Em Liu 「Hollywood’s (Real) Problem with the Asian Male」

Posted on January 27, 2015 commentaires
“There are no Asian movie stars” – Aaron Sorkin

We absorb poisonous images from the fiction we consume.

Hollywood’s brand of fiction is especially toxic, and one of the most perennially problematic images in Hollywood is that of the Asian male. At a basic level, the problem is a simple lack of representation: there are very few roles for Asian American actors, and lead roles are almost nonexistent. When an Asian male actor is actually cast in a speaking role, his character is often either an emasculated, inarticulate, socially inept chump like Long Duck Dong (Gedde Watanabe) from John Hughes’ 「Sixteen Candles」 or else an asexual, stoic, martial arts warrior like Bruce Lee (in any Bruce Lee movie).

This issue is often dismissed as affecting only the small number of Asian American actors trying to make a living in Hollywood, for whom the highest levels of the profession may remain unattainable. However, a lack of diversity in fiction has been linked to children’s lowered self-esteem and increased racial biases. Our consumption of the characters and dramas of our own creation feeds the way in which we view ourselves. A lack of realistic portrayals of Asian American men onscreen can therefore affect the way young boys see themselves, and how we as a society see them.

The history of film is punctuated with exceptions to the rule about once every fifty years. American cinema began on a high note with the career of Sessue Hayakawa, described in a biography by Daisuke Miyao as the first male sex symbol of the industry, years ahead of Rudolph Valentino. Hayakawa’s most famous early work was Cecil DeMille’s 1915 silent film 「The Cheat」, a disturbingly violent rape fantasy, in which Hayakawa portrays villain Haka Arakau, an ivory dealer with sinister designs towards white female acquaintance Edith Hardy (Fannie Ward), to whom he offers a loan of $10,000 with her sexuality as interest. During a violent confrontation, there is an implied onscreen (forced) kiss scene, during which the audience is privy only to the back of Arakau’s head, and Arakau physically brands Hardy as his property with a hot seal. Despite often being typecast in what today strikes us as obviously problematic roles, Hayakawa was nevertheless quite popular with female audiences of the time.

One of the first films to attempt a heroic portrayal of an Asian American male was Samuel Fuller’s 「The Crimson Kimono」 (1959), a B-movie starring the late great James Shigeta as Joe Kojaku, who like his Caucasian roommate and partner in the police force Charlie Bancroft (Glenn Corbett) is American-born and speaks with normal American speech patterns. The two detectives have the same career, similar interests, and love the same woman (Victoria Shaw), who is the key witness in the murder case they are investigating. Unlike the dark villain roles to which Hayakawa was mostly restricted, Kojaku’s story is that of an upstanding member of the Japanese American community who ends his story with a classic Hollywood kiss. The film remains problematic in its catharsis, which dismisses racism as a fantasy of a lovelorn mind. But the film still looks progressive compared to current representations of Asian American males.

Since 1959, Hollywood’s portrayal of Asian male sexuality has stagnated. Andrzej Bartkowiak’s 「Romeo Must Die」 (2000) infamously cut a kiss scene between Jet Li and Aaliyah’s characters when the scene didn’t test well with audiences. Even Disney’s groundbreaking animated film 「Mulan」 (1998) failed to put more then a dent in the cemented American concept of the asexual Asian male. Leaving aside Eddie Murphy (as travel-size dragon Mushu), the cast is comprised of prominent Asian American actors, including James Shigeta (as the General) and Ming-na Wen (as Mulan). Captain Li Shang (BD Wong), Mulan’s commanding officer and presumed love interest, is a developed, dynamic character. His sexuality is not ignored, but even gently highlighted in an endearing scene in which Shang disrobes and Mulan’s interest is clearly peaked. It is heartbreaking to find fault in a film that is appropriately cast, sensitively animated, and manages to highlight both Asian male and even female sexuality. But it is not difficult to identify that fault. The confident, masculine, and merciful Shang is suddenly inept and nearly mute when confronted with the sexuality of the woman he has in fact been in close contact with the entire film. He awaits the suggestion of his emperor to pursue her. The most suggestive line (“Would you like to stay forever?”) is given to Mulan’s grandmother (June Foray). Asian male sexuality is implied, never explicit. To this day, Mulan is the only Disney “princess movie” without a kiss.

These are, of course, all decades-old examples, and yet little enough has changed that Aaron Sorkin felt compelled, in an email leaked in the recent Sony hack, to point to a lack of Asian movie stars as a fatal weakness for a potential film adaptation of Michael Lewis’ 「Flash Boys」. There are of course exceptions to Sorkin’s assertion, but most of these, such as Keanu Reeves and The Rock, are actors of safely ambiguous ethnicity. This is not to suggest that these men are any less Asian American actors, but if the goal is to end Hollywood’s tendency to fuel stereotypes attached to specific aesthetic (read: racial) qualities, then the unambiguous are those who matter. And there are very few – John Cho (J.J. Abram’s 「Star Trek」, Danny Leiner’s 「Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle」) is one of the few modern examples, occasionally supported by other actors like Sung Kang (Justin Lin’s 「Fast Five」), and the unfortunately lesser-known Daniel Henney (Disney’s 「Big Hero 6」). Modern Hollywood films featuring an Asian male, let alone an Asian male with an actual sexuality, are difficult to find and generally show up in the forgotten corners of Hollywood: in the low-brow, low-impact films like 「Fast Five」 and 「Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle」. Like 「The Crimson Kimono」, these are the artistic B-movies of today.

Thus is born the movement to see more depictions of Asian men, including their sexuality, onscreen. As the white female half of an AMWF relationship and a fiction diversity advocate, I am an unapologetic member. However, there is currently a troubling emphasis on the need for the Asian male to simply “get the girl” onscreen.

This approach is visible in Hollywood even when a “progressive” role is actually attempted today. The best example is Justin Lin’s 「Fast Five」, a film which succeeds in depicting an Asian male character kissing a woman on screen, but which fails to present the kiss as anything other than misogynistic sexual conquest. The film operates on a superficially-feminist level: these women can handle a gun and drive a racecar. They’re badass, ergo, the film is feminist, and men are thus free to objectify. But these characteristics simply add to the qualifications necessary for a woman to be considered desirable. Having demonstrated themselves appropriately collectible, all three women, in a series of flash-forwards, are shown at the end of the film as safely arrived under the protection of domestic patriarchy: one is literally pregnant and barefoot at home with her husband; a second is fetishized in a upwards tilt as she kisses a man while sitting on his lap as he speeds down the autobahn; and the third, who as a cop who has fought against the team of protagonist bandits the entire movie, also reappears on the arm of the bandits’ leader.

We have reduced the issue to that of the onscreen kiss, when in reality the problem is much greater than that. We do not need to see an Asian male character kiss a woman onscreen; we need to see an Asian male character as a genuine object of desire. I should note here that being the object of desire should not be confused with objectification. Objectification reduces a person to an object desired only for consideration, collection, and consumption. As the object of desire, however, the fullness of the humanity of the person need not be compromised, as others recognize the attractive qualities of the whole person and desire to be in relationship with him/her. A film like 「Fast Five」 in which an Asian male is sexually successful is not progressive unless the relationship itself can be portrayed believably.

The problem with the representation of the Asian male in Hollywood is not that he fails to “get the girl”, but rather that he fails as a viable object of desire by another believably whole character. This is what was so revolutionary about John Cho’s role in the recently cancelled ABC sitcom 「Selfie」 (as usual, television proceeds when Hollywood hesitates). Cho never kisses his partner onscreen. But he succeeds in presenting an attractive, funny, thoughtful, and appealing male persona, desirable not only to the primary female lead, but to all viewers of the show as well.

Without a holistic representation of the humanity of the Asian male onscreen, we make no progress even when an Asian lead character is romantically opposite another. At worse, we revert to the Hayakawa’s portrayal in 「The Cheat」 – the Asian male who is reduced to the most bestial form of his sexuality. At best, we see Asian male sexuality viewed through the usual dirty lens of Hollywood’s trite misogynism, as in 「Fast Five」. Such a simplistic take on the issue degrades the humanity of both women and Asian men.

The Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) published a practical list of ways to confront the stereotypical portrayal of Asian Americans in media. These suggestions recognize that we need to reach a point when the Asian character can be comfortably and accurately represented in all forms of fiction – not just in the low-brow B-movie, but in the high-brow, the drama, the sitcom. Sorkin is right: there is an unfortunate dearth of Asian movie stars. But movie stars are made, not born, and it is within the fortunate purview of Sorkin, Lin, and their peers to create them.

Em Liu is a fiction enthusiast particularly interested in depictions of women and minorities onscreen. She blogs over at FictionDiversity.com, and you can follow her on Twitter at @OLiu1230.



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David Yi 「How Asian Actors Are Finally Breaking The Sidekick Stereotype」

Posted on January 15, 2015 commentaires
In 2014, Hollywood has made landmark strides in bringing more diversity to their programming. And, we’re not just talking about women showrunners dominating at the Golden Globes, or the first transgender woman getting an Emmy nomination. A slew of Asian American actors are finally breaking into important roles in both film and television. Conrad Ricamora starred in the first gay sex scene featuring an Asian-American actor on ABC’s boundary-pushing 「How To Get Away With Murder」. Disney had a No. 1 box-office hit with Daniel Henney in the lead role of 「Big Hero 6」. And, John Cho got the chance to play a romantic lead on a major network sitcom on ABC’s 「Selfie」. Sure, the series was canceled, but Hulu picked up the remaining episodes after outcry from thousands of fans. It’s no secret that Hollywood has long struggled with a diversity problem, even going so far as whitewashing roles – i.e. casting white actors in roles intended for Asians, including in films like 「Cloud Atlas」, 「Dragon Ball Z」, and 「Avatar: The Last Airbender」.

When there are roles for Asian-American guys, they’re usually given parts that are stereotyped, emasculated, or both. Randall Park, star of 「The Interview」 and the upcoming ABC comedy 「Fresh Off the Boat」, says he can relate. “Similar roles kept coming my way,” he says of his start in the industry. “The lab technician, the doctor with one scene in the episode, crime shows set in Chinatown.” While there has been some progress for women and black actors, Asian-Americans actors have struggled to find heftier parts and are rarely considered for starring roles or the romantic lead, let alone anything remotely sexy. In a recent study conducted by the University of Southern California, out of the 3,932 speaking characters evaluated from 600 popular films made between 2007 and 2013, only 4.4% were Asian. The same study found that Asian men were least likely to be depicted in a romantic relationship.

“It’s been a gradual change that I’ve seen in the last few years,” says Albert Kim, a writer for the Fox’s 「Sleepy Hollow」. “In television, there’s a big commitment to diversity. Especially in recent years, you’ve seen a lot of hit shows with people of color as leads.”

Chris Morgan, a Hollywood film producer and writer who’s worked on the 「Fast & Furious」 franchise and 「47 Ronin」, says he believes it’s just a matter of time before Asian-American men score major roles.

“We just need to get a major film with a rich, sexy [Asian-American male] character – that’s going to be a moment that breaks doors open,” he says. “We already have so many actors like Daniel Dae Kim (「Hawaii Five-O」), Steven Yeun (「The Walking Dead」), and Sung Kang (「Fast and Furious」) who are [doing that].”

Kim agrees, and says that he’s impressed by the caliber of Asian-American actors in today’s market. He recalls how John Cho nabbed the role of Andy Brooks on 「Sleepy Hollow」, a role that originally came without a specific ethnicity attached to it. It’s the same way Cho landed the role of Henry Higgs on 「Selfie」, originally written for an older British guy. And, the same way that Ricamora won a recurring role on ABC’s 「How to Get Away with Murder」. “The guy who auditioned before me was white, the guy who auditioned after me was black,” Ricamora says. “I did one scene with the casting intern and the tape circulated through to the director, to Shonda Rhimes, then the ABC team.”

Conrad Ricamora

Ricamora’s steamy onscreen sex scenes with one of the leads, played by Jack Falahee, got everybody buzzing. The actor has appeared in four episodes as a recurring guest, and he will play more of a major role when the series returns January 29. Rhimes, who’s kept relatively silent when talking about race, sexuality, and gender casting in her shows, lashed out earlier this year after an infamous『New York Times』article called her an “angry black woman.”

She later echoed her sentiments to『The Hollywood Reporter』in October. “I find race and gender to be terribly important; they’re terribly important to who I am,” she said. “But, there’s something about the need for everybody else to spend time talking about it... that pisses me off.”

Ricamora said that working with Rhimes was a refreshing change from his experiences in audition circles where he’d be pigeonholed into playing specific, one-note roles.

“Instead of [the show] being about an Asian guy who has sex with his white boyfriend, or it being labeled a ‘gay’ situation, it was just about a couple in love,” Ricamora says. “That in itself is progressive.”

Growing up, Ricamora – who’s half German/Irish, half Filipino – admitted that he also had a skewed outlook on masculinity and sexiness. “The standard of attractiveness had to do with being white,” he says. “You could be the hottest Asian or black guy, but if you’re not the white guy, you’re almost less than or a second-class citizen. But, now people’s perceptions of what is sexy is broadening. And, mine is too. I didn’t have a lot of Asian-Americans to look up to, like, ‘Oh, wow, he’s hot,’ or ‘She’s hot.’”

Daniel Henney

Daniel Henney, one of South Korea’s biggest stars, can relate. Also half Asian (Irish and Korean), the 35-year-old was raised in Michigan in a predominantly white community.

“I grew up in a farm town and was the only Asian,” he recalls. “So you looked at television for inspiration. Even then, there was nothing aside from martial artists and sidekicks with accents.” Henney was on a modeling assignment in South Korea in 2005 when he was introduced to the producers of 「My Lovely Sam Soon」. They cast him in the series, and he quickly became the country’s biggest sex symbol. It was in Korea, Henney says, where he developed his acting chops.

“In Sam Soon, I was a terrible actor,” he admits. “But, then I really fell in love with acting and learned the very craft. It was nice that I was able to make my mistakes while I was younger and in another country.”

Henney began to receive international attention following his second film, 「My Father」. That role helped land him his first major American film, 「X-Men Origins: Wolverine」, where he played Agent Zero. “The role was originally written for a German,” he says. “It’s very common when I go into rooms that the character isn’t written for an Asian-American, but they think they may like you so they bring you in.”

Henney says that because of certain prejudices, it’s a challenge landing those leading roles. “It’s been that much more rewarding when you get the part,” he says. “The Asian man has been desexualized, and [that’s] something I always fought against. If you spend time in Asia, there’s a lot of amazing male actors who are very sexy and talented.”

Harry Shum Jr.

Harry Shum Jr. is best known for playing Mike Chang on Fox’s 「Glee」. Originally a minor role, it was expanded because of his charismatic take on the part. “If you are given that stereotypical role, make something out of it,” Shum says. “Chang was molded into a character that wasn’t there yet, but I made it specific. It could have easily gone [the stereotypical] direction.”

The actor gained a huge Twitter following, and he has since wrapped up a major role in the Netflix feature 「Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Legend」. Shum – who was discovered for the show while professionally dancing for the likes of Beyoncé, J.Lo, and Mariah Carey – says his unique upbringing is one reason for being able to expand outside of playing a typical Asian-American.

“I don’t even know what that would mean,” he says. “I was born in Costa Rica, so I never even considered myself Chinese. I had an identity crisis when I first moved here.”

It was while growing up in San Francisco that he was able to find who he was.

“I always went outside my race and hung out with people who were different from me,” he recalls. Which is one reason Shum doesn’t focus too much on his ethnic background.

John Cho is extremely admirable in that sense,” he says. “On [「Selfie」], he’s allowed to be in this world and be this dude who happens to be helping this horrible person. No one’s looking or pointing out his race. I’m like, okay, there’s this Asian-American lead that we need.” Shum says that for Asian-American males to continue in Hollywood, actors in this demographic need to “step it up.”

“I think the American audience is ready for good content no matter the face,” he says. “If it’s put out there and good and there’s power behind it, there’s no reason that an Asian-American won’t be a leading male. As long as the person behind that lead is strong enough to carry the role and puts charisma into it, it will all fall into place. It’s just a matter of time.”

Times may be changing, but there’s still a ton of room to grow. Until these guys can be in the same league as the Zac Efrons, Channing Tatums, and Matthew McConaugheys of this world, it’s still an unfair playing field.

But, that has hardly deterred these actors. For Shum, it has only inspired him to work harder.

“When I first moved here and started getting into the business, an agent told me this: ‘I hate to say it to you, but in this industry, it’s 50% talent and 50% business,’” Shum says. “I was like, okay, I’m going to take that and I’m going to be 100% talent, but keep that 50% in mind. I always remember that even if they don’t want you, or even if you don’t fit that role, as long as you’re making sure you’re doing your part, everything will be good.”




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Ho Vinh Khoa 「Dance With Me」

Posted on January 12, 2015 commentaires

Ho Vinh Khoa 「Dance With Me」 - released on January, 2015.

Seul intérêt de ce clip :


Ho Vinh Khoa
Official Website: http://www.hovinhkhoa.vn/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hovinhkhoa
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HELLOVENUS 헬로비너스 「WiggleWiggle」

Posted on January 05, 2015 commentaires

HELLOVENUS 「WiggleWiggle」【위글위글】- released on January 05, 2014.

Après 「Sticky Sticky」, les HELLOVENUS poursuivent leur collaboration avec Brave Brothers et montent encore d'un cran dans le concept sexy avec un clip interdit aux moins de 19 ans. Le résultat est tout ce qu'il y a de plus classe, un clip d'une grande beauté, pas cheap du tout, et on ne peut que féliciter les filles d'être parvenues à leur objectif fitness !


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POP ETC 「Running In Circles」

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POP ETC 「Running In Circles」 directed by Sami Jano & Steve Meierding - released on January 05, 2015.

Chris Chu, Jon Chu & Julian Harmon

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Hayley Kiyoko 「Cliffs Edge」

Posted on January 01, 2015 commentaires

Hayley Kiyoko 「Cliffs Edge」 - from『This Side Of Paradise』released on January 01, 2015.

Au programme de ce clip filtré à l'Instagram : lesbiennes et danse (pseudo) contemporaine.



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Jack Smith 「Interview: Eric East」

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Jack Smith talks to Eric East, the first gay porn star from China

After making waves in California, he’s come back home to see if the PRC is ready for him. The response, he tells us, has been overwhelming. Just don’t tell his parents…

Did you have any idea how big your fan base was in China?

My friends knew about it, but during my first show in Guangzhou I was shocked by how many people recognised me.

When you appeared onstage in Beijing people were so excited they were trying to grab hold of you. How does that feel?

It’s a two-sided thing – somewhat awkward, somewhat exhilarating. People want to touch you – they love you, right? But in terms of performance, it’s hard for me to deliver in that situation. It’s scary.

Do you think the fact that you’re Chinese-born has something to do with that response?

I guess so. I’m the first Chinese gay porn star. It’s always good to be the first. I feel like a trailblazer.

And is it true you’re still at college?

Yes, I’m currently at UCLA. I’m trying not to let my career interfere with my studies. If you were to see me on campus, sitting at the back of the classroom in my glasses, you’d think I really look like a student [laughs]. I try to keep my personal life and my professional life clearly separate. If someone wants topoke into my private life I won’t allow that.

Does that happen often?

Yes. Fans are curious about you, but for me, it’s my own affair. It’s up to me whether to open up or not.

So what turned Eric the college student into Eric East, porn star?

I was born with an interest in showing people what I love to do. Back in China, when I was in college, I competed in singing and dancing competitions. I went to the US at the age of 20 and was looking around for photographers. One of them had worked with [US porn star] Peter Le before, and he approached me about working in porn. I had to consider it because it’s a serious decision. But even as a teenager I’d been dreaming of being a porn star, so I thought this could be my big break.

What was it like to go from modelling to hardcore porn in one go?

Completely new. What ends up on the screen is maybe only a tenth of what you’ve done on set. You have to do so many takes and warm up. Before, I thought it was just one take and you’re done, but no! I was also really nervous at the beginning. When the camera was pointing at me I felt uncomfortable. I’d never even acted before!

What do you love most about being a porn performer?

It’s sexy. I’m doing what everybody loves to do. I like to show off my body. When I walk on to a set, my first thought is usually, ‘Do I like this guy? Will I get hard? Will I get turned on?’ But it’s work. You’re not hooking up, so you have to force yourself to get into the right frame of mind.

Do you use any tricks of the trade to get yourself going?

This is not narcissistic, but I imagine myself having sex. Imagining watching myself having sex is kind of hot. But you’re always thinking, ‘Will I remember my lines?’ There’s plot and a story – you’ve got to remember that, plus the positions, the camera angles. And you have to remember how long you need to go for. We talk about things briefly beforehand, but changes always happen and we make changes as we shoot.

Do your parents know what you do?

No. Other family members? Nobody has said anything so far!

What if you become the next big porn sensation?

I would still try to keep work and life separate. I’d like to represent Asian men. Lots of people think Asian men are skinny, weak – but actually lots of young Asian men are trying to be stronger, more international. That’s what I want to be.

Do you find a difference in the way non-Asian people respond to Asian porn stars?

There still aren’t many Asians in my line of work; most people are white or Latino. It’s still hard for Asians to get into the mainstream – any mainstream – in Western countries. But China is getting bigger, the world is changing and the Western market is changing along with it.

Do you think you can ever be a porn star in China during your lifetime?

I can see that happening. We just have to make sure it’s legal.

Eric East is a regular performer on the site peterfever.com. As you might expect, the site is utterly NSFW.

See also: 「Peter Lee and Eric East get wet and wild」 (Time Out Beijing)

Author: Jack Smith/Date: January 01, 2015/Source: http://www.timeout.com.hk/gay-lesbian/features/70583/interview-eric-east.html

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