Asian actors who dominate Hollywood
Simu Liu of Shang-Chi, Henry Golding of Snake Eyes, Chang Chen of Dune, and Mortal Kombat are all raising Asian presence.
1. Simu Liu: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
As the first Asian actor to play the primary superhero role in a Marvel film, the Chinese-Canadian actor created history. He plays Shang-Chi, a brilliant martial artist who was trained as an assassin by his father at a young age in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. According to Screen Rant, the film became the highest grossing box office movie in the United States for 2021, grossing US$400 million globally even without the vast Chinese market.
Liu was born in Harbin, China, in 1989 and moved to Canada when he was five years old. Before pursuing a career as an actor and stuntman, he studied business at the University of Western Ontario and worked as an accountant for Deloitte. According to BuzzFeed, he supported himself by doing part-time jobs as a stock image model, a stunt substitute, and even dressing up as Spider-Man for children’s birthday parties.
Henry Golding: Snake Eyes
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, the next film from Hasbro’s mega-successful toy, comic, and media brand, stars the Crazy Rich Asians star as Snake Eyes, a lone soldier with a secret past.
The 34-year-old British-Malaysian actress never expected to pursue acting after demonstrating an early talent for hairstyling. He dropped out of school aged 16 to pursue his passion and began working in a barbershop in London, according to Page Six. He relocated to Kuala Lumpur at the age of 21 to pursue a career in front of the camera, gaining some notoriety as a host of sports programmes and the BBC’s The Travel Show.
Snake Eyes is played by Henry Golding in Paramount Pictures’ Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins. Sky dance and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures.
Lewis Tan: Mortal Kombat
Lewis Tan is an actor, martial artist, stuntman, and choreographer, just like his father Philip.
In Mortal Kombat, a relaunch of the film franchise based on the iconic video game famed for its gruesome, action-packed bouts, Lewis Tan makes his studio lead debut. Tan plays Cole Young, an MMA fighter who gets knocked down multiple times before evolving into one of Earth’s finest champion warriors. According to Screen Rant, it is the most successful film launch for the HBO Max streaming platform, grossing more than US$83.6 million globally against a budget of US$55 million.
Daniel Wu: Reminiscence
In Warner Bros.’ action sci-fi thriller Reminiscence, the 47-year-old veteran actor co-stars with Hugh Jackman as Nick Bannister as alluring villain Saint Joe.
According to People Pill, Wu’s parents are both from Shanghai, China, and met in New York before moving in California, where he was born. After seeing Jet Li in The Shaolin Temple and Donnie Yen in Iron Monkey, the Tomb Raider actress became fascinated in martial arts and began studying wushu at the age of 11. Later, while studying architecture, he took film classes since he enjoyed watching movies. He had no inclination to become an actor even after travelling to Hong Kong in 1997 and becoming a model there.
Chang Chen: Dune
Chang Chen plays Dr Wellington Yueh, a doctor who serves the aristocratic family of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a young heir entrusted with the protection of the galaxy’s most valuable asset, in the sci-fi epic Dune, adapted from the 1965 sci-fi novel of the same name by American author Frank Herbert. Other A-list performers that have appeared opposite him include Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, and Jason Momoa.
Chen was born in Taiwan in 1976, and acting runs in his family: his father, Chang Kuo-chu, and brother, Chang Han, are also actors. At the age of 14, he co-starred in the four-hour film A Brighter Summer Day with his father and brother, which earned the special jury medal at the Tokyo International Film Festival.