Keeping up with the stars in H-town
By Ninette Cheng
Northwest Asian Weekly
The controversy of the month belongs to Jackie Chan and his comments regarding freedom for Chinese people. That being said, other Asians excelled. Yao Ming is leading the Houston Rockets in the playoffs, Lindsay Price stars in a television pilot, and Freida Pinto is declared beautiful. In addition, a long awaited update on journalist Laura Ling and Euna Kim.
Actor Jackie Chan sent thou-sands of Chi-nese into uproar when he stated at a conference in Hainan that he was not sure if a free society was the best direction for China.
“I’m not sure if it’s good to have freedom or not,” Chan said. “I’m gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we’re not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want.”
Chan continued by citing examples of Taiwan and his native Hong Kong as examples of chaotic societies that develop from having too much freedom. Chan’s comments were not reported in Mainland China, but they caused great discontent among the Taiwanese and Hong Kong population. Overnight, legislators, pro-democracy Chinese activists, and Facebook users lashed out against the actor.
“He’s insulted the Chinese people,” Hong Kong pro-democracy legislator Leung Kwok-hung told The Associated Press.
“Chinese people aren’t pets.”
Taiwanese Democratic Progressive Party candidate Lee Kun-cheng has called upon residents to boycott Chan’s new film, “Shinjuku Incident.”
Chan’s spokesperson, Solon So, claims the statement was taken out of context. He said Chan was merely referring to the entertainment industry and not the Chinese people in general. Right.
Despite this embarrassing debacle, Chan and fellow Chinese superstar NBA player Yao Ming have been appointed promotion ambassadors for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. Yao is reportedly thrilled to be participating in the event in his native Shanghai. The event hopes to draw 70 million visitors.
Yao rockets over a bunch of Trailblazers
Yao has a lot to be thrilled about right now. On April 30, for the first time in 12 years, Yao’s team, the Houston Rockets, advanced to the second round of the NBA Playoffs by beating the Portland Trailblazers. Teammate Ron Artest led the team with 27 points while Yao scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Best of luck to the Rockets as the NBA Playoffs continue!
In February, I announced Lindsay Price’s plans to co-star in a remake of the 1987 film, “The Witches of Eastwick.” With the cancellation of “Lipstick Jungle,” this appears to be the plan. The actress will team up with Rebecca Romijn and Jaime Ray Newman as the witches in the new series. Here’s hoping that this show doesn’t go the way of Price’s previous endeavor.
Beautiful people spoiler
In case you didn’t know, People magazine wants to remind you that Freida Pinto is beautiful. The “Slumdog Millionaire” actress, who is dating co-star Dev Patel (it was finally confirmed by his mother!), is listed in People’s annual 100 Most Beautiful People issue.
Hoping for a quick, happy resolution for Ling and Lee.
There is little good news for the Ling family as Laura Ling, sister of news anchor Lisa Ling, remains in North Korea on charges that include espionage. A vigil at Del Campo High School, Ling’s alma mater, was held for Ling and her colleague Euna Lee as students expressed concern for the two journalists’ safety.
Asians on the silver screen
On a brighter note, a number of Asian actors are about to make a splash at the box office.
Last month, Bai Ling’s “Crank 2: High Voltage” opened at number six in the
U.S. box office. After its second week, the film earned a cumulative gross of $11.7 million.
Half-Korean actor Daniel Henney co-stars in the highly anticipated “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” which opened on May 1.
Korean-born actor John Cho is expected to make an equally impressive showing in “Star Trek,” which opens on May 8.
Up-and-coming half Korean actress and model Moon Bloodgood will appear in “Terminator Salvation,” out on May 21.
The former model and Lakers Girl was previously in “Eight Below,” “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li,” and ranked number 40 on Maxim magazine’s Hot 100 List in 2007. ♦
As always, don’t forget to check back next month to see how Yao Ming and the Rockets perform in the NBA Playoffs, whether any other Asians have been declared beautiful, how our favorite Asian actors perform at the box office, and any other shenanigans going down in Hollywood.
Ninette Cheng can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.