A-Pop! is a monthly column discussing the happenings of Asians and Asian Americans in the entertainment biz
By Ninette Cheng
Northwest Asian Weekly
Welcome back to another month of entertainment and pop culture news! The end of the summer included an awkward incident between U.S. airport officials and a Bollywood superstar, Michelle Kwan’s retirement, and oh yeah, Vanessa Hudgens naked … again.
Not quite the Hollywood treatment
Shah Rukh Khan is known as the King of Bollywood because he has starred in more than 70 films during his 20-year career.
However, on Aug. 14, Khan was treated less than royally at New York’s Newark Liberty International Airport. The actor spent one hour in what officials said was routine questioning. The Associated Press (AP) reported that the reason it took so long was because they were waiting for Khan’s luggage.
“Khan is a Muslim name and I think the name is common on their checklist,” the actor told The AP.
Khan stated that he plans to visit the United States less frequently, but has called to his fans to end their protests. “Let’s put this behind us, think positively, and move ahead,” he said at a news conference.
Ironically, a few weeks earlier, Fox Star Studios announced that it had struck a deal to finance and distribute “My Name is Khan,” a movie starring Khan about an Indian Muslim setting out on a journey across the United States.
Letting go of the gold
Michelle Kwan has every title that a figure skater could possibly want except one: the Olympic gold medal. The 29-year-old announced this month she was ending that quest and will be attending graduate school instead of making another attempt at the 2010 Vancouver games.
Kwan plans to attend Tufts University, entering into public service. Olympic gold or not, this figure skating legend still has nine national titles. Good luck with your future, Michelle!
“Real Housewife” lost house?
Shortly following the premiere of her “Real Housewives of Atlanta” reality show about wealthy women in Atlanta, Lisa Hu Hartwell and her husband, athlete Ed Hartwell, lost their home. Lisa, the half Chinese entrepreneur is the third member of the “Atlanta” cast to lose a home.
The Hartwells bought the mansion for $2.9 million in 2007. The bank received $1.9 million when it was resold earlier this month. A rep said the Hartwells had planned to restructure the loan since the home had lost value, but their attempt failed.
“Ed and Lisa are fine,” her rep said. “They have settled in their [new] home that sits on 10 acres, and they own it!”
New project for Olympics designer Zhang Yimou
Sony Pictures Classics’ art house division is investing in Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s newest film. Zhang is known for directing “Hero” and “House of Flying Daggers.”
This is Zhang’s first project since he designed the Beijing Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies.
The film, based on the Coen brothers’ 1984 movie “Blood Simple,” is about a Chinese noodle shop owner who plans to kill his cheating wife and her lover. The plot “spins out of control after the introduction of a gun into the lives of characters more accustomed to knives and swords,” according to a statement from Sony Pictures. The film, scheduled for release in December, will star Chinese actor Sun Honglei, comedian Xiao Shenyang, and actress Yan Ni.
Anna Sui’s clothing line back on!
Previously, I wrote about rumors that Anna Sui’s Target line might be axed. I am happy to report that those rumors appear to be false! Sui’s “Gossip Girl”-inspired line debuted on Sept. 13. The prices of the 19-piece line range from $19.99 to $149.99 — much more affordable than the clothes on the show. See you in line!
Not-so-innocent pop star bares it again
Last month, I reported that Vanessa Hudgens would be starring in a new film entitled “Bandslam.”
What I did not realize was that she would be starring in more nude photos. Hmm … is the timing a coincidence or not? Hudgens has not commented on the photos, though they appear to be from the same batch as her previous photo scandal.
Ironically, about a week later, Hudgens told the press that one of her hobbies is photography. Um, yeah, we noticed.
Vanessa, you’re cute, but please try to keep your clothes on from here on out!
Check back next month for more news! Hopefully (or maybe not?), it’ll be less scandalous! ♦
Ninette Cheng can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.