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WHAT'S HOLDING BACK RUSSELL WONG?
(Updated Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 04:57:02 PM)

s the superfly triad enforcer in ROMEO MUST DIE Russell Wong set millions of female hearts palpitating and as many Asian Americans waiting with bated breath. Two years later Hollywood has yet to announce a significant followup role for the gorgeous Chinese American actor. And he turned 38 in March.
     This isn't the first time Wong's career seemed to derail for no apparent reason. Four years earlier countless female hearts had been set aflutter by his long-lashed portrayal of the dashing quester in the syndicated VANISHING SON series. Then, for no apparent reason, the series was canceled.
     It isn't as though Wong is a flash in the pan. Over the past fifteen years he has caught Asian American eyes in a dozen movies and TV dramas like JOY LUCK CLUB, EAT A BOWL OF TEA, TAI PAN, 21 JUMP STREET and CHINA WHITE. Most weren't starring roles but his looks and charisma made him a standout. Critics have questioned his range as an actor but few have accused him of being any worse at his craft than, say, Keanu Reeves who routinely commands seven figures in blockbusters.
     Naturally Asian Americans wonder if Wong's career has been hampered by his surname. Like Reeves, Wong is the product of a Chinese father and a white mother. The most obvious difference is that Reeves took his white stepfather's surname after early separation from his natural father. Another thing, Wong's younger brother Michael is a major Hong Kong action star.
     Is Wong's Asian ethnicity too in-your-face for Hollywood to accept him as a leading man? Or is it too threatening for white America? Or is something else holding him back?

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WHAT YOU SAY

[This page is closed to new input. --Ed.]
Peace All,
I'm a African-woman and yes, I love Russell. LORD, HE'S SO FINE!!! I just wanted to say to the Asian-American community that the roles your looking for Hollywood ain't going to give ya'. YOU HAVE TO MAKE THEM! Black people, Native Americans, Jews, and even the Japanese have made movies about their existence in and surviving America. I think the story of the Chinese railroad builders needs to be told not unlike the way the story Rosewood was presented for the Silver Screen. If Asian/Chinese/Phillopio/Korean/Japanese Americans want an acurate depiction of themselves than I'm sure you can do it.
The great Asian American love story hasn't been presented for the big screen yet, has it. Yeah, why not a three hour long Asian American Epic. Hopefully, when the Asian-American audience has decided to take full control of their on screen image, our man Russell will lead the pack. Of,course Ming Na, Lucy Lu, China Chow, Rick Yuene, etc. will be there as well. Oh, as for Russell's baby girl, you'd be surpised how many people there are and have been all though out history that are of Asian and African parentage. The ancient Hebrews have been discribed as "Afro-Asiatic"

Peace and Blessings
A Sistah Rootin' for Rus
   Sunday, April 20, 2003 at 16:35:13 (PDT)    [205.188.209.133]
We need more asian-american celebrities in america. When I turn on the TV, most of the time I see a majority of whites, second african-american, third hispanics, and then we have a small percentage of asians. America is a giant melting pot of multi-racial cultures. That's what makes our country unique. Nowadays, alot of people make race a big issue, and it's very tiring. What are we teaching our kids? That in america we count depending on what type of body our souls came in when we were born? It's very childish to behave in such a manner. Why do most people here in america have to look-down to minorities just because we are not white & have to feel threatened by minorities? I've met people that treated me different because of my ethnic background, and because I didn't look white. I admit I'm come from a multi-racial background including part-asian, filipino, chinese, hawaiian, and yes I'm part caucasian. People treated me like I didn't belong because I didn't look caucasian. What a waste of time. People should concentrate more on important world issues/problems other than 'racial issues'. We are all human-beings and we cannot change our ethnicity. We should all take the time on learning about each other's positive traits before we judge anyone's body shell in which we were born in. I think that we should put the issue of Russell Wong's race aside, and focus on his accomplishments as a successful actor in Hollywood. Stop feeling threatened by an Asian-American's accomplishments! Don't you think it's about time that we give minorities a chance? They deserve to be on the foreground in Hollywood. Remember, america is about opportunity & treating your neighbor equally (as long as they aren't a criminal)
Thank You.
Don't Minorities Count ??
   Monday, April 14, 2003 at 02:23:30 (PDT)    [198.81.26.8]
Well, I don't know what's in the minds of the Hollywood bigshots but Russell Wong is an awesome actor and he's absolutely gorgeous. Plus, he has this charisma and peaceful spirit to back it up. BTW, This is an Irish girl speaking. Can't get more fishbelly white than that. I like him 100% more than Keanu Reeves, too, and I really like Keanu. Hell, if you replaced Keanu with Russell in the Matrix movies, he'd do just as well if not better than KR. KR just lucked out. I'm sure Russell will hit it big, the right roll just hasn't come along for him but it will...
Kiri
kiri9@hotmail.com    Sunday, April 13, 2003 at 16:54:37 (PDT)    [68.160.131.210]
The person that made the comment about Jews and Hollywood is a fool....Hollywood was and is for profit as is all entertainment. If you put quality out for the public the fame will come. Having a good agent and script doesn't hurt.
natasha
   Monday, April 07, 2003 at 11:06:14 (PDT)    [205.188.208.7]
I think it's both. Hollywood isn't ready to give the asian community its much needed asian hollywood star/heart throb. It's sad that a great actor isn't given his dues because of white hollywood.
Steve
   Wednesday, March 12, 2003 at 17:15:54 (PST)    [209.180.183.1]
Hollywood was started by Jews for Jews. They are certainly not colorblind. So Asians should feel free to start their own media conglomerate as well just like them and Blacks, otherwise forever feed off crumbs from Hollywood. If u can't join em, beat em...
If u can't join em...
   Monday, January 27, 2003 at 09:44:34 (PST)    [148.104.5.7]
Kev-Man,

OMG! I cant believe you made that stupid point about AFs vs AMs in Hollywood. Is anybody else offended by this ignorant comment?

Have you noticed the roles AFs play? Usually, hoochie-mama for whites or blacks. AFs are completely being used by the white media to entertain the masses/whites. AFs happen to be the current flavor of the month. Many AFs know that, but they take these roles since work is not available in Hollywood. There happens to be a demand for Asian hoochie girls in Hollywood.

AMs on the other hand, hardly get any roles unless they are playing the kung-fu guys, chinese triad, japanese yakuza, nerds, liquor store owners, dry cleaners, and of course the latest North Korean psycho-spies.

Kev-Man, I assume you are not AA because this has been a problem for decades in Hollywood for AMs.
flabbergasted
   Sunday, January 12, 2003 at 13:49:59 (PST)    [63.202.108.232]
Kev-Man,

I agree with you that AF stars outnumber AM stars. But look at the roles they play ... except for Lucy Liu in Charlies Angels.

CBS launched a new series called "Presidio Med" last year, the series set around the doctors in a hospital in the bay area. None of the doctors is AA actors. I mean it's SF ...
3 out 5 doctors there are perhaps Asians. I heard, they keep begging but as usual, first it goes to one ear, but the next day it goes right out of the other.

So, there's still racism in Hollywood though it's changing gradually. I'm not losing hope. Though, I still don't know when we are going to see again in the academy awards, two minority actors won the major awards like last year, perhaps not for a while, a long while perhaps ... but should not lose hope ...
Phil
   Friday, January 10, 2003 at 16:45:17 (PST)    [4.35.211.82]
It seems that the Asian Actor flavor of the month is Rick Yune (villian in The Fast and the Furious and Die Another Day movies).

The main difference between Russell Wong and Keanu Reeves is that Keanu looks more caucasion.

BTW...the late Brandon Lee also looked more caucasion than Asian. He would have done well if he was still alive.

I'm not sure if mainstream America is ready for an Asian male leading actor in the likes of Russell Wong.

I think they'll accept actors like Jackie Chan and Jet Li only because these guys are consider physical action/comedy actors.

I think Chow Yun Fat would have been a good candidate but he's past his prime. Most of the American movies were bombs because he was typecast as a either an assassin or corrupt cop with the exception of The King and I.

Just me two cents...
cryingfreeman
cryingfreeman@altimas.net    Friday, January 10, 2003 at 06:21:03 (PST)    [199.119.33.162]
It is so damn odd that Hollywood, which is located in southern California, has 90% white actors and actresses. The majority of California's population is Hispanic, Black, or Asian. I thought most of the whites moved away to Colorado. I guess the few whites left live around Beverley Hills and Hollywood to maintain a fantasy world in the media where whites only exist.
Face reality
   Thursday, January 09, 2003 at 20:11:58 (PST)    [66.2.146.60]
Phil, I do not think it is a matter of Hollywood being racist resulting in the lack of AA castings. Look at the number of AF stars compared to the outnumbered AM stars.
Kev-man
   Thursday, January 09, 2003 at 18:10:14 (PST)    [207.6.209.163]
"The world is full of many different people, but movies and T.V. have failed to represent them even partially."

I agree. I'm born and raised in New York City. But look at shows like Friends and Seinfeld where the casts and extras are 98% white.
Go to New York and you'll see that it's really like 40% white, 25% black, 25% hispanic, and 10% asian.
white hollywood
   Wednesday, January 08, 2003 at 15:46:31 (PST)    [172.131.192.176]
Keanu's father is not just half Chinese. His father is half Chinese-half Hawaiian and most Hawaiians looks Asian already.
Moe
   Wednesday, January 08, 2003 at 15:39:48 (PST)    [172.131.192.176]

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