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The following is a list of the actors, filmmakers, and scholars who share their stories in the interviews presented in The Slanted Screen.

FEATURED SUBJECTS IN THE SLANTED SCREEN

MAKO – Mako is a veteran actor who has made over 80 feature films and starred in more than 100 television shows over his 45 year career in Hollywood.  His feature films include The Great Bank Robbery (1969), The Hawaiians (1970), The Island at the Top of the World (1974), The Killer Elite (1975), The Big Brawl (1980), Conan the Barbarian(1982), Conan the Destroyer (1984),Tucker: A Man and His Dreams (1988), The Wash (1988), Silent Assassins (1988), An Unremarkable Life (1989), Pacific Heights (1990), Rising Sun (1993), Robocop 3 (1993) Seven Years in Tibet (1997), Pearl Harbor (2001), Bulletproof Monk (2003) and Memoirs of a Geisha (2005).  Mako also co-founded the East West Players, America’s oldest Asian American theater company, which has staged hundreds of Asian-themed plays and musicals, and trained thousands of actors.

In 1966, Mako became the second Asian American male actor to be nominated for an Oscar for his role in The Sand Pebbles (1966).

JAMES SHIGETA – James Shigeta was one of the first Asian American male stars in Hollywood.  Beginning with his gritty portrayal of an LA police detective involved in an interracial romance in the Crimson Kimono (1959), Shigeta was the leading man in a series of films, including Walk Like a Dragon (1960), Cry for Happy (1961), Bridge to the Sun (1961), The Flower Drum Song (1961), and Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966) (with Elvis Presley).  Over his 45 year career, Shigeta has continued to act in feature films such as The Yakuza (1975), Die Hard (1988), Beat Takeshi’s film Brother (2000), and numerous television shows.

JASON SCOTT LEE – Jason Scott Lee has starred in over 20 feature films, including Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993), Rapa Nui (1994), The Jungle Book (1994), Soldier (1998), Lilo & Stitch (2002) and Dracula (2005).  Jason’s recent film, Only the Brave (2005), tells the story of the heroic 442nd combat team, comprised of Japanese American soldiers who freed American soldiers who were trapped behind enemy lines during WWII.

WILL YUN LEE – Will Yun Lee is one of Hollywood’s rising talents, having started his career as the lead actor in the television series Witchblade.  Will’s film credits include the James Bond film Die Another Day (2002) Torque (2003) and Elektra (2005).  He now stars in the FX series Thief.

TERENCE CHANG – Terence Chang is one of Hollywood’s most effective and experienced producers.  He has produced and executive produced over 30 films, including Paycheck (2003), Bulletproof Monk (2003), Windtalkers (2002), Mission Impossible II (2000), Anna and the King (1999), The Corruptor (1999),  The Big Hit (1998), The Replacement Killers (1998), Face-Off (1997), Broken Arrow (1996), Hard Target (1993), and John Woo’s classic action film, Hardboiled (1992).  Terence has managed the careers of actors Chow Yun-fat, Michelle Yeoh, and director John Woo.

HEIDI LEVITT – Heidi Levitt has cast nearly 50 Hollywood films, including JFK(1991), Heaven and Earth(1993), The Joy Luck Club(1993), Natural Born Killers(1994), Nixon(1995), The Rock(1996),The End of Violence(1997), Keane (2004) and Don’t Come Knocking (2005).

DUSTIN NGUYEN – Dustin Nguyen became one of Hollywood’s most well-known faces for his portrayal of Detective Harry Aoki in the acclaimed series 21 Jumpstreet.  Dustin’s films include Oliver Stone’s Heaven and Earth (1993), Greg Araki’s The Doom Generation (1995) and the acclaimed Australian film Little Fish (2005).  He recently played the role of Johnny Loh in the television series VIP from 2000-2002, starring with Pamela Anderson.

CARY-HIROYUKI TAGAWA – Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa has starred in 80 film and television shows, including Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991), American Me (1992), Rising Sun (1993), Natural Causes (1994), Picture Bride (1994), Mortal Kombat (1995), The Phantom (1996), Snow Falling on Cedars (1999), The Art of War (2000), Planet of the Apes (2001), Elektra (2005) and Memoirs of a Geisha (2005).   He also starred in the popular television series Nash Bridges and more recently, Hawaii.

TZI MA – Tzi Ma is a character actor who has created memorable roles in his television, stage and film performances.  His films include Akeelah and theBee (2006), The Ladykillers (2004), The Quiet American (2002), Rush Hour (1998) and Dante’s Peak (1997). Tzi has also starred in the popular television series 24, as well as Commander-in-Chief, JAG, the Practice, Law and Order, Boomtown, the Bernie Mac Show, ER and Nash Bridges.

FRANK CHIN – Frank Chin was the first Chinese-American playwright to produce plays about the Chinese American experience.  His plays The Chickencoop Chinaman (1972) and The Year of the Dragon (1975), were the first works to question Asian American identity politics, activism and revisionism.  Chin’s novels and short stories continue to be the staple for anyone who is serious about understanding the roots of the Asian American literary movement.

PHILLIP RHEE – Phillip Rhee is an actor, director and martial artist who holds ranks of 6th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a 3rd degree black belt in Hap Ki Do and a 1st degree black belt in Kendo. He has acted, directed and produced films, including some of the films in his Best of the Best four-film series.

BOBBY LEE – Comedian Bobby Lee is one of the longest running feature player on the popular series MAD TV.  His feature film appearances include Harold & Kumar Go to Whitecastle (2004) and Undoing (2005).  He recently appeared in the hit television show, Curb Your Enthusiasm (2005).

ERIC BYLER – Director Eric Byler’s film Charlotte Sometimes (2002) broke new ground by featuring an Asian American male character in a leading, romantic, and sensitive portrayal.  He has two films, Americanese (2006) and Tre (2006) in production. 

GENE CAJAYON – Gene Cajayon, along with directors like Justin Lin and Quentin Lee, represents the new generation of independent filmmakers who is challenging Hollywood’s portrayals of Asian men.  Gene’s film, The Debut (2001) was one of the first films to bring the Filipino American experience to big screen.  Turned down by Hollywood distributors, Gene went on to successfully promote and distribute his film throughout the country.

The film also features insightful commentary by Dr. Darrell Hamamoto, a professor of Asian American Studies at UC Davis, Lois Salisbury, the former director Children Now, and Tim Dang, artistic director of the East West Players in Los Angeles.

 

 

All content © 2006 by Jeff Adachi/AAMM Productions.  Permission is granted to legitimate press agencies to use this material in reviews, event calendars and the like with attribution.