Back in April 2016, I helped launch the #whitewashedOUT hashtag alongside YA author Ellen Oh and a whole team of Asian American activists and authors. If you recall, the spring of 2016 was a rough time to be an Asian American consumer of pop culture.
A new Hard NOC Life will be available on Friday, but in the meantime, be sure to check out these newly released episodes from other shows in the Hard NOC network, plus a brand new podcast debuting next week!
This week on Hard NOC Life, Shawn and Keith discuss the news from the waning days of summer, including Childish Gambino’s latest, the new Jack Ryan series on Amazon, and the reveal of Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel.
Searching has been marked as revolutionary in filmmaking with the story being told through the eyes of the technology and devices we use every day to communicate. The thriller, written by director Aneesh Chaganty and producer Sev Ohanian, tells the story of a missing daughter and a father (John Cho) determined to find her using technology — social media, texts, emails, and various websites.
After a long weekend of interviews, John Cho walked into a room full of Asian and Asian American reporters anxiously waiting to talk to him about his new film Searching, a mystery thriller that not only uses a new medium of filming via the lens of your everyday devices, but is, also, the first of its genre to star an Asian American lead… ever. This movie is important to us and Cho knows it.
Starting tomorrow, from April 27 to May 4, the LAAPFF will showcase a week of films from the opening of Better Luck Tomorrow for its 15th anniversary, the centerpiece Gook starring Justin Chon, the closing film Columbus with John Cho as the romantic lead, and a whole slew of shorts and features in between.
To be exact, there are 45 features and 139 shorts to choose from. Here are the few select ones that have caught my attention as Josephine Chang and I will cover the festival:
When it’s all said and done, 2016 will be long remembered as the year everything (including American democracy) went to hell. Pop culture did not go unscathed either. We said goodbye to all of our heroes: Prince, Bowie, Ali, Phife, Kanye… and hello to the worst the internet could offer. From misogynist Ghostbusters haters to problematic faves, it was the year the ugly side of internet culture went mainstream. I mean, we literally elected an internet troll the leader of the free world.
Still, the geekosystem was able to produce a few silver linings in the massive dark cloud that was the last 12 months. Here are ten… or so.
People tell me physical media is a dying format and that everyone gets their movies digitally now. Well, I’m old and set in my ways. One of those ways is buying my favorite movies on blu-ray. Last time there was a new Star Trek movie available on disc, Paramount spread the movie’s bonus features over several different retail outlets, and I was not happy about it. This time, while there are still retail exclusives for Star Trek Beyond, you don’t have to buy five different versions of the same movie to get all of the featurettes in one place.
This morning, Deadline unveiled the first trailer for Birth of the Dragon, which recently made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. Ostensibly, the film depicts the legendary fight between Bruce Lee (played by Philip Ng) and Wong Jack Man (Yu Xia). But because this is Hollywood, the movie is going to be told from the perspective of a white dude.
It looks like we will have a show #StarringJohnCho.
Star Trek Beyond’s John Cho recently went viral for the fan-made hashtag and movement #StarringJohnCho, which showcased the lack of Asian American representation in entertainment. It looks like it may have worked.
Over the weekend, I was invited to join a CCTV America newscast — the Stateside arm of China Central Television — to discuss Hollywood’s continuing habit of erasing Asians and Asian Americans from the movies. It was my first time as an in-studio guest, but I was able to join anchorwoman Susan Roberts live from Washington, DC. Check out the video of the segment after the jump.
Yesterday, the movie world was shocked (not really) to learn Daniel Craig had turned down a small fortune to return to the big screen as James Bond, leaving a 007-sized hole for the franchise. Of course, the most obvious successor to the Aston Martin is Idris Elba, preferably in a Christopher Nolan-directed 007. Unfortunately, he’s “too street” to be considered, whatever that means. (We know what that means). So why not give an Asian actor a license to kill? Thus, #AsianBond was born on twitter. It’s not like there isn’t a plethora of Asian Brits who could take the role. In fact, I came up with nine. The only caveat is that they all hail from the UK, so sorry John Cho.
So a few days ago, I wrote a thing. Maybe you’ve seen it. Ever since that post has been passed around, I’ve been taken to task about the stars I included (or didn’t include) on the list and whether or not I was basically proving Sorkin’s point by coming up with only three names.
On the first point, the names I included were not meant to be my casting suggestions for the role of Brad Katsuyama in a hypothetical Flash Boys movie. Instead, I was more concerned with Sorkin’s assertion that Asian movie stars didn’t exist. So I went to Box Office Mojo, and scanned their list of actors’ all-time domestic grosses and looked for the ones who were (North) American of Asian descent — whether or not you think hapas or Pacific Islanders should’ve been appropriately considered criteria is another matter1.
Last week, North Korean hackers allegedly broke into the personal files of Sony Pictures execs as retaliation for the studio producing the James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy The Interview, which is about a CIA plot to assassinate Kim Jong Un. Normally, we’d be all over the nerd-friendly news about, say, Spider-Man coming home to Marvel Studios, but that’s been covered plenty of times on the web. Besides, we already told the world the best way to mashup Spidey and the MCU.
It’s on, my friends. The Harold and Kumar animated series is on. We’ve known that an animated series based on the comedy trilogy was in the works, with John Cho and Kal Penn returning to provide the voices for the titular stoner duo. This week, the cast reportedly reunited for the show’s first table read.
Before the season started, we did an episode of “Hard N.O.C. Life” in which we talked about the shows we were excited for. Sleepy Hollow made the cut, but we speculated that the show would probably be terrible. That said, we were all intrigued by the premise. Several episodes in, and it’s become one of the buzziestshows on television. It’s also one of the most diverse, with article after article pointing to its importance as a bellwether for diversifying TV’s primetime landscape.
Seeing the results of the first round of The Nerds’ first ever Star Trek fantasy draft, it was not a surprise to see that Lt. Sulu — as portrayed by George Takei — was the Nerds’ choice to helm our virtual starship. It was mildly surprising that the contest was so close, with Takei’s Sulu squeaking out a one-vote victory in a nailbiter of a contest. What was very surprising was that the helmsman who came in second place was Lt. Tom Paris from Voyager. See, the line out of Vegas had Takei battling John Cho in a Sulu-on-Sulu deathmatch for Enterprise helmsman superiority. Preferably with fences.