TOKiMONSTA Serves Up Beats, Literally


Watch this Alpha Girl display her skills that makes her deserving of the alpha title. Leave it to TOKiMONSTA, the local Los Angeles DJ, to bring composing to another level–or rather to another plate.

Mixing the tradition of a sushi-go-round and music technology, TOKiMONSTA was able to create an entire song that’ll have you head-bobbing (and maybe a little hungry).



“Sushi Sequencer” was a part of the Red Bull Music Academy, a traveling series of music workshops and festivals, which was hosted in Tokyo this year. The magic behind the sequencer is in a little camera that was wired to recognize the color of each plate. Now, if you’re not familiar with the sushi conveyor belt, typically at these restaurants you can pick and grab what you want when you see it. The color of each plate determines how much you’ll have to pay for each item (trust me, the prices stack up). This time around, instead of prices, each plate determines what beat will play.

The behind-the-scenes video elaborates more on the intricacy of the technology behind it all.


Asian and Asian American Films in Sundance 2015


In 2002, Better Luck Tomorrow made a splashy buzz at Sundance Film Festival, complete with a rousing defense from the late Roger Ebert. Since then, there has been a steady increase of Asian and Asian American representation in films.

This year, Sundance runs from Jan 22 – February 15, 2015 in Park City, Utah. Check out our picks from the 2015 Lineup which include Asian/Asian American actors, writers and even directors.



1) “Advantageous”
(U.S. Dramatic Competition) 


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U.S.A. (Director: Jennifer Phang, Screenwriters: Jacqueline Kim, Jennifer Phang) — In a near-future city where soaring opulence overshadows economic hardship, Gwen and her daughter, Jules, do all they can to hold on to their joy, despite the instability surfacing in their world. Cast: Jacqueline Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Kim.



2) “Songs My Brothers Taught Me”
(U.S. Dramatic Competition) 


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U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Chloé Zhao) — This complex portrait of modern-day life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation explores the bond between a brother and his younger sister, who find themselves on separate paths to rediscovering the meaning of home. Cast: John Reddy, Jashaun St. John, Irene Bedard, Taysha Fuller, Travis Lone Hill, Eléonore Hendricks.



3) “The Chinese Mayor”
(World Documentary Competition) 

China (Director: Hao Zhou) — Mayor Geng Yanbo is determined to transform the coal-mining center of Datong, in China ‘s Shanxi province, into a tourism haven showcasing clean energy. In order to achieve that, however, he has to relocate 500,000 residences to make way for the restoration of the ancient city. World Premiere.



4) “Umrika”
(World Dramatic Competition) 


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India (Director and screenwriter: Prashant Nair) — When a young village boy discovers that his brother, long believed to be in America, has actually gone missing, he begins to invent letters on his behalf to save their mother from heartbreak, all the while searching for him. Cast: Suraj Sharma, Tony Revolori, Smita Tambe, Adil Hussain, Rajesh Tailang, Prateik Babbar. World Premiere.



5) “Oh Lucy!”
(U.S. Narrative Short Film)
Japan, Singapore, U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Atsuko Hirayanagi) — Setsuko, a 55-year-old single so-called office lady in Tokyo, is given a blonde wig and a new identity, “Lucy,” by her young unconventional English-language teacher. “Lucy” awakens desires in Setsuko she never knew existed.



6) “I am Hong Kong” 
(International Narrative Short Film)
China (Director and screenwriter: Flora Lau) — The recent Umbrella Movement, ignited by the youth of Hong Kong, shows how citizens’ passion and desire for a more fair and just future can bring about a peaceful but powerful social movement, despite criticism, defamation and attacks.



7) “Hotel 22″
(International Narrative Short Film)
U.S.A. (Director: Elizabeth Lo) — Each night in Silicon Valley, the Line 22 public bus transforms into an unofficial shelter for the homeless. This film captures one dramatic night on the “Hotel 22″ bus.



8) “Seoul Searching”


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U.S.A., Korea (Director and screenwriter: Benson Lee) — Seoul Searching is a comedy set in the ’80s about a group of foreign-born Korean teenagers who meet at a Seoul summer camp to learn what it means to be Korean. The three boys, from the U.S., Mexico, and Germany, then meet three girls who rock their world. Cast: Justin Chon, Jessika Van, In-pyo Cha, Teo Yoo, Esteban Ahn, Byul Kang



9) “1979 Revolution Game”
(New frontier installations) 
Artists: Navid Khonsari, Vassiliki Khonsari

1979 Revolution Game presents an innovative approach to non-fiction storytelling. Designed to engage players with an immersive “on the ground” experience of the Iranian Revolution, the game integrates an emotionally impactful narrative with interactive moral choices and intuitive touchscreen gameplay while remaining true to history.



10) “Possibilia”
(New frontier installations) 


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Artists: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert

Possibilia is a multi-layered narrative experience from acclaimed directing duo the Daniels. The story of two quarreling lovers splits exponentially into more and more possible worlds as their relationship unravels. Cast: Alex Karpovsky, Zoe Jarman.



11) “Zero Point”
(New frontier installations)

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Artist: Danfung Dennis Zero Point, a 3-D and 360-degree documentary for the Oculus Rift headset, creates an entirely new digital dimension. From combat training simulations to research labs at Stanford to indie game developers and hackers, this immersive experience highlights the future of virtual reality.



12) “99 Homes”
(Sundance spotlight) 

U.S.A. (Director: Ramin Bahrani, Screenwriters: Ramin Bahrani, Amir Naderi, Bahareh Azimi) — A father struggles to get back the home that his family was evicted from by working for the greedy real-estate broker who’s the source of his frustration. Cast: Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, Laura Dern, Tim Guinee, Cullen Moss, J.D. Evermore.



For the full lineup of films, please visit the official Sundance website. And let us know which films you are most excited for in the comments below!


Film descriptions courtesy of Sundance. 

5 Beauty Trends From Asia You Have to Know (And Where To Get Them Now)


Cleanse, tone, moisturize — is that it? If that’s the extent of your skin care routine, then you’re seriously missing out. Take a cue from the worldwide skin care experts — Korean women (and even men now!) — and incorporate these complexion wonders into your regimen (no passport needed!).



1. Air Cushion

Venerable Korean brand AmorePacific introduced the first Air Cushion (above), called Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+, last year, but the Air Cushion didn’t really take off until Korean actress Jun Ji Hyun used Iope’s Air Cushion XP on the mega-hit K-drama My Love From the Stars earlier this year. Now people across the globe can’t get enough of the liquid tinted sunscreen in a compact, perfect for reapplying throughout the day without messing up your makeup. It also helps that the Air Cushion imparts that perfect mul gwang (“water sheen complexion” — that chok chok wet look Korean stars favor) look with one application.

How genius is the technology behind the Air Cushion? Read more about it here.

And though Iope Air Cushion XP is only currently available at Korean cosmetic boutiques in Koreatown or through smaller sites on Amazon, you can get AmorePacific (they are Iope’s parent company, after all) Cushion Compact at Sephora ($60). For a less expensive alternative, Korean line Laneige, which just debuted in the States this spring, has their own BB Cushion ($34), available at Target.




2. Hydrating Toner

Another top seller from Korean brand Iope is its Bio Essence, a part of that step in any respectable Asian skincare regimen that includes what is called “lotion,” “skin lotion” or, to some old-school Koreans, simply “skin” — a water-like solution for the face used after cleansing.

It’s different from the toner that we here in the States may have grown up with — that harsh, alcohol-based liquid we swept over skin with a cotton ball to wipe off any residual makeup that our cleanser may have missed. Rather, “lotion” is a post-cleansing hydrator, usually applied by sprinkling into hands and pressing the palms over the face to ensure proper penetration. It’s a step that “provides hydration to the skin that might be stripped during the cleansing process,” says Diane Nakauchi, skincare expert and CEO of Japanese skincare brand Koh Gen Do. It also increases the effectiveness of all your serums and moisturizers that follow.

Today, Asian skincare companies are bringing these post-cleansing hydrators — whether called “lotion,” “water” or even “toner” — to American consumers, and American skincare companies are quickly jumping on board. Some of our favorites include the botanical-based gel-liquid of Koh Gen Do Oriental Plants Lotion and SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. Find more here.


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3. Hydrogel Masks

Sheet masks, typically made of paper or cloth, have been around in Korea for ages. Women use them daily as a part of their skin care regimen. And though sheet masks are fairly new in the U.S., there’s now an even better option for those in the know: the hydrogel mask. It’s also a sheet mask in that it’s not a cream or gel, but these new incarnations are made of a gel-like material. Dr. Jessica Wu, a renown dermatologist to the stars, raved about Dr. Jart Water-Full Hydrogel Mask recently. “Dr. Jart Water-Full Hydrogel Mask is made of a gel material similar to what I use on surgical wounds or burns. It forms a barrier so the moisture sinks in rather than evaporating.The hydrogel is made of polymers that are very absorbent and hold water against your skin. The mask traps water more effectively than a sheet mask because water evaporates more slowly from a hydrogel mask. It’s also more flexible and conforms to your face better than many cloth or paper sheet masks.”




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4. Night Pack

We all know that nighttime is the best time for skin care repair. “Sleep is a time when the metabolic rate increases along with the production of skin cells, while the breakdown of proteins needed for cell growth and repair decreases,” says Diane Nakauchi of Koh Gen Do. “You can’t replace nighttime sleep with daytime hours as the energy required for tissue repair cannot be fully utilized due to other body organs’ energy needs in life support during the day.”

A night pack, or overnight mask as it’s usually called in the U.S., is the last thing you put on your face before sleeping. It has a higher concentration of “sealing” ingredients (which often are not suitable to wear under foundation as it may affect the wear of the foundation), says Nakauchi, which helps to seal in moisture, preventing moisture loss during the night as your nighttime skin care ingredients work overtime to repair skin.


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Koh Gen Do’s Night Moisture Mask has a gel formulation, which sinks in fast. Despite its light feel, its skin-identical ceramide formulation gently wraps the skin to prevent moisture evaporation during the night. Encapsulated vitamins, A, C & E are released when applied to penetrate deeply into the skin cuticles. Three types of antioxidant-rich red and brown algae not only help to detoxify, condition, soften and aid collagen production, but the red algae is known for its anti-microbial effect that helps to fight blemishes.





5. Finishers

sulwhasoo finisher.jpg


Korean premium skincare brand, Sulwhasoo, is a frontrunner in Korean skincare. And their latest innovation is the Luminature Essential Finisher, brand new in the U.S. There’s a saying in Korean skincare — that your skin “eats” your makeup well. Basically, when your skin is at its best, foundation goes on smoothly and looks flawless. When your skin is less than perfect, foundation looks clumpy, settles into pores and just looks obvious. The Finisher, which contains the equivalent of five ginseng roots and 110 cups of green tea, is made to seal in the benefits of all your skincare treatments and provide a smooth base for your makeup. Get it here or at Neiman Marcus.



Estée Lauder in Competition With Korean Skincare Brands


Estée Lauder, an American company which manufactures prestige beauty products, has made its mark in skincare for over 60 years. Today, it has become a household name for many.

Although Estée Lauder’s success is undeniable, they are well aware that times have changed and trends continuously shift directions.  According to Fashionista, Estée Lauder recognizes they are no longer spearheading the skincare forefront, but now Korean brands are breaking into the international field and successfully doing so. CEO of Estéee Lauder, Fabrizio Freda, admits that they’ve “[seen] this coming for a long time.”

“The way to compete with Korea is to embrace [these trends] and to bring them around the world. Our brands — Clinique, namely — has been one of the first to bring BB creams and CC trends to the U.S., which was actually a Korean trend,” says Freda.


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Photo courtesy of

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What makes Korean skincare the leaders of the market? This article from Fast Company looks inside the booming Korean skincare market and reveals a number of explanations for its success.

For instance, 2011 marked the release of BB creams (a hydrating, anti-aging foundation with SPF) in the United States. As you can imagine, this new product was (and still is) all the rage. However, BB creams were already lining the shelves of Korean stores five years prior.

In addition to Korean skincare simply being ahead of its time, the Korean approach to skincare takes on preventative measures instead of the American method of covering up the skin’s blemishes. Not to mention the all-natural appeal that Korean brands bring by implementing ingredients such as snail, placenta, chia seeds and volcanic clay into their products.


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If you want to find out what the hype is all about, there is The Face Shop, Laneige, Etude House and Innisfree to name a few. Let us know if they work for you!


Feature photo courtesy of jp1958

Watch 2NE1 Perform on “America’s Next Top Model”


Back in March, the streets of Seoul were filled with excitement as Tyra Banks landed in South Korea to film a segment of Americas’s Next Top Model. We were even more excited when we discovered that ANTM chose popular K-pop group 2NE1 to make an appearance during the highly-anticipated fashion show for designer Lie Sang Bong.

A source revealed, “2NE1 was asked to be on the show because they are a representative K-Pop group and they are also well-known to be fashionistas.”


After 9 long months, the waiting is finally over. Americas’s Next Top Model aired its final episodes of Cycle 21 this past Friday. The segment included a photo shoot for GUESS at the Seoul Institute of the Arts, as well as Korean barbecue and even more Korean barbecue.

Most exciting of all, 2NE1 went to wish the the remaining contestants good luck before heading out to the runway to perform their popular song, “Crush.”

Check out the performance below as well as the behind-the-scenes footage of the girls interacting with the ANTM contestants.


Winter Issue Extra: Michelle Phan on Feminism, Fame and Being the Boss


Need more of our Winter issue cover girl Michelle Phan? Here, an insight into the woman behind the Michelle Phan empire.


On whether she considers herself a feminist:

“The definition of being a feminist has changed so much. During the ’60s and ’70s, it was burning bras and everything. I’m like, no, I love bras. They keep my boobs up. I don’t care if they were invented by men. Who cares? It’s really hard to say that I’m a feminist because the definition is still very blurred. But I tell people I’m a humanist. I believe in humanity. I believe you need both male and female to create life. To create balance, you need structure and you also need softness.”


On being the boss:

“People have this idea that when you’re the boss, everything is easy, but actually no, everything is harder. You have to have accountability for all the people you bring on. It’s a huge responsibility. People who are working a 9-to-5 job, they go there, they do their job, they go home, and they can do whatever they want. But when you’re the boss, you bring work home. There’s always going to be a sacrifice. Nothing is going to be given to you for free.

“At first, it was so hard. I didn’t get any sleep. But if you really want to start expanding your business and you really want to grow, that means you need to scale. You have to hire on people to help you. Instead of working harder, it’s about working smarter.”


On becoming online-famous:

“I’ve seen people become obsessed with, like, trying to get the numbers, and it’s no longer fun for them. It’s almost like they’ve become a slave to chasing the fame game. Chase your passion, not your fame. Passion will be more rewarding than fame and it lasts much longer. Fame is almost like junk food. It tastes good, but have too much of it and it becomes very distracting. Passion is like eating a healthy, balanced meal. Yeah, you might not get the instant gratification, like fame. But why would you want that validation? If you really need that validation, for people to praise you and give you attention, then obviously there are holes in your life.”




On oversharing:

“It’s nice to breastfeed your baby, but I don’t want to see the milk coming out of the nipple and clotting up and everything. This isn’t, like, National Geographic. But the definition of oversharing is subjective.”


On whether selfies are a tool of empowerment or an act of narcissism:

“Both. There’s narcissism in it — I’ll be the first to admit it. But it’s great because you should feel confident in the way you look. You should feel beautiful and want to show the world how beautiful you are. But if you’re posting a selfie every single minute, you’re brushing along the line of becoming obsessed with wanting validation, and I think that’s unhealthy. When I share a selfie, it’s almost like a hello. I don’t take a picture of myself to ask for praises. I take it to share it with my followers. A lot of people take pictures of themselves for validation. They say, ‘Ugh, I’m so ugly. I’m not wearing any makeup,’ but obviously, they look beautiful so they’re just fishing for compliments. For me, that can be destructive.”


On being limitless:

“Society has built it so that we have to think like we’re in boxes. If you’re a scientist, you can only be a scientist. You can’t mix science with religion and spirituality. Or if you’re a nurse, you can’t also be a football player. I saw that, and I realized, no, I don’t want to be in a box. I want to be limitless. So my whole new philosophy on life is thinking infinitely. There’s no beginning or end. Everything is a cycle. Even the plants outside come from dead cells. They used to be humans or animals. The sun comes up and then comes down and then comes up again. Having that philosophy in my head gave me a lot of peace.”


Don’t forget to read the Winter 2014-15 cover story here.


The Real Sleeping Beauty Secret From Asia: Sleep Masks


Didn’t double cleanse last night? Cell phone chin acne getting you down? Irritating redness from [pick one: indoor heating, brisk winds, too much alcohol] running amok? You may not be able to address all your skin care woes with one product, but these get pretty close: sleep masks. Call them sleep masks, night packs or overnight masks — in our overrun, hyper-busy, never-offline world, these beauty wonders can cover a multitude of sins.

We all know that nighttime is the best time for skin care repair. “Sleep is a time when the metabolic rate increases along with the production of skin cells, while the breakdown of proteins needed for cell growth and repair decreases,” says Diane Nakauchi of Japan-based skin care brand Koh Gen Do. “You can’t replace nighttime sleep with daytime hours as the energy required for tissue repair cannot be fully utilized due to other body organs’ energy needs in life support during the day.”

A sleep mask is the last thing you put on your face before sleeping. It has a higher concentration of “sealing” ingredients (which often are not suitable to wear under foundation as it may affect the wear of the foundation), says Nakauchi, which helps to seal in moisture, preventing moisture loss during the night as your nighttime skin care ingredients work overtime to repair skin.

Different sleep masks address different issues, so find one that works for you. Some of our favorites:


Koh Gen Do Night Moisture Mask

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This sleep mask is a light gel, which sinks into skin fast. Despite its light feel, the mask uses a skin-identical ceramide formulation that gently wraps the skin to prevent moisture evaporation during the night. Encapsulated vitamins, A, C & E are released when applied to penetrate deeply into the skin cuticles. Three types of antioxidant-rich red and brown algae not only help to detoxify, condition, soften and aid collagen production, but the red algae is known for its anti-microbial effect that helps to fight blemishes.



Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask




This sleep mask from Korean luxury skin care line Sulwhasoo offers soothing creaminess that sinks in well. Hyaluronic acid, the key to skin hydration, and walnut extract promotes long-term moisturization overnight, while white mulberry extract minimizes redness and irritation.




Kate Somerville Age Arrest Hydrating Firming Mask was developed on the principles of Asian sleep masks, a final step in your PM regimen, sealing in other products, while adding additional firming and hydrating benefits. While the texture is thicker than most night creams, it melts into skin, great for dry skin needing a boost during the cold winter months.


Kate Somerville Retasphere Micro Peel


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For a more active nighttime mask, this sleep mask is a leave-on micro peel which gently infuses skin with pure retinol through its RetAsphere Smart Release™ Carrier System. A combination of 10 percent glycolic acid and lactose also helps to resurface skin. Use this powerhouse every other night.


La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Skin Mask 



With its signature caviar extract — rich with vitamins, nucleic acid, phospholipids and proteins to boost skin’s long-term firmness, as well as omega-3s which boost the antioxidant level of defense in the skin and improve the skin’s barrier function — this sleep mask firms skin, while its natural exfoliation enzyme technology smooths and softens. The melt-in formula reduces skin’s trans-epidermal water loss at night and helps skin eliminate cells damaged during the day. This one’s so potent, you use it one to three times a week.


Bioelements Oil Control Sleepwear



Have oily skin? There’s even a sleep mask for you. Ironically, oily skin is sometimes the product of lack of hydration. This mask, made with a “dream team” formula of calcium, retinol, peptides and vitamin E, is made for combination to oily skin and works while you sleep to control oil as it smoothes the appearance of lines and wrinkles.


Video of the Day: How White People Order Vietnamese Food?


Who doesn’t enjoy a warm and delicious bowl of pho? According to this recent video, “How White People Order Ethnic Food,” Caucasians can’t get enough of it. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not. We love when people have an appreciation for food outside of their own culture. You love Asian food and you’re not Asian? That’s great! Unfortunately, as this video points out, some foodies may like the idea of ethnic food more than the actual food itself.

This three minute comedy sketch features two people who believe Vietnamese food is “like the best for you. So healthy. That’s why they live forever.” Yup, it sounds problematic already.

The woman orders some pho… but the veggie version. Except she wants no veggies, no broth, thicker noodles and a thick sauce. The man orders “kyung yong,” with the chicken subbed with pork, no rice paper and an endless list of more impossible demands.

What’s a waiter to do with all these requests? There seems to be only one solution..



He brings out macaroni, chicken nuggets, ketchup and lettuce.

As funny as watching the video can be, how accurate do you think it is? Is this more prevalent for Americans ordering ethnic food because of the melting pot of cuisine here? Tell us your thoughts!


Korean Actor Lee Byung-hun Stars as T-1000 in “Terminator Genisys”

The Terminator is back, and this time around, the villainous T-1000 cyborg will be portrayed by Hallyu actor Lee Byung-hun.

Terminator Genisys is the latest installment of the sci-fi action franchise and brings a new twist to the doomsday timeline. Both a sequel and reboot to the original 1984 Terminator film,Genisys recasts all of the main characters except for Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s titular killer robot. In the freshly released trailer, Lee is briefly featured as a deadly, shapeshifting liquid metal T-1000.

Watch the clip below:

Set in the year 2029, Genisys follows John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the resistance, as he continues to wage war against the killing machines created by Skynet, an artificial intelligence system. Mirroring the first movie, Connor sends his loyal soldier, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), back in time to save his mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), from assassination and to ensure his own existence as the resistance draws closer to victory. However, Reese ends up landing in an alternate timeline, in which Sarah becomes orphaned at 9-years old and is raised by an older T-800 robot (Schwarzenegger), programmed to protect her.

Terminator Genisys is slated to release on July 1, 2015.


This story was originally published on



“The Walking Dead” Spinoff Casts Polynesian Actor Cliff Curtis As Lead


The Walking Dead fans have been quite irritated lately. [Spoiler Alert] In the recent midseason finale, one of the major characters meets a gruesome death. While we certainly aren’t surprised with shocking character deaths by now, some fans believe this death in particular was poorly executed and unnecessary. Petitions have been created which demand that the show bring back the deceased character or give her a proper ending. To make matters worse, The Walking Dead‘s official Facebook page completely spoiled this major death for many viewers by revealing it on social media almost immediately following the East Coast airing on Sunday.

Luckily for you, this next bit of news may help you lose that bitterness. The Walking Dead spinoff has officially announced that the male lead will be played by Polynesian actor Cliff Curtis.


According to The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and Dave Erickson, the spinoff, tentatively titled Cobalt, will show how the zombie apocalypse has affected other parts of the world. This spinoff will focus on a divorced male teacher (Curtis) and a female guidance counselor.

According to, AMC President Charlie Collier has commented on the series companion:

“Almost from the beginning of ‘The Walking Dead’ on AMC, fans have been curious about what is going on in the zombie apocalypse in other parts of the world. In fact, beyond requests for zombie cameos, it’s the question I get asked the most.

Obviously, we all take our stewardship of the original franchise incredibly seriously and we, along with Robert, Gale, David and now Dave, are all proceeding with extreme care in order to ensure that we are offering fans something truly compelling, engaging and distinct. We’re thrilled to be taking this next step with these remarkable partners.”


You may recognize Curtis from Fox’s action drama Gang Related and as Fire Lord Ozai in M. Night Shyamalan‘s cinematic adaptation of The Last Airbender.