You will see more Asian guys on TV soon!

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Audrey Magazine:

Right now in Hollywood, it’s pilot casting season and (much to our delight) a lot of Asian American male actors are making headlines. Could this be the turn of the tide? Can we finally turn on the TV and regularly see Asian characters? We’ll have to wait and see. Although a number of shows have released information about their pilot, we will all have to wait until May for broadcast network channels to decide which shows to pick up and put on television. Needless to say, we have our fingers crossed for the shows which can bring forward Asian faces.

Apart from Daniel Wu’s Badlands, which has already been ordered directly to series by AMC, it is possible that none of the other pilots mentioned below will be picked up, but the rise in Asian American male actors being casted definitely gives us hope. Furthermore, they are being cast in roles that are substantial supporting roles or even leads. After all, it’s not just visibility that matters, but also the quality of representation.

Hopefully, we will hear about more pilot castings for talented Asian American actors in the upcoming months. For now, it’s heartening to see strides being made.

1. Daniel Wu

Image courtesy of LA TF

First up, there’s Hong Kong star Daniel Wu with his martial arts show Badlands, which cable network AMC has already ordered direct to series. Based very loosely on the Chinese tale Journey to the West, Wu stars as a “ruthless, well-trained warrior named Sunny” who goes on a journey with a young boy to find enlightenment. Wu will also serve as executive producer on Badlands. Only limited information about the series has been released, but we are definitely going to check it out once it airs on AMC.

 

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You Will See More Asian Guys on TV Soon

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 4.23.25 PM

Right now in Hollywood, it’s pilot casting season and (much to our delight) a lot of Asian American male actors are making headlines. Could this be the turn of the tide? Can we finally turn on the TV and regularly see Asian characters? We’ll have to wait and see. Although a number of shows have released information about their pilot, we will all have to wait until May for broadcast network channels to decide which shows to pick up and put on television. Needless to say, we have our fingers crossed for the shows which can bring forward Asian faces.

Apart from Daniel Wu’s Badlands, which has already been ordered directly to series by AMC, it is possible that none of the other pilots mentioned below will be picked up, but the rise in Asian American male actors being casted definitely gives us hope. Furthermore, they are being cast in roles that are substantial supporting roles or even leads. After all, it’s not just visibility that matters, but also the quality of representation.

Hopefully, we will hear about more pilot castings for talented Asian American actors in the upcoming months. For now, it’s heartening to see strides being made.

 


 

1. Daniel Wu

Image courtesy of LA TF

First up, there’s Hong Kong star Daniel Wu with his martial arts show Badlands, which cable network AMC has already ordered direct to series. Based very loosely on the Chinese tale Journey to the West, Wu stars as a “ruthless, well-trained warrior named Sunny” who goes on a journey with a young boy to find enlightenment. Wu will also serve as executive producer on Badlands. Only limited information about the series has been released, but we are definitely going to check it out once it airs on AMC.

 

2. Ken Jeong

Image courtesy of Korea Times

Before Ken Jeong popped out of a trunk in The Hangover series, he was a practicing doctor by day at Kaiser Permanente and an aspiring comedian at night. Now ABC has greenlit his comedy pilot Dr. Ken, which Jeong is set to star, write and executive produce. According to Variety, Jeong will “play a frustrated HMO doctor juggling his career, marriage and parenting, but succeeding at none of them.” If this gets picked up, perhaps ABC could form a one hour Asian American comedy block with Dr. Ken and Fresh off the Boat?

 

3. Brian Tee

Image courtesy of Zimbio

Brian Tee has been in a lot of movies and TV shows such as The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, The Wolverine and the upcoming  Jurrasic World movie. Now, he has been cast for the NBC pilot Love is the Four Letter Word, created by a fellow Asian American writer Diana Son. According to Deadline, Love is the Four Letter Wordchronicles the collision of race, sexuality and gender roles when three diverse couples put modern marriage to the test. Tee plays Adam, half of one of the three couples, a big, handsome man who is currently dating Sarah, a fellow attorney who shares his taste for sexual adventure, including three-ways with beautiful women.”

Asian Americans in lead roles in front of and behind the camera? Plus an Asian American male character who shatters the emasculated, subservient Asian male stereotype? We are swooning already.

 

4. Daniel Henney

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Daniel Henney has been cast in a Criminal Minds spinoff. According to Deadline,the proposed spinoff follows FBI agents helping American citizens who find themselves in trouble abroad, with Gary Sinise playing their boss, Jack Garrett. Henney will play charming family man Matt Simmons, an army brat who grew up abroad and really embraces the opportunity to explore different cultures. But first and foremost, he is the kind of guy you would follow into battle, and his split second profiling skills honed on the battlefield make him a crucial part of the team.”

Henney joins an illustrious cast that includes Tyler James Williams and Emmy-award winner Anna Gunn.

 

5. Albert Tsai

Image courtesy of Albert Tsai's Official Twitter Account

For those of you who didn’t see ABC’s shortlived critical darling Trophy Wife, Albert Tsai played the breakout character Bert, who was considered by many to be the best part of a very good show. Although the show was cancelled after one season, Albert Tsai is moving on and has been cast as Ken Jeong’s son in the Dr. Ken pilot. Another Asian American family on an ABC sitcom? Just maybe. Is it too early to start the petition for the Fresh off the Boat/Dr. Ken crossover? Probably not.

 

Diversity In Space: Tracking the first Asian pilot in the Star Wars movies

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Lieutenant Telsij of Return of the Jedi is one of just a handful of Asian characters in the Star Wars film series.

NPR:

There’s … too many of them,” a Y-wing pilot says as Imperial ships overwhelm the Rebel fleet in the climactic space battle in Return of the Jedi.

This scene is important because we’ve just learned that the Rebels have been lured to the forest moon Endor by the Emperor — it’s a trap! It’s also important for another reason: This is the first line spoken by an Asian character in the original Star Wars movies.

Later comes the final line spoken by an Asian character in those films: “I’m hit!” Then, a shower of sparks, and the cockpit bursts into flame faster than you can say “Jek Porkins.” Total time onscreen: approximately 4 seconds. (Brief, but enough to yield a Halloween costume idea, at least.)

So who is this Asian Rebel pilot? As it turns out, that’s kind of complicated.

First off, the role is uncredited, and while there are assorted Rebel pilots listed in the cast, none fits the description. For Star Wars knowledge this obscure, one must consult Leland Chee of Lucasfilm.

My title is manager of the Holocron,” Chee explains, “and the Holocron is a database of all Star Wars facts.

Chee says the Holocron holds over 66,000 entries: “characters, planets, droids — everything from the movies, from what we now consider ‘legends’ material, which is all the books that came out before this year, comics, games, trading cards, stuff we’ve done online, stuff we’ve done for role-playing games, stuff for toys — that’s what I’m tasked with compiling.”

The Asian pilot we’re looking for was made into a toy in 1999. Well, sort of.

That figure is a mess,” Chee says. “It’s wrong on so many levels. They made him red, which is the color of the B-wing pilots. They gave him a Y-wing helmet, but they gave him the name of an A-wing pilot.

This is exactly the sort of mistake Chee and his comrades on the Lucasfilm Story Group are now responsible for preventing. Peering deeper into the Holocron — the FileMaker database is actually “not that complex,” Chee says — he’s able to search it while talking on the phone with a reporter. That yields a better answer: Lieutenant Telsij.

The name Lieutenant Telsij first appears in a card game set released by Decipher in the year 2000. Like many minor characters, Telsij didn’t get his name until after the fact. In this case, about 17 years after the fact.

A lot of that information, like naming of background characters, especially from the films, came from that Decipher collectible card game,” Chee explains. “Most of their card sets were pre-Episode I, so it was mostly classic trilogy material, and they were naming every single background character. They were also pulling from the Star Wars Holiday Special as well, because they had image reference for that. But yeah, if someone wasn’t named, they would name them.”

The Lieutenant Telsij card even contains a bit of back story; he flew under the call sign Gray Two, and was “one of only four attackers who survived the raid on the Imperial Academy at Carida.”

Incidentally, Chee says he tracks pronunciation in the Holocron, “but it’s only as needed.” In the case of Telsij, “I don’t think we’ve ever used him in anything that required a pronunciation for his name,” he says. But, he adds, “If someone asked me, I would say ‘TEL-sidge.’ ”

So who played Telsij in the movie? Chee asked J.W. Rinzler, author of The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, to send him the call sheets for the Y-wing cockpit shots. Those include three names: Eiji Kusuhara, Timothy Sinclair and Erroll Shaker.

Kusuhara, who also appeared in Eyes Wide Shut, among other performances, died in 2010. But he’s the most likely candidate. Hilary Westlake, a stage director who was a close friend and wrote Kusuhara’s obituary for the Guardian, says Kusuhara never mentioned this role to her. But after viewing the clip, she says, “Albeit brief, I would say it is most certainly Eiji.”

So that’s that, right? No. “There are two different Y-wing pilots,” Chee says, “each with their own unique helmet, possibly voiced by the same voice actor.”

That second pilot — the one who cries out, “I’m hit!” — is Ekelarc Yong. His name comes from an action figure released by Hasbro. He has a bat on his helmet and flew under the call sign Gray Three.

We didn’t even know this character existed until we did that action figure,” Chee says with a laugh. “I didn’t know until recently that they were actually two different guys.”

Maybe they weren’t intended to be two different guys. Maybe the Ekelarc Yong character is the result of a continuity error.

There’s a lot of strange things that go on with those pilots,” Chee says. By way of example, he adds: “One of the pilots in the film is actually a woman, but she’s given a man’s voice. A-wing pilots are supposed to look a certain way — they’re the green ones; they’ve got a certain helmet — but then you go to the briefing room scene and some people are carrying the wrong helmets.”

So it’s at least conceivable that the same actor, possibly Kusuhara, could have accidentally donned a different helmet in subsequent takes. Watching the film, it’s difficult to tell whether there are two different actors — the pilot is grimacing in the second clip, and the explosion begins almost immediately, obscuring his face. Neither Chee nor Rinzler was able to find the name of the voice actor who seemingly provides the voice for both. So we’ll probably never know. But two helmets means two action figures, and that means two pilots.

Elsewhere in the Star Wars universe, there are more Asian characters than there might appear to be at first glance, though Telsij and Yong are the only ones who speak. Some have names, some don’t.

Some of the Jabba’s palace characters do,” Chee says. “They look Asian to me; let me put it that way.” Among those lurking in the shadows are Ardon “Vapor” Crell, Rayc Ryjerd and a mustachioed fellow named Jan Solbidder. And in Cloud City, one of Lando Calrissian’s guards is Corman Jeihn, possibly named by Hasbro — or, Chee says, “I think I may have named him.”

Then there’s the Jedi known as Selig Kenjenn.

Since there was such a dearth of reference for ‘Asian Jedi,’ ” Chee says, “there was an action figure pack that Hasbro did that featured an Asian male Jedi — who, surprisingly, looks like me.”

Chee says he provided photo reference for the character, who was “offscreen at the battle of Geonosis,” and that the idea for the action figure might have come from an illustration that accompanied a Wired story about Chee, which depicted him as a Jedi.

That guy’s definitely Asian,” Chee says of Selig Kenjenn. “And that one, I definitely named myself.”

So does the name carry some special significance?

Ummmmm, not that I’m going to say,” Chee demurs. “ ‘Selig’ comes from one of my other fandoms, I’ll say that.

Whatever the case, the relative dearth of Asian characters remains. Beyond the classic trilogy, there’s the Chinese-born actor Bai Ling as Senator Bana Breemu, but her scenes were cut from Episode II. And there’s a Jedi woman named Bultar Swan.

Then there’s probably a bunch of background guys that don’t have names,” Chee adds. “Hopefully we’ll see some more in Episode VII.”

Hopefully, indeed. Christina Chong has reportedly filmed her scenes already, so can the Holocron Keeper say anything about her role in the forthcoming J.J. Abrams-directed sequel?

Actually, I can’t,” Chee says. “I don’t have any information on that.”

Not yet, anyway.

Steve Haruch is a writer, and a contributing editor at the Nashville Scene. You can follow him on Twitter @steveharuch.

 

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Fall network TV shows star more Asian Americans

 

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Asian Fortune News:

 

The number of Asian American actors on network television shows will increase this fall season. John Cho will star in ABC’s comedy “Selfie,” which is described as a modern version of “My Fair Lady.” On CBS, Kal Penn will appear in “Battle Creek,” a show about detectives working in a small town, and Maggie Q was cast in a new thriller entitled “Stalker.”

A new comedy show based on chef Eddie Huang’s memoir will be on ABC and is the first sitcom in two decades that focuses on an Asian American family. “Fresh Off The Boat” will star Randall Park and Constance Wu and features the culture shock 12-year-old Eddie experiences after moving to Orlando from D.C.’s Chinatown. In addition, CBS picked up “Scorpion,” which will be directed by Justin Lin, who is known for the “Fast and Furious” franchise.

 

Check out this link:

Fall network TV shows star more Asian Americans