February 26, 2013
What?!! An Asian American male star in a Hollywood movie that isn't a Kung Fu film?
Justin Chon ("Twilight"), steps into the spotlight as the lead character in the comedy 21 and Over, opening in theaters nationwide March 1.
Chon, 31, was born in Garden Grove in Orange County, California, and was raised in Irvine, California. He attended business school at the University of Southern California. At age 20, Chon began taking acting lessons, inspired by growing up watching his father in black and white films. His father is a former child actor from South Korea.
AsianConnections' Suzanne Joe Kai chatted with Justin about his new role, breaking stereotypes, and what's next in his fast-rising career. (For the full interview transcript click on the blue headline link above.)
Justin: Hey Suzanne, thank you.
Suzanne: You’re right from Orange County, California!
Justin: Yeah, Irvine. Yeah, born and raised. I was born in Garden Grove Hospital.
Suzanne: Can you describe your role in your new film 21 and Over coming out in theaters March 1, 2013?
Justin: Yeah. I play a character named Jeff Chang. It's his 21st birthday and my two friends come up to celebrate with me but I have a medical school interview the next day. They convinced me to have one beer and obviously that beer turns into absolute chaos. My character's just an average kid. He's actually not that smart, he's like failing out of school.
Suzanne: What made you jump on board this film?
Justin: Well, the guys who wrote it wrote The Hangover and they’re great writers. I just read the script and I loved it. I’m an Asian American actor and it’s a three-dimensional part so it’s great to see somebody who wrote such a great part for an Asian American so I just had to do...
February 24, 2013
Ang Lee won the Oscar for Best Director at the 85th Academy Awards for his film "Life of Pi," the adaptation of the bestselling novel by Yann Martel about a boy shipwrecked and stranded in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.
The film took Lee four and a half years to complete. He has said it was the hardest fim he has ever made. (Click the top headline for the full story and a peek at Ang holding his new Oscar in one hand, and with his other hand enjoying an In-N-Out burger. This great photo was posted on Twitter by Vanity Fair's publisher Edward Menicheschi!
This is Ang Lee's second Oscar win. His first Academy Award was in 2006 for directing "Brokeback Mountain."
Lee's 2000 Chinese-language film "Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger," won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Lee, 58, thanked his wife of 30 years, Jane Lin, a microbiologist, his two sons Haan and Mason, and the 3,000 people involved in the making of his film. He also thanked Taiwan, and Taichung City in central Taiwan where 80 per cent of the film was shot, and his Canadian and Indian partners.
Other Oscar contenders for the Best Director award were Steven Spielberg for "Lincoln," David O. Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook," Michael Haneke for "Amour" which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Fim and the prestigious Palm d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, and Benh Zeitlin with "Beasts of the Southern Wild."
And we couldn't help but admire Ang Lee for being so down to earth even on his big night at the Oscars. We know - those burgers are good! This image was posted on Twitter by Vanity Fair magazine's publisher Edward Menicheschi.
February 22, 2013
Happy Birthday James Hong!
Our favorite actor James Hong celebrated his birthday February 22!
All of us at AsianConnections.com wish you a very Happy Birthday!
Here are our favorite interviews we have done with Mr. Hong over the years.
Click on the blue headline title to the full story.
Part 1 of 3: AsianConnections' interview with James Hong:
On APAs in Hollywood - Urges Cooperation and Support of organizations like CAPEUSA.org.
Part 2 of 3: AsianConnections' interview with James Hong:
James Hong shares his famous lines from his role as Mr. Ping in Kung Fu Panda
Part 3 of 3: AsianConnections' interview with James Hong and daughter April Hong:
James Hong sighting! Mr. Hong attended a CAPE event with Film Independent in Los Angeles February 1, 2012. I had a chance to visit with him and personally wish him Happy Birthday, in advance of his real birthday today!
He was born February 22, 1929 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He studied civil engineering at the University of Southern California. As a road engineer for Los Angeles County for 7-1/2 years, he would act during his vacations and sick days, eventually quitting to go full time as an actor.
Mr. Hong has played in more than 500 television and film roles, including his award-winning role as "Mr. Ping" in Kung Fu Panda, and Kung Fu Panda 2.
- Suzanne Joe Kai, Publisher/Editor AsianConnections.com
The 13th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) is presenting an exclusive kick-off screening of Midnight’s Children followed by a special Q&A on April 10, 2013. In attendance will be the film’s acclaimed director Deepa Mehta, award-winning writer of the novel Salman Rushdie who also adapted the screenplay, producer David Hamilton, cast members Sarita Choudhury and Samrat Chakrabarti, plus other special guests. Paladin and 108 Media will be officially releasing Midnight’s Children in major U.S. cities starting in New York City on April 26.
(L-R) Author and Screenwriter Salman Rushdie and Director Deepa Mehta
Deepa Mehta returns to NYIFF after her Oscar-nominated film WATERopened the film festival in 2005. “We have had a very long and creatively fruitful relationship with NYIFF. FIRE, the very first film in the elemental Trilogy was shown there and almost every film I have made since,” says Mehta. “Aroon Shivdasani was in fact responsible for the creation ofMidnight’s Children. She brought Salman to the premiere screening ofWATER in New York and that began a close relationship with Salman, which culminated in the very first film adaptation of any of his novels. It is enormously pleasing for me to be once again collaborating with NYIFF and bringing to their extremely discerning audience Midnight’s Children, a film that I have been dreaming of doing since I first read the book over 30 years ago.”
The Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) is presenting the 13th Annual New York Indian Film Festival, the oldest and most prestigious film festival for Indian cinema in North America, from Tuesday, April 30 to Saturday, May 4, 2013 in New York City.
The New York Indian Film Festival will kick off its week-long festivities with a star-studded Opening Night red carpet premiere of Feroz Abbas Khan’s DEKH TAMASHA DEKH on April 30, 2013, which will take place at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts.
L-R, Nikhil Ratnaparkhi and Satish Kaushik in Dekh Tamasha Dekh.
Lyrically interwoven, DEKH TAMASHA DEKH is a social and political satire that cuts deep to the heart of many current issues, a true story based off true events. Written by renowned marathi playwright Shafaat Khan, who creates finely nuanced characters with depth and dimensions and sets them against a lush visual backdrop of a small village in India. The cast features Satish Kaushik, Tanvi Azmi, Vinay Jain, Sharad Ponkshe, Ganesh Yadav, Apoorva Arora...