Hollywood and Asian actors: overcoming prejudice

Originally published at: Hollywood and Asian actors: overcoming prejudice | Boing Boing


I’m loving a lot of the South Korean shows on Netflix at the moment.

I polished off Taxi Driver recently, which was fun, if a little naive, but I am now thoroughly enjoying Alchemy of Souls, which is played almost perfectly by its cast, with plenty of humour offsetting the political machinations.

Similarly, I loved Kingdom, which was unexpectedly Machiavellian for a zombie show.

And I’m intrigued to see where Hellbound goes next.

Where a lot of western TV these days can feel somewhat formulaic thanks to over-familiarity with the tropes, it’s intriguing and exciting to be exploring a whole other TV culture.

Oh, and in the case of Kingdom and Alchemy of Souls, the period clothing and set-dressing is sumptuous and superb. I think I now understand why English period movies and TV shows are so popular abroad.


It’s not just that we’re over-familiar with Western tropes, it’s that Hollywood has gone beyond just using tropes to making everything a franchise or remake. Hollywood has gone for the Starbucks business model: get highly efficient at creating very predictable remixes of some industrially-produced cheap ingredients, and keep doing that!

Meanwhile other countries, and I’m especially thinking of Korea, are coming up with really amazing, thoughtful new stories and characters.

BTW, one of the Asian blockbuster roles that stands out to me is Ken Watanabe as Saito in Inception. His character was great and it really made the movie.

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