Olivia Munn joins ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ as Psylocke

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 Audrey Magazine:

While X-Men: Apocalypse is still in its early pre-production stages, the producer Bryan Singer has been utilizing Instagram to make some major announcements about the movie’s progress. For instance, we recently discovered that newcomer Lana Condor would join the cast as the hand sparking mutant, Jubilee.

But she’s not the only Asian American you can look forward to seeing in X-Men: Apocalypse. Adding onto the mutant list, Singer’s recent Instagram post welcomes Audrey cover girl, Olivia Munn, to the team as Psylocke.

Not familiar with Psylocke? Born with the name Betsy Braddock, Psylocke is the twin to Brian Braddock, better known as Captain Britain. By the time their parents died (murdered by the computer Mastermind), Betsy had become a charter pilot. While flying home with her brothers to escape an attack from Mastermind’s agent, Doctor Synne, Betsy fell victim Synne’s psychic attack, which caused her to crash her plane. It’s believed that the mental intrusions of Doctor Synne was the start of Betsy’s precognitive powers and the birth of Psylocke.

As Marvel continues to increase their number of Asian American female characters, like Ms. Marvel, Silk and many more, we hope to see just as many Asian Americans on the big screen in the near future.

Lana Condor will play Jubilee in ‘X-Men Apocalypse’

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Audrey Magazine:

Yesterday, X-Men: Apocalypse director Bryan Singer posted a picture of actress Lana Condor on Instagram to announce she will play the character Jubilee in the upcoming film. In the X-Men comics, Jubilee is a teenage mutant who attacks enemies using “explosive plasmoids” from her hand. She is most recognizable for her trademark yellow raincoat and goggles.

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Not much info can be found on this young actress since Jubilee will be her first role. Despite this, we are beyond happy to see more Asians in major comic book films and we can only hope that Lana Candor will have a big part as Jubilee in this upcoming film. After all, Chinese superstar Fan BingBing, who played the character Blink in X-Men: Days of Future Past, had a rough estimate of two lines and five minutes of screentime in the overstuffed film.

We’ll keep our fingers crossed for Lana and for the possibility of more Asian American actors on screen soon. Lately, there have been an increase of Asian American comic book characters such as Kamala Khan in Ms. Marvel, Silk and a few others. Since most of the blockbusters seem to be comic book adaptations nowadays, let’s hope the casting of Jubilee is part of an increasing trend!

Audrey Magazine interview: Haley Tju from Nickelodeon’s “Bella and the Bulldogs”

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Audrey Magazine:

Traditional gender roles? Not in Nickelodeon’s hit show, Bella and the Bulldogs! The show focuses on Bella, a head cheerleader who pursues her passion of playing football and becomes the star quarterback for her school’s team. Pepper and Sophie are also cheerleaders and Bella’s best friends. In the show, the girls must try to remain close and maintain their friendship while proving that girls can be just as tough and play sports just as well as guys. Who knew there was more to Nickelodeon than dealing with everyday school life?

Haley Tju (pronounced like “chew”) plays Pepper, the energetic friend with an obsession with the right hair poof height. During our interview, the Chinese and Indonesian American actress proves that she is much more than the fashionista cheerleader she plays on Bella and the Bulldogs.

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Audrey Magazine:  How old are you?

Haley Tju: I’m 14, born on February 15.

AM: Are you homeschooled?

HT: Yes, I am homeschooled. I’ve been homeschooled for about two years now and it’s been great. I do school on set when I’m working and I have three teachers that help me. But when I’m not working, I just do it at home and get my mom’s help.

AM: Do you miss regular school?

HT: Yeah, I do! I have friends there. You always get to hang out with friends on and off work. At work, you get to hang out with your cast mates and they’re pretty amazing.

AM: How did you get into acting?

HT: My older sister, Brianne, started acting, so my mom decided to put me into acting as well. And I started auditioning for commercials and doing co-stars and guest stars and going from there.

AM: What was the first role you landed?

HT: I think it was a Pizza Hut commercial. That was really fun because they let me eat pizza at the audition. But for a show, I think I was a girl scout in an older show on Fox. That was a cool experience.

AM: What do your friends say when they see you on TV? Is it weird for them?

HT: No, because I’ve been really close to them. I’ve been friends with them since pre-school so they see me skip school and go to auditions and see me on TV. They’ve been really supportive and nice. I guess they’re just really happy for me. Sometimes it’s hard, because they schedule a hang out and I can’t because things just pop up at random times.

AM: Tell me about your character, Pepper, on Bella and the Bulldogs?

HT: My character Pepper is Bella and Sophie’s overly caffeinated bestie. She’s loyal, a fashionista, boy crazy and she’s prone to panic attacks. The girls are always there to calm her down.

AM: Are you anything like her in real life?

HT: I can be indecisive like her at times and we both love fashion, but I think her fashion is more wild than I am. She definitely expresses who she is through her clothes.

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AM: Pepper is a cheerleader. Do you also play any sports?

HT: I used to be a dancer and gymnast. I still do dance occasionally. I do kickboxing and running and I love playing football just for fun. I can never actually play in a game because I can never be tackled! But I still love just throwing it around and having fun with it.

AM: Who is your favorite actor or actress that you admire?

HT: Oh, that’s going to be hard. I love Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley because they just seem so real and genuine on and off screen.

AM: Have you met them in person?

HT: No, I would love to though!

AM: What would your dream role be?

HT: I guess I’m kind of living my dream role. I always wanted to have my own show on Nickelodeon, but I would love to go into the movie industry and do more dramatic and comedic roles. I’ve always wanted to be like, the mini Maggie Q, like Nikita.

AM: Do you see yourself acting in the long run? Or do you see yourself doing other things?

HT: Acting is definitely a part of me now. I feel that it’s all I want to do. But besides acting, I do like singing and drawing and art. So maybe if I take a little break, I can go further with those. But right now, it’s all about acting because I love it.

AM: Other than Nickelodeon, do you have other projects you’re working on?

HT: Not at the moment and nothing I can talk about, but once I know more, I’ll be sure to share on my social media.

Keep an eye out for Haley Tju during the next season of Bella and the Bulldogs!

 

Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q are engaged

Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q are engaged

New York Post/Page Six:

Stalker” actor Dylan McDermott is getting married again.

Sources tell us he’s engaged to his co-star Maggie Q after dating for a few months.

The two had kept their relationship under wraps after first being spotted together last fall in LA. But the couple stepped out at the Golden Globes after-parties, and the statuesque actress was spotted wearing a ring.

Dylan is 53 and has two children from his 13 year marriage to actress Shiva Rose. Q is 35.

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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Korean American actress Jamie Chung on voicing superheroine GoGo Tomago in Disney’s “Big Hero 6″

 

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Audrey Magzine:

What’s even cooler than a female superhero? Two of them. Disney’s newest animated film Big Hero 6 details the adventures of boy-genius Hiro Hamada as he tries to investigate a fatal and suspicious fire that took everything away from him. With the assistance of his friends and a robot, Hiro forms a superhero team that can solve any mystery.

Korean American actress Jamie Chung voices one of Hiro’s two female, college-aged friends, GoGo Tomago.

What’s so great about her and Honey Lemon is that there’s no stereotype of, or cookie-cutter character of what they think a strong female character is,” Chung says about the brainy, female characters, each of whom are completely unique. While both GoGo and Honey Lemon are studying the sciences along with Wasabi and non-student Fred, they couldn’t be more different. Honey Lemon is “girly,” but can still use chemicals to create a destructive weapon; GoGo can get answers out of anyone with her cool yet direct personality.

Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

She’s a woman of few words –– she’s like the Clint Eastwood character of the group,” says the actress, who has recently gained popularity for her role as Mulan in Once Upon a Time. “She’s got quite a lot of sass, she’s got a need for speed, she’s an adrenaline junkie, and she’s got a secret crush on Fred –– I’m just making that up, but I’m gonna go with it.”

After earning some major upgrades with costumes and gadgets, GoGo can out-race anything with her speed-inducing rollerblades and boomerang-like discs which she can throw at targets. Just as impressive, Honey Lemon can type a few elemental equations into her periodic table purse to produce chemical, explosive orbs.

I think what I love about this group and the reality is that intelligence is not sex-biased. Everyone is pretty equal in that world, and they can hang and if anything, they’re a bit more fearless than their male counterparts,” Chung says.

And when the mystery has been solved, the superheroes don’t go their separate ways to their ordinary lives; they hang out at Hiro’s aunt’s café and spend time with each other.

It really celebrates a new kind of family –– a very contemporary, unconventional family, and that’s with your friends.”

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