Weiko Lin's latest play The Best Man stars Leonard Wu, Lisa Faiman, Cathy Shim, and Lin himself as characters in a tangled web of jealousy and lies.
John Torres made a splash at this year's VC Film Festival with his experimental feature Todo Todo Teros.
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Japanese American go to bat on DVD, David Henry Hwang takes center stage, and lots of new and old Asian faces coming to TV this Fall. All this and more in the latest edition of News Bites.
Universal Exec says The Mummy is going to China
The first installment of The Mummy series was banned from China's movie theaters for being "too scary." The Mummy Returns was one of 14 foreign films China imported in 2001. The third installment of The Mummy, to be released next summer, will be produced largely in China.
So said Maren Christensen as she traced the evolving relationship between Universal Pictures and China's media regulators on Wednesday, May 16 at an Asia Society of Southern California seminar in Beverly Hills. As the Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Universal Studios, Christensen expressed frustration with the foreign film quotas that limit how many of her company's movies can enter the Chinese market. But she said that The Mummy franchise represents an evolving relationship -- this time around, the film will use a largely Chinese crew and extras. Brendan Fraser will return as Rick O'Connell, and Mario Bello will replace Rachel Weisz as Evelyn Carnahan O'Connell. Jet Li has been cast as the villain, a shape-shifting Chinese emperor, and Michelle Yeoh as the wizard who cursed him. --Angilee Shah
Not your Average Mafia
Though they have yet to confirm the show as a fall or mid-season addition, ABC has sealed the deal for Cashmere Mafia, an hour-long drama featuring executive women who continue their Ivy League-rooted friendship into the real world, juggling relationships, family, and ladder-climbing in the ubiquitous Big Apple. Cashmere Mafia is apparently the brainchild of Darren Star, who produced a little show about a quartet of fashionable (sometimes cashmere-wearing) New York pals called Sex and the City. Star insists that Cashmere is distinct from its cable counterpart because it is "about women and work" rather than just relationships. Three of the four friends are played by general unknowns, Miranda Otto, Frances O'Connor, Bonnie Somerville, who play Juliet, Zoe and Catilin respectively. Lucy Liu, who hangs up her Angels wings and returns to network television, will play Dylan -- a character originally envisioned with "blonde good looks." Much of the buzz surrounds the pilot, which features Somerville's character getting unexpectedly involved with another woman at work. If kept, Cashmere will be the only show (that has been picked up thus far) that will include a lesbian/bisexual female in a lead role. --Catherine Manabat
It's a Jungle Out There
As if there aren't enough power-hungry women charging into Manhattan wearing stilettos and ambition, NBC has announced they have picked up Lipstick Jungle, based on Candace Bushnell's novel of the same name. Featuring a familiar premise, the show follows Nico, Wendy and Victory, a trio of ambitious women who place on "New York's 50 Most Powerful Women" list. They find refuge in each other, as life on the top rung proves to be hard when you include the pursuit of men in the definition of "having it all." Not only is the high-powered girlfriend bond similar to its rival Cashmere Mafia, but Lipstick also features an Asian American woman (Lindsay Price) in one of the lead roles. Kim Raver and Brooke Shields star alongside Price. --Catherine Manabat
Sci-Fi Thriller Clocks in for the Fall
Pegged as a romantic sci-fi thriller, Journeyman has received the greenlight from NBC. Scottish actor, Kevin McKidd (Rome), will play the lead role of Dan Vasser -- a journalist who begins traveling through time with the ability to alter people's situations. Moon Bloodgood (Daybreak), one of People Magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People of 2006 and a Maxim staple, stars alongside McKidd as his ex-fiance, Livia Beale. Writer and executive producer Kevin Falls (Arli$$) has signed a two-year deal with 20th Century Fox TV to work on Journeyman. --Catherine Manabat
For a group of expert females, teamwork comes in handy solving crime in The Women's Murder Club, yet another estrogen-powered drama picked up by ABC. This time, the professionals include a medical examiner, a newspaper reporter, a young assistant district attorney and a prosecutor. The Club stars Angie Harmon, Paula Newsome, Laura Harris and Aubrey Dollar, and features newcomer Elizabeth Ho as a defense attorney-turned-prosecutor. While crime and drama are high on this show, don't expect this to be an all-girl rendition of Law & Order. These four women crack homicide cases in their own way, while dealing with "the mysteries of their own turbulent romantic lives." The show is based on James Patterson's best-selling mystery series, The Women's Murder Club. --Catherine Manabat
The Necessity of Being Asian
David Henry Hwang's new play Yellow Face hit theaters on Sunday, May 20 at the Mark Taper Forum. This semi-autobiographical new comedy is reminiscent of a series of incidents from Hwang's past involving issues of race, identity and authenticity. When Miss Saigon, the West End musical came to Broadway in 1991 with Pryce as the star, Hwang was among the leaders in protest against casting of a white actor in a role of color. In Yellow Face, David Henry Hwang facetiously names his main character, also a playwright, DHH. However, this DHH (Hoon Lee) gets himself in trouble, after he casts an ambiguously-raced actor in his play. Turns out Marcus isn't Asian, and he is committing the same folly that he had been protesting earlier. Finding no alliance with the producers or any drop of heritage luck, DHH tries to pass Marcus as "Russian Siberian Asian Jew." The play is directed by Leigh Silverman and also stars Julienne Hanzelka Kim, Kathryn Layng, Hoon Lee, Tzi Ma, Lucas Caleb Rooney, Peter Scanavino and Tony Torn. --Haining Ren
American Pastime out on DVD
More than 110,000 Japanese Americans were sent to prisons when the US went to war with Japan. American Pastime, winner of the Audience Award at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, sets out to capture the struggle to maintain dignity and the general atmosphere of loss and fear, while telling a story of baseball. Pastime is told through Lyle Nomura (Aaron Yoo), a sax player who's also a great pitcher. Sent to the camp in Topaz, Lyle is deprived of his baseball scholarship in college. He befriends Katie (Sarah Drew from Everwood), the daughter of camp officer Billy Burrell (Gary Cole), who is deeply troubled by his own son's death in combat. Directed by Desmond Nakano, whose LA-born father was interned at the Manzanar camp in California, the film had a short run in Los Angeles and Tokyo before its home video release on May 22nd. --Haining Ren
Date Posted: 5/25/2007