"The difference between me and American-born
actors is that I came here with the expectation of not being treated fairly."
Q: The Sharon Stone role in Basic Instinct--is that one
you would have wanted to play? A: I could have done it, if it's just how much [skin] you show.
I think it's a very very disturbing movie. It's a movie that I see no
redeeming value in. It's really so powerful and was very well made and was
very disturbing. That's what I didn't like about it.
Q: You wouldn't have wanted the part?
A: Maybe not. I admire her courage because she did a
fantastic job. It's not easy for someone to be so naked, you know. She really
let herself do it. She left herself very vulnerable doing it.
Q: Is that something you could do in the right movie? A: Yeah, I could. I don't mind.
Q: What parts have you seen the last few years and said,
That's a role I could have done just as well or better? A: There are quite a few. I could have played Demi Moore's
roles in a few projects, you know, like the same age group. I saw certain
movies and said, Oh, they would have never imagined even to interview me,
but I could have done this. Obviously, my being Asian is still a problem.
Q: Do you try for those roles? A: Maybe I will, maybe I will. Compare these two years to
five years ago, we've done a lot with Asian faces on the screen. We have at
least a 50% growth.
Q: The parts are better, more Americanized. A: A lot better. Things are really getting a lot better. It
depends on whether we keep pushing. I understand that it's a business, it's
an industry that doesn't easily let go of its money-making formulas.
Q: Do you feel that if you were in a big-budget movie
playing the lead, that would hurt box office? A: No, I don't. They want mid-America. What they say
mid-America is, I don't know, because I don't live in mid-America. They feel
certain faces they probably don't identify very well with because you're not
the Jane next door. I try to push it, but how far I can go, I don't know.
Q: I've gathered that you feel anger and frustration about
Asian stereotypes. A: I'm angry about stereotypes about Asians, but I'm not
bitter about not getting enough roles. I do see myself as being very
fortunate, and see the change in the industry. Compare it with Year of the
Dragon. The awareness has grown tremendously. I really give people
credit. It's so hard. I mean, there is a dominant culture here. If you have
these things go to China, China will never accept you. [America has] one big
dominant culture that tries to absorb other things and tries to be
open-minded. The difference between me and American-born actors is that I
came here with the expectation of not being treated fairly. And therefore,
I'm very grateful. I'm angry at the same time that they make us look silly on
the screen, but I'm actually grateful that it is happening.
Q: Have you played any roles not to your liking? A: Many many roles were laughable.
Q: Which ones? A: Even with the best of intentions, Mei-Mei [in Tai Pan]
was very very very stereotypical. Not that the film-makers wanted to
degrade her. They were just ignorant. Like this time I play an Eskimo--I
shouldn't say that--it's how an Eskimo is seen through Hollywood a
Q: What's the title? A:On Deadly Ground
Q: That's the one you filmed in Alaska? A: Yeah. There are a lot of stereotypes to be broken which I
think a lot of us are doing. What I do is, as soon as people try to pin me
down to one kind of part, I'll play a very different kind of role, so it explodes
that stereotype. The minute they say she's that sexy temptress in The Last
Emperor or Twin Peaks, I play something else. You try to say that you are
just a person. I'm an actress. I'm a person. So they don't put that stereotype