to hearing from you about this matter and about the concrete steps to ensure that all people are portrayed with dignity and respect.

“We are proud that the Oscars reach several hundred million people around the world of whom 60% are Asians and potential moviegoers.”

In addition to Lee, other Oscar winners on the list include Chris Tashima (shorts and feature animation) and four members of the documentary branch: Ruby Yang, Steven Okazaki, Jessica Yu, and Freida Lee Mock. Aside from Mock, two other former governors signed, Don Hall (sound branch) and Arthur Dong (documentaries). Another three signers were Oscar nominees: Christine Choy, Renee Tajima-Pena, and Rithy Panh, again all docu-branch members.

Other signers were Yung Chang, documentary; Maysie Hoy and William Hoy, editors; Marcus Hu and Teddy Zee, executives; Janet Yang, producers; David Magdael and Laura Kim, PR; and six members of the actors branch: Nancy Kwan, Peter Kwong, Jodi Long, France Nuyen, Sandra Oh, and George Takei.

According to the International Energy Agency, Asians represent 4.3 billion, or 60% of the population. However, they are estimated to represent less than 1% of the Academy.

Sources close to the show told Variety that Chris Rock made decisions about his material (including a series of jokes about Asian children), while Sacha Baron Cohen’s crack was apparently ad-libbed. However, at a time of heightened sensitivity with racial matters, many viewers were shocked that old Asian stereotypes were trotted out for a laugh.

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The first trailer for Netflix’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny”

The first trailer for Netflix‘s followup to the Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is here, giving us our first real glimpse at how the streaming company plans to take on the Wuxia classic.

Here, Michelle Yeoh has reprised her role as Yu Shu Lien, who must now strive to protect the legendary Green Destiny sword, which once belonged to legendary swordsman Li Mu Bai, from an evil warlord. She’s joined by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story star Donnie Yen and former Glee star Harry Shum, Jr.

Judging from the plentiful use of old-school wire work and VFX, the film should hopefully appeal to both old and new martial arts movie fans alike. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny hits select IMAX theaters and Netflix on February 26th.

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny” – Trailer

Netflix has dropped the first trailer for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword Of Destiny, the upcoming sequel to Ang Lee‘s 2000 martial arts epic. Michelle Yeoh reprises her role as Yu Shu-Lien, now tasked with protecting the legendary Green Destiny sword against an evil warlord.

Directed by legendary martial arts choreographer Yuen Wo-Ping, and written by John Fusco, the film is based on the wuxia novel Iron Knight, Silver Vase (Book 5 in Wang Dulu‘s Crane-Iron Pentalogy).

Sword of Destiny also stars Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Harry Shum Jr., Roger Yuan and Eugenia Yuan.

Catch Joan Chen in the Netflix series ‘Marco Polo’

 Audrey Magazine:

Netflix’s elaborate original series Marco Polo was met with some criticism from the Asian American community for being an outsider’s fetishization of the East. But actress Joan Chen urges skeptics to look at it differently. “It’s such a great opportunity for so many Asian actors,” she says.

Other than the lead, Lorenzo Richelmy as Marco Polo, almost the entire cast is Asian or Asian American, with Benedict Wong as Kublai Khan, Rick Yune as the leader of the Golden Horde, Zhu Zhu as the Blue Princess, Chin Han as the villainous chancellor, Olivia Cheng as a suffering concubine with some tricks up her sleeve, and Claudia Kim (who was just named the first Asian face of cosmetics brand Bobbi Brown and can be seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron this May) as the warrior Khutulun.

I see how excited these kids are to work on this grand production,” says Chen. “They have dialect coaches and personal trainers, and this series gives them a year to work on their craft and express their talents. I think of it as completely positive.”

Chen has been acting since she was teenager in China, where she became a household name and was dubbed the “Elizabeth Taylor of China” for her role in 1979’s Little Flower. She was “discovered” twice. Legend has it that Madame Mao discovered her at a school rifle range, impressed by her skilled marksmanship. She was soon chosen for the Actors’ Training Program by the Shanghai Film Studio. At 20, she decided to move to the United States to study filmmaking. Though she had no connections in Hollywood, she was discovered again by legendary producer Dino De Laurentiis, who honked at her in a parking lot. His line was: “Did you know that Lana Turner was discovered in a drug store?

I was like, ‘Who’s this dirty old man?’” she remembers. “I didn’t talk. I just kept walking.”

He managed to convince her to take his card, and her managers couldn’t believe she had met the Dino De Laurentiis. She soon landed her first Hollywood role in 1986’s Tai-Pan. In the last three decades, she’s been juggling films in both China and the U.S., from the Oscar-winning Bernardo Bertolucci film The Last Emperor to the American cult TV series Twin Peaks, to big Asian productions like Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution and smaller Asian American indies like Saving Face. She’s also a writer and director in her own right, directing the feature films Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl and Autumn in New York.

In Marco Polo, Chen plays Empress Chabi, Kublai Khan’s first and favorite wife. Though the creators researched the history for their fantastical story, there wasn’t much historical information on Empress Chabi to go on. So they worked with Chen to develop a more complex character who drives the plot and would be more fulfilling for the veteran actress to play.

The grand production, overseen by The Weinstein Company and reported to be one of the most expensive TV shows ever made, was shot mostly in Malaysia. “The costumes are made of real silk and ornaments,” adds Chen. “They’re so heavy that you know they didn’t spare a cent to make every detail luxurious.”

She also loved going to work and seeing all the stunt tents, where actors and martial arts performers trained every day. Though Empress Chabi doesn’t have a lot of action, Chen was able to learn some archery for some of her scenes. This brought her back to her days at her high school rifle range.

Even though they’re two different sports, there are some principles that are the same,” says Chen. “The way you aim, the breathing techniques, the way you use your cheek and how you use your body. I took it up pretty fast. But obviously, I could take a lifetime to learn it.”

Though she knows that the show is romanticized and operatic, she hopes viewers of Marco Polo enjoy it for that very reason. “It’s a visual feast,” she says. “In the beginning, you have to set up all these characters and the historical background, but by episode 10, it’s really powerful. It’s cooking. It’s hot.”

All episodes of Marco Polo are currently available on Netflix, and the series has been renewed for a second season

This story was originally published in Audrey Magazine’s Spring 2015 issue. Get your copy here.

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“Crouching Tiger” sequel to premiere exclusively on Netflix

Angry Asian Man: 

Between original content like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, Netflix has been making some big moves, and its latest distribution deal could be a gamechanger. The pay service has struck a deal with The Weinstein Company to release its first major feature film: the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

According to Deadline, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Destiny, described as “sort of a sequel” to Ang Lee‘s critically-acclaimed 2000 martial arts epic, will premiere exclusively on Netflix’s subscriber-based video streaming service. The film will also simultaneously open IMAX theaters on August 28, 2015.

The Green Destiny, directed by Yuen Wo-Ping, stars Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen, is based on the fifth book in the Crane-Iron Petalogy by Wang Du Lu. (Crouching Tiger was based on the fourth book in the series.)

Yeoh is reprising her role as Yu Shu-Lien. Ang Lee has no involvement in the project.

Yuen Wo-Ping is directing a script by John Fusco, and Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen star. Lee is not involved in this, and the connective tissue is the source material based on the Crane-Iron Pentalogy by Wang Du Lu. Crouching Tiger was the fourth book in the series, and this film is based on the fifth installment, Silver Vase, Iron Knight. Both are from Wu Sia, the centuries-old genre of Chinese fiction that this series is part of. There is plenty of high-wire sword fighting along with the themes of lost love, young love and redemption. Yeoh reprises her role as Yu Shu-Lien, and Donnie Yen plays Silent Wolf. The film is shooting in New Zealand. Yuen is a legendary filmmaker and fight choreographer, and the production team is composed of all seasoned feature players. Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey are producing with Weinstein and The Imitation Game helmer Morten Tyldum is exec producing with Ralph Winter, Anthony Wong and Bey Logan.

Harry Shum Jr. join “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel

Angry Asian Man: 
Harry Shum Jr., whose moves (and abs) you know and love from Glee, has been cast as one of the leads in the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which started production this week.Yes, there is Crouching Tiger sequel in the works. Directed by master action choreographer Yuen Wo-Ping, the movie is set twenty years after the events of Ang Lee‘s award-winning martial arts drama. The sequel’s cast includes Donnie Yen and Michelle Yeoh, reprising her role Yu Shu-lien.

 

 

Harry will play Tie-Fang, a kung fu hero who must fight to keep a legendary sword out of the wrong hands:

Written by John Fusco (The Forbidden Kingdom), the movie is set 20 years after the events of Crouching Tiger and revolves around four heroes of the martial arts world — Silent Wolf, Yu Shu-lien, Tie-Fang and Snow Vase — who must use their courage and skills to keep the legendary sword Green Destiny from the hands of the villainous Hades Dai.

Donnie Yen already is cast as Silent Wolf, and Michelle Yeoh is on board as Yu Shu-lien.

Shum will play Tie-Fang.

The sequel, reportedly titled Crouching Tiger 2: The Green Destiny, is being produced by The Weinstein Company and will shoot in New Zealand and China. Am I the only one who is concerned that script is written by the guy whose credits include that craptastic Jet Li/Jackie Chan movie The Forbidden Kingdom?

Link

BBC: Michelle Yeoh coming back for prequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

 

Michelle Yeoh

 

BBC: 

Titled The Green Destiny, the movie will see Michelle Yeoh reprise her role as female warrior Yu Shu Lien.

Pre-production is believed to have begun. Filming is due to start in Auckland, New Zealand, with two further weeks of shooting in China.

Yuen Woo-ping, who co-ordinated the action scenes in the original, will step behind the camera for the prequel.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon remains the most successful Chinese-language film of all time, making $213.5m (£127m) on its release in 2000.

It won the best foreign-language Oscar the following year, with three more awards in the technical categories.

Ang Lee accepts his Oscar in 2001Ang Lee won the first of three Oscars for the original

Part of the reason for the film’s success was that it operated on many different levels. It was a love story, a martial arts fantasy with a feminist twist and an historical epic set against a backdrop of spectacular locations in China.

Director Ang Lee also employed sophisticated technology that enabled the characters to perform gravity-defying stunts, drawing in fans of the previous year’s box office hit, The Matrix.

But plans for a prequel were delayed by a row over the film rights to Wang Du Lu‘s novels, on which the film was based.

Columbia Pictures claimed it had struck a deal with the late writer’s son in 2005. He denied this, and said he had signed an agreement with The Weinstein Company, another US studio.

With the case resolved, The Weinstein Company is pushing ahead with the prequel, choosing New Zealand as a location thanks to a generous production incentive that offers filmmakers a 20% rebate on money spent in the country.

The Green Destiny draws on the fifth book in Wang’s series, Silver Vase, Iron Night.

This introduces a new generation of star-crossed lovers, and a new series of antagonists in a battle of good and evil,” screenwriter John Fusco told movie website Deadline last year.

Although Fusco is known for US blockbusters such as Young Guns I and II, he also penned The Forbidden Kingdom for Jet Li and Jackie Chan in 2008.

The film, which drew on the writer’s own martial arts training, broke opening day box office records in China.

Check out this link:

Michelle Yeoh coming back for prequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon