Friday, December 28, 2012

"A Leading Man" Depicts The Asian Male Actors Struggle In Hollywood

Its no surprise that Asian American actors have struggled to receive acceptance from the mainstream audience in America, let alone obtain leading roles in Hollywood films. And if you compare the hardships that Asian American males have to endure to break into the entertainment industry compared to females, its arguably even harder. As reported by Meniscus Magazine, Steven J. Kung decided to do something about this particular systemic issue by writing and directing the film "A Leading Man", which explores the harsh realities and setbacks when confronted with Hollywood's "quiet racism".

Courtesy of Meniscus Magazine

I don't know much about Steven Kung, but I applaud his gallant efforts in producing a film that challenges the very system that he is a part of and also pays his bills. When asked how he came up with the idea for the script, Steve answered verbatim what many Asian Americans have been contesting all along.
”I originally came to Hollywood because I was sick of seeing Asian men in particular emasculated in front of the camera...No one was making the films that would portray Asian American men in a more well-rounded way. I'm 35 now and this still hasn't come so I'm like, you know, things aren't entirely socially equal, and let's make a film about that.”
Now the lead actor Jack Yang is a good looking guy. He sort of reminds me of the Batman animated version of Bruce Wayne with longer hair. Although that says absolutely nothing about his acting abilities, if he actually has the talent and is getting rejected left and right from Hollywood casting directors consistently then it's obvious that what he's experiencing parallels the "soft bigotry of low expectations" that plagued Jeremy Lin. In other words, he's a benchwarmer, a 3rd string, B-Movie actor. You can see from his portfolio on IMDB Yang's been in a quite a few Hollywood films and TV series, but rarely, if ever, as the leading male character.

During the interview Yang even drops the words "bamboo ceiling", a phrase Asian Americans are all too familiar with unfortunately. And if you're not, may I suggest you take a look here. You can tell the interviewer looks a bit uncomfortable as he asks Yang questions about forgone opportunities because of his ethnicity. Its awkward, but glad to see those kinds of questions were asked.

I hope this is really is a good flick with some actual substance and quality acting as opposed to movie that is whiny about the inequalities rampant in Hollywood.

Keep your eyes out for "A Leading Man".


  1. I'm a 100% straight dude, and even I'm a little turned on by Jack Yang. Geez.

    But most Hollywood execs won't see any difference between him and Ken Jeong, at least until more movies like "A Leading Man" get made.

  2. Good find! I'm posting it on my blog.

  3. Good find, wonder if its any more/ as progressive than 'Shanghai Kiss'. Problem with these kind of films they dont get much distribution and the ones that do make it never seem to get long term traction because of the whole 'asian films dont make money' thing. But this time may be different...fingers crossed. Lets support it.

  4. The problem with a lot of these movies is that they don't have enough financial backing and distribution to wider audiences because Hollywood and movie theatre companies like AMC have a tight and symbiotic relationship. Both probably see this movie as being too controversial and without enough mass appeal since Asian Americans account for around 5% of the US population. If there are more Asian theatre companies that come into the states to offer alternative films that catering to a wider audience then the film could get a lot more support and exposure.

  5. Chinese company Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd. (Wanda), a leading Chinese private
    conglomerate and China’s largest investor in cultural and entertainment
    activities, bought AMC in a transaction valued at approximately $2.6 billion

    I dont know if ill live long enough to see AM leading man regularity but based on above, maybe next gen, who knows

  6. Wow. Well I guess that solves the distribution problem doesn't it? Haha.

    It's more than just distribution. There is also a marketability factor that is difficult to neglect. At the end of the day, its still a business so they can't nothing but Asian actors in mainstream films. They should have more diversity in films however to reflect the sign of the times, not some crap like "Friends" where everyone in NYC is either exclusively white. NYC is one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. so it just doesn't make sense if the show is supposed to be based on real NYC lifestyle. But the reality is, the majority of America is still very unaware that there's such a thing as an Asian-American community. In fact, if you go to certain parts of the U.S. they'll probably never have met an Asian person in their entire life.

    One of my buddies for instance was in Alabama standing in line about to order some food and this guy comes up to him and asks in a thick southern accent, "Excuse me but are you Cha~nese?" to which my friend replies, "Yes."

    His follow up, "I've never met a Cha~nese person before."

  7. Thanks for this article. Cheers to a world of better perceptions of people :D

  8. Steven J. Kung,writer/directorJune 5, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Hey, thanks so much plugging the movie. I think we're all on the same page with regards to Asian actors in Hollywood. Glad to see others just as passionate about social equality!

    We need all the help we can get. If you haven't yet, please support the film by liking us on and Thanks! Steven

  9. You're doing a great thing, Steven! More power to you, Jack and everyone involved with the movie!

  10. A belated thanks for posting the links to our article and YouTube interview!

  11. Here's a great video about why it's important for Asian Americans to become actors, writers, and producers.


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