By Vivian Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
From major motion picture remakes to casting news for upcoming television shows, March was an eventful month for Asian Americans in Hollywood. Read on to find out what’s new in the world of pop culture and entertainment!
Hollywood goes big with remakes and biopics
In recent years, Disney has remade some of its most classic animated films into live-action movies, such as “Cinderella,” “Maleficent,” and “Alice in Wonderland.” With subsequent box office success from these films, Disney has now announced “Mulan” as its next major motion picture remake.
Based on Chinese folklore of female warrior Hua Mulan, the film follows Mulan who disguised herself as a man to take her father’s place and fight on behalf of her family in the army. No word yet on casting, but rest assured that this news will continue to make waves in the Asian American media and entertainment scene for months to come.
A new Bruce Lee biopic has been announced and vetted by the family of the legendary martial arts icon. Lee’s family has partnered with Hollywood producers to put out a new biopic centered on Lee’s life and career. The film is currently being hyped as “the definitive biographical film” on Lee, which will focus heavily on his philosophies, artistry, and the obstacles that he had to overcome throughout his career. Casting is currently underway and promises to please even the most diehard of Bruce Lee fans.
Casting news: Television and film
Call it the “Fresh Off The Boat” effect — as in, we’re finally starting to see more Asian Americans land lead roles thanks to the ABC sitcom — but this has been a busy month for casting news. Actress Lana Condor has been cast as teenage mutant superhero Jubilee in “X-Men: Apocalypse.” Condor is a newcomer to Hollywood.
A CBS remake of “Rush Hour,” the popular action-comedy movie franchise that starred Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, has been greenlit for television. Actor Jon Foo has been cast as Detective Lee (or, Chan’s character equivalent from the films). Foo, who is a British actor of Chinese and Irish descent, is a trained martial artist and stunt man who has appeared in several action films, such as “Batman Begins,” “Left for Dead” and “Tekken.”
Asian Reality Show
Speaking of “Fresh Off The Boat,” the ABC sitcom has sparked a series of potential copycat shows. A production company named Crybaby Media, which specializes in developing reality television and docu-series, is apparently on the search for a reality show counterpart of “Fresh Off The Boat.” The producers are seeking second generation Asian Americans with first generation parents, family-run businesses, and big personalities. If that doesn’t sound like a knock-off of the original “Fresh Off The Boat” sitcom, then I don’t know what does!
On Nickelodeon, the popular kid’s network has picked up a new scripted comedy series titled “Make It Pop!” Inspired by the K-pop craze in recent years, the sitcom will feature original songs and performances in every episode. “Make It Pop!” follows three girls who come together to start their own K-pop-inspired band and stars Louriza Tronco, Megan Lee and Erika Tham — all Asian American teenage girls — in the three lead roles. This is exciting, unprecedented news, and a show that I totally wish existed when I was 11-years-old.
Again, could we chalk the creation of this show to the recent success of “Fresh Off The Boat”?
A farewell to Norman Lee
Comic book artist Norman Lee, who was best known for his artistry in the comic book series “X-Men,” “The Avengers,” and “Supergirl,” went missing during a snorkeling trip in the Cayman Islands. Although a search was initially underway for Lee, it has since been called off with Lee presumed dead. It’s a tragic story for fans of Lee’s work. May he rest in peace. (end)
Vivian Nguyen can be reached at email@example.com.