A-pop! Asians invade the screen

By Vivian Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly

Even though 2013 has only been underway for a few short weeks, there’s already a lot of news to cover, including anti-Americanism, television castings, and even some news straight out of Seattle. Read on to find out about all the buzz of the new year!

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Jackie Chan (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

The world, according to Jackie Chan

Hong Kong actor and native Jackie Chan recently rocked news waves when he called America “the most corrupt country in the world” on a Hong Kong talk show. Say what, now?

In the segment, originally translated from Chinese, Chan defended China’s recent censorship of a popular Chinese newspaper, and reflected criticism against China’s escalating corruption problems. He then went on to declare the United States as not only the most corrupt country in the world, but also responsible for instigating the worldwide financial crisis.

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Ming Na

For some, this anti-American sentiment may reveal a new surprising side to Chan, who is best known to American audiences for his jolly, acrobatic characters in martial art movies, such as “Rumble in the Bronx” and “Rush Hour.”

What some Americans might not know, however, is that Chan has long been a staunch supporter of the Chinese Communist Party and has a history of controversial political views. Some American media reactions have called the actor ungrateful, particularly as the United States has been responsible for Chan’s commercial success. As for myself, I’m just going to take Chan’s comments with a grain of salt.

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Sheldon Simeon

Has anyone been watching the latest season of cooking competition reality show “Top Chef?” There’s been a lot of talk about it lately, mostly because the current season is set in our own hometown of Seattle!

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Kristen Kish

More importantly, one of the current frontrunners is Korean American chef Kristen Kish, who has been kicking butt and taking names like nobody’s business. Another fan favorite, Hawaiian-native Filipino chef Sheldon Simeon, has also been faring well this season. There is also Josie Smith-Malave, who is of Filipina descent. Although she’s prone to controversy on the show, she definitely keeps things interesting! Tune in to cheer these three cheftestants on as they battle it out in kitchens all across Seattle.

Shooting will soon begin for the pilot of “S.H.I.E.L.D.,” a television show based on the Marvel Comics organization of the same name. For fans of the comics, the series is confirmed to take place following the events from the action movie “The Avengers.” Actor Chloe Bennet, who is partially of  Chinese descent, was recently cast in the show’s sixth and final lead role. Bennet can currently be seen on the ABC drama “Nashville.” The fabulous Ming-Na Wen, beloved for her role in “The Joy Luck Club,” also stars as a major lead in the show.

Hip-hop comedian and actor Utkarsh Ambudkar recently guest-starred in an episode of “The Mindy Project.” He may likely return for guest spots as he plays the titular character’s brother.

Ambudkar, who is Indian American, had a breakout role in the musical comedy film “Pitch Perfect,” where you can catch him beatboxing and rapping to perfection. There’s been a lot of buzz about Ambudkar lately — my bet is that this is just the first we’ve heard of him this year.

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Utkarsh Ambudkar

I didn’t get to see many box office movies this past holiday season, but the one I regret missing the most is “Life of Pi.” The adventure drama film, which explores spiritual discovery, follows a young Indian boy who survives being shipwrecked … with a Bengal Tiger. The film stars a silver screen newcomer, Indian actor Suraj Sharma, as well as Indian actor Irrfan Khan. And don’t forget the luminous Ang Lee, who directed the film. Lee, who is Taiwanese American, is known for his directorial work on several critically acclaimed movies, including “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Brokeback Mountain.” (end)

Vivian Nguyen can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.

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