I almost don’t believe it. Like most summer movie lineups, 2009 is packed with blockbusters, sequels and prequels.
But there’s something going on with this summer’s lineup. This summer perhaps features the most Asian American actors and characters from any lineup before. Pixar’s Up, Terminator Salvation, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Star Trek, and G.I. Joe to name a few – each feature Asian American actors in some kind of featured supporting role.
From American Cinema’s historic lack of Asian-American actors beyond the typical Fu-Manchu villain, high school mathlete, or kung fu master – this summer’s lineup of Asian American actor in “normal” roles certainly provides a window into what is yet to come for Asian American actors in cinema.
- The largest role for an Asian American this summer wasn’t for an actor, per se. Instead, Pixar’s latest movie, Up, features a cranky old man and Russell, voiced by 9-year old Japanese-American actor Jordan Nagai and their adventures to South America.
- In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Korean drama star Daniel Henney plays a villain as Agent Zero. Despite speaking not a drip of Korean, the British-Korean-American actor is a household name in South Korea for his role in the hit drama My Name Is Kim Sam Soon.
- John Cho takes the reigns from George Takei as Sulu in this summer’s release of Star Trek. And might I add, for those that have seen the movie, they gave John quite a white-night entrance in the movie and in the previews.
- In Terminator Salvation, the half-Korean and former Laker Girl Moon Bloodgood plays the love interest for the newest hybrid Terminator.