Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Celebrity short takes: Constance Wu, Justin Lin, Daniel Wu, Matt Damon, Vanessa Hudgens and more

The anime characters in FullmetalAlchemist and their human actors.
Director's decision counters Hollywood's 'whitewashing' practice

When the live-action adaptation of the wildly-popular manga-turned-anime Fullmetal Alchemist hits theaters next year, its entire cast of lead characters will be Japanese.
“I want to depict something that follows the original work as much as possible,” the movie’s director Fumihiko Sori told Natalie. “The cast is entirely Japanese, but the setting is Europe. However, their race and nationality isn’t expressed in a specific form.” This news is particularly refreshing in the wake of the upcoming Dr. Strange and Ghost in the Shell movies’ whitewashing of the Asian characters in their source material, tapping Tilda Swinton and Scarlett Johansson, respectively, to play them. Read the full story here.

Asian/American actors speaking out against 'whitewashing'

"AN ASIAN PERSON who is competing against white people, for an audience of white people, has to train for that opportunity like it's the Olympics," actress Constance Wu told writer Amanda Hess in the New York Times piece, titled 'Asian-American Actors Are Fighting For Visibility. They Will Not Be Ignored'. "An incredibly talented Asian actor might be considered for a leading role maybe once or twice in a lifetime. That's a highly pressured situation." Among the actors who were interviewed were heavy-hitters George Takei, Aziz Ansari and Daniel Dae Kim. Read the full article here.

AMC has renewed martial arts drama “Into the Badlands” for Season 2

The dystopian drama will return for a 10-episode second season that is slated to premiere on AMC in 2017. The show delivered the third highest-rated first season in U.S. cable TV history, averaging 5.6 million viewers per episode. “With its deep dive into authentic martial arts, the visually stunning ‘Into the Badlands’ proved to be unlike anything else on television,” said Charlie Collier, president of AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios. “Co-creators and showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar, along with a talented team of producers, cast and crew, brought us an artfully crafted series. We’re eager to return to the world of barons and blades and spend even more time with these compelling and evolving characters across an expanded second season.” It stars California-raised Daniel Wu as its leading man.

Vin Diesel wants Justin Lin to direct the final 'Fast & Furious'

Vin Diesel wants Justin Lin to direct the final Fast & Furious Universal Pictures and director F. Gary Gray are currently shooting Fast 8 for an April 14, 2017 release, which is planned to launch a new trilogy of films. Fast 8 will be followed by a ninth film to be released April 19, 2019 and a tenth film planned to hit theaters April 2, 2021. Forward-thinking star Vin Diesel is already coming up with a master plan for Fast 10, which a new article from Wired indicates could include the return of Read the full story

'Space Jam 2' has found its director

It's finally on now. While Space Jam 2 has lingered in the minds of basketball and sneaker enthusiasts behind a regular season filled with Curry and Kobe headlines, LeBron James' summer is now closer to set. As The Hollwood Reporter breaks, the busy Justin Lin will direct the sequel to the cartoon classic. It's nice to be in demand. Read the full story

Chinese/American actress nominated for 2016 Tony Award

Phillipa Soo was nominated as Best Actress in a musical for her role as Eliza Hamilton in the Broadway hit Hamilton.  All together, Hamilton, the diversity-setting, rap-inspired musical set a new record with 16 nominations. Read the full story

Cary Fukunaga may adapt Stanley Kubrick’s 'Napoleon' as HBO miniseries

According to a new report from ScreenRant, HBO is eying a revival of Stanley Kubrick’s famously never-produced version of "Napoleon" with Cary Fukunaga directing the historical epic. If done right, this could be spectacular. Anyone who has seen the first season of True Detective (or Sin Nombre or Beasts of No Nation) knows that Fukunaga is a special talent, one that could be trusted to bring a version of Kubrick’s singular vision to the screen. The project would also have the benefit of more modern technologies than Kubrick ever dreamed of, as well as the backing of HBO, which has shown a willingness to spend big money on huge projects. An hours-long program, with frequent battle scenes, filmed in multiple countries for a massive amount of money? That sounds an awful lot like Game of ThronesRead the full story

Vanessa Hudgens agrees to pay $1,000 fine for carving on red rock wall

Actress Vanessa Hudgens has paid $1,000 in restitution for carving a heart into a red rock wall during a trip to Sedona, Arizona. The payment resolves a citation issued to the Filipino/American on a misdemeanor count of damaging a natural feature on U.S. Forest Service land. Read the full story

'The Great Wall' aims to bridge Hollywood-China divide

Matt Damon sported a new ponytail as he told fans in Beijing about his part in the fantasy epic The Great Wall, a $150 million U.S.-China co-production which could be a game-changer for the world's second biggest film market, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The legendary fantasy film, which is described as the largest film ever shot entirely in China for global distribution, centers on an elite force making a last stand for humanity on the iconic Great Wall in China. The English-language movie is directed by Zhang Yimou and is due to finish filming in August. The global release date is Nov. 23, 2016
. Read the full story

First Filipina to win 'Best Actress' at Cannes Film Festival
Jaclyn Jose has become the first Filipino to win the best actress award at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Jose won for her performance as a mother who falls prey to corrupt police after being forced to sell drugs to survive in Ma’ Rosa. The movie was directed by Brillante Mendoza, who in 2009 became the first Filipino to win best director at the festival for Kinatay.

The Filharmonics

NBC winds up its 'Life Stories' of Asian/Americans

The Filipino/American a capella singing group, the Filharmonics, was one of the groups and individuals profiled by NBC as part of its 'Life Stories' series in honor of Asian/American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Other episodes of 'Life Stories', can be found here.