September 15, 2017
by Suzanne Kai
The controversial practice of whitewashing movies has been going on for nearly a century in Hollywood.
In the 1930's even the starring role of the Charlie Chan movies, scripted to be a Chinese man, was given to white actors pretending to play Chinese men.
Fast forward to 2017 - Ed Skrein, an English actor and rapper, wins the "Hellboy" movie role of Major Ben Saimio, a character of Japanese heritage in the original comic books.
Social media erupted negatively to his casting.
Unlike actors who won and defended their roles which were originally written as Asian characters, such as Scarlett Johansspn (Ghost in the Shell), Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange), Matt Damon (The Great Wall), and Emma Stone (Aloha) Ed Skrein gave his role back.
Ed received favorable social media reaction, and Daniel York, writer for Time Magazine wrote this commentary Skrein is setting an example other actors should follow. If only more people in the industry had his integrity, courage and common humanity.
(full article at Time magazine "Ed Skrein Proved Actors Can Resist Whitewashington, Too" - click here)
Ed Skrein issued the message below.
Skrein is best known in America for his role as Daario Naharis in the third season of Game of Thrones, and his roles in The Transporter Refueled, and Deadpool. Now he is known for
"It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voice in the Arts.
I feel it is important to honour and respect that.
Therefore I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately," the British actor wrote in a statement.
"Representation of ethnic diversity is important, especially to me as I...
by Suzanne KaiSeptember 14, 2017 Jackie Chan, at 63, is as busy as ever. His latest film The Foreigner releases on American screens this October 13, 2017, and launches on streaming platforms in January, 2018. This is his first high profile movie to come to America since 2010's release of The Karate Kid where he played the mentor to the karate kid (Jaden Smith). He has also been a voice actor during this time for two Kung Fu Panda sequels, the Lego Ninjago Movie, and The Nut Job 2. The Foreigner, starring Jackie and Pierce Brosnan is an action thriller directed by Martin Campbell, (Casino Royale). Jackie plays Quan, a humble London businessman whose teenage daughter is killed in a senseless act by terrorists. While frantically searching for the terrorists, he gets entangled in a conflict with a British government official played by Brosnan who may have clues to lead him to the terrorists. After wrapping The Foreigner, Jackie completed another film Bleeding Steel with a limited U.S. release date of December 22, 2017, directed by Chinese director Leo Zhang. Jackie stars in this sci-fi action movie as a UN security officer trying to rescue his estranged daughter from a mutant super soldier and space robots. The film features Jackie in the first fight scene to be filmed on the roof of the Sydney Opera House, with Australian co-star Tess Haubrich. Observers reported there were no safety harnesses in sight. In between making movies for audiences around the world, and focusing on China's movie market in recent years, Jackie is tending to his vast businesses, and his massive International Stunt Training Base compound thirty miles from Beijing. On November 12, 2016 he was presented an Honorary Oscar by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences at its Governors Awards. ...
July 13, 2017
Happy Birthday Cameron Crowe!
Thank you Cameron for sharing your amazing stories working with Ben Fong-Torres, your first editor at Rolling Stone for our documentary! The true life story behind "Almost Famous"!We've been working on a feature documentary film about the incredible life and times of Ben Fong-Torres, Rolling Stone magazine's first music editor. Both Ben and Cameron are as busy as ever! Coming soon! Suzanne Joe Kai Director/Writer/Producer
by Suzanne Kai
July 5, 2017
A year after the 2016 Oscars ceremony host Chris Rock made stereotypical jokes out of the Asian American kids on stage - Asian actors are still fighting for parity and roles.
Actors Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park, co-stars on the CBS series 'Hawaii Five-0' since 2010 asked for equal pay to that of their white co-stars, Alex O'Laughlin and Scott Caan.
According to Variety, CBS' final offer was 10 to 15 percent lower than what O'Loughlin and Caan are paid.
Grace played Kono Kalakaua, and Daniel's character was Chin Ho Kelly. They acted in all of the 168 episodes of the series.
Daniel Dae Kim posted on his Facebook page on July 5, 2017: (excerpt from a longer message to his fans)
By now many of you have heard the news, and I’m sad to say it is true. I will not be returning to Hawaii Five-0 when production starts next week. Though I made myself available to come back, CBS and I weren’t able to agree to terms on a new contract, so I made the difficult choice not to continue.
As sad as it feels to say goodbye, what I feel most is gratitude. I am so deeply thankful to our crew, writers and everyone associated with the show – and especially the cast, who have been nothing but supportive through this entire process. They and the crew have been my second family for seven years and I wish them nothing but success for season 8 - and beyond.
I also want to say thank you to Peter Lenkov, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and everyone at CBS. I will always be grateful for their faith in me to bring Chin Ho Kelly to life. As an Asian American actor, I know first-hand how difficult it is to find opportunities at all, let alone play a well developed, three dimensional character like Chin Ho. I will miss him sincerely.
What made him even more special is that he was a representative of a place my family and I so dearly love. It has been nothing short of...
June 28, 2017
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released its 2017 list of invitees. Asian American actors B.D. Wong and John Cho were included on the 2017 list of 774 people invited by the Academy.
Other actors invited include Donnie Yen, Riz Ahmed (The Night Of, The Reluctant Fundamentalist), Priyanka Chopra, Irffan Khan, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung,
Filmmakers invited to join the Academy's documentary branch include Grace Lee (American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs), S. Leo Chiang (Village Called Versailles, Out Run), and Keiko Deguchi (Cats of Mirikitani, God Knows Where I Am). Greg Pak was invited to join the feature animation and short films branch.
This year, the move is to increase a more diverse membership to better reflect the industry, after the Oscar nominees in 2016 were all White for the second year in a row which sparked the #OscarsSoWhite backlash. If they accept, the new members will be able to vote in the acting categories.