East Asians on Western Screen – Text Printed across GIFS reads:
Constance Wu – I think in my early years being Asian was an advantage to me because that was a time when casting was more concerned about hiring POC actors to be PC. Not because there was a curiosity in the thing that made them unique. I was going out for the auditions that were “the best friend” or “the assistant” to sort of “put color” around the lead white person’s story.
– I wish people wouldn’t just see me as the Asian girl who beats everyone up, or the Asian girl with no emotion. People see Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock in a romantic comedy, but not me.
I don’t want to play an Asian character that white America finds cute and funny because it’s a variation of Long Duk Dong in Sixteen Candles. I remember going to a Rush Hour 2 premiere and talking to a producer, and he was really excited talking to me because Hong Kong films were really kind of cool at the moment…And he goes, “How come you don’t have an accent?” And I told him that I was from Berkeley. And immediately I wasn’t as interesting to him anymore, and he walked away. But if I was from Hong Kong, and with a funny accent, maybe i’d been cuter to him, and more something that you can market.
Steven Yeun –
People ask, “So, how are the roles now? You must be getting so many!” And it’s like, I don’t know if you know, but i’m Asian still. It’s not a complaint, that’s just how it is now, and I have to forge my own path through it and see that through. I think that if I had not been Asian, I probably would have a whole plethora of roles, at least to audition for, but it’s just not what has been written.
Ming-Na Wen – That’s definitely been my lifelong career goal; to break stereotypes and not be afraid to embrace what our culture has to offer.
John Cho – I experienced racism, and in my professional life, I try to take roles (and have always tried to take roles) that don’t fall within the parameters of any Asian stereotype. And so to me, hopefully, that’s a positive thing I can put into popular culture and so maybe in some bizarrely tiny way that helps people not think of Asians in one particular way.
Ardon Cho – Turning down another role. Super-hot Asian trophy wife with a thick Asian accent. No thanks. #racist Even though it’s a studio film with stars.
Daniel Dae Kim – I’m such a fan of films and books like Lord of the Rings and even Star Wars, despite the fact that, as an actor, I’ll never be employed by them, simply because of my race.
Sandra Oh – I’d always known that I worked in an industry that blatantly excluded people based on their race. But i’d believed, naively, that I could break through those barriers if I just worked hard enough. I still have to squeeze my way into auditions, because people often can’t imagine that someone who looks the way I do could play a certain role. It doesn’t occur to them – but I know I can make it occur to them, if they just give me a chance.
Daniel Henney – I grew up in a farm town and was the only Asian. So you looked at television for inspiration. Even then, there was nothing aside from martial artists and sidekicks with accents. The Asian man has been desexualized ; in Western media] and that’s something I always fought against.
Masi Oka – Hollywood is fickle, it follows trends. If a show or a film did well with an Asian lead, then it would take off.