Open Letters And Asian American Actors

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I was reading this post on the YOMYOMF blog which was an open letter to Asian American Actors (regarding movie 'stardom') and at the same time caught a response to it from TMM - and I just thought I'd post up a little bit of both as I think when you juxtapose the two - they make a good read.


When The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift (which was directed by Justin) was released, some Asian American media reported that the studio behind the pic (in this case, Universal) would not let Justin cast an Asian American in the lead. This was untrue. When Justin was hired, he asked the then head of the studio, Stacey Snider, if he could cast an Asian American actor in the lead role of the troubled high schooler who’s sent to Japan to live with his father. To her credit, she said he could audition Asian American actors and if he genuinely felt one of them was the best actor, he had her blessing to hire him. To make a long story short, the Asian American actors who came in were ill prepared and gave bad auditions. There was no way in good faith that Justin could cast any of them (Justin though, of course, created the role of Asian American character Han and fought for fellow Offender Sung who won the part through his hard work and talent).

Where was the casting call for a lead role for this part?? Did AngryAsianMan send out the memo and we just missed it? I get all of Phil Yu's posts on my mobile phone. If he did, every AA/API actor that wants to be somebody would've hopped on a plane to Killa-So-Kali for an audition. Hell, I would've taken out a shark loan against my Toyota Tercel, prepared a monologue (in English and Japanese), made sure my boots were spit-shined, and flew over there with a couple acting buddies in a Tokyo minute.

One thing is for certain, you cannot dismiss the explicit racism toward Asians/Asian Americans in Hollywood culture, and even the indie scene. See my previous post. The reality is most of the roles afforded to us are only slightly different than they were in the past. I won't cite because that would be a waste of time. I'm so tired of it, I'm claiming the bragging rights to being the biggest foreign film fan you will ever meet in this world. Leslie Cheung is God. I've become so jaded in time, just seeing another Asian man jigging for change in front of my TV for the sake of a five-second chuckle makes fumes come outta my ass.