Underrated Movies of 2014: “The Hundred-Foot Journey”

2014 has been a great year for movies. From mainstream films such as Edge of Tomorrow and Beyond the Lights to indie fare such as The Grand Budapest Hotel and Under the Skin, there has been a plethora of unique films worth watching. As a result, many movies have fallen off the radar. One film that has been criminally underlooked and underrated is The Hundred-Foot Journey.

Photo courtesy of Fandango

Admittedly, I was hesitant walking into the movie. All I had gathered from the trailer was that this was a movie about cooking Indian and French food and that Helen Mirren was in it. I was worried that the Indian characters would be pushed to the background in favor of the white protagonist. My worst case scenario was that The Hundred-Foot Journey would be one of those “uplifting” movies where a white protagonist is glorified for his or her charitable act of regarding people of color as fellow humans. Thankfully, I was proven completely wrong. While there is plenty of Indian and French food porn, The Hundred-Foot Journey also offers substance for thought.

Photo courtesy of Fandango

Photo courtesy of Fandango

The film tells the story of Hassan Kadam (played by Manish Dayal), a political refugee whose family escapes India after a deadly political riot and starts an Indian restaurant in Southern France. The film quickly establishes Hassan Kadam as a culinary genius in the making and focuses on his character’s path, from the “hundred-foot journey” to the French culinary restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren, who is nominated for a Golden Globe for the role) to eventual chef superstardom in a gastronomic Parisian restaurant.

Photo courtesy of Fandango

Photo courtesy of Fandango

From start to finish, Hassan Kadam is the main character that drives the narrative of the story. As played by Manish Dayal in a star-making role, Hassan is a determined and observant culinary genius who relies more on instinct than traditional recipes or cooking techniques. Credit must be given to both Manish Dayal and the screenwriter Stephen Knight for portraying Hassan Kadam as a nuanced, three-dimensional character. Like Hassan, the rest of his family are defined by more than just their ethnicity. Om Puri who plays Papa is particularly memorable as a father who is proud, defiant, but emotionally vulnerable.


Photo courtesy of Fandango

Photo courtesy of Fandango

Unfortunately, mainstream media often despicts Asians and Asian Americans as two dimensional, stereotypical caricatures. Thanks to films like The Hundred-Foot Journey, that may be slowly on its way to changing. Seeing a film with an Asian lead (it’s important to note that The Hundred-Foot Journey was the only wide-release film in the summer of 2014 to star an Asian American, sorry Godzilla does not count) and well-rounded Asian characters felt like a breath of much-needed fresh air. The film is also nuanced in its treatment of race and racism. While the film isn’t explicitly about race, the film does show both overt racism (the Kadams are almost killed at one point in their new hometown in France) and subtler racism (Hassan’s story is later labeled as a “rags to riches story” by a newspaper, which Om Puri’s character furiously tears apart). Throughout the film, French and Indian cultures and cuisine as depicted as unusual but equal complements.

Photo courtesy of Fandango

Photo courtesy of Fandango

The Hundred-Foot Journey is a simple, effective and well-told story. It’s optimistic but never at the expense of its characters and the serious issues they face. It’s filled to the brim with food porn but also thoughtful about race and human nature. So if you’re looking for a film to see over the holidays, I highly recommend watching The Hundred-Foot Journey.

Photo courtesy of Fandango

Photo courtesy of Fandango

The Hundred-Foot Journey is rated PG and currently out in Blu-Ray/DVD.


Take a Look at Upcoming Indie Feature: “Seoul Searching”

Seoul Searching, set to release in 2015, is directed by Benson Lee and is an ’80s-set youth dramedy based loosely on Lee’s experience at a government summer camp in 1986.

The film is described as “16 years in the making” based on one of the craziest summers of Lee’s life. In it, “a diverse group of Korean teens meet at a special camp in Seoul where they were sent by their parents to learn what it means to be Korean — a side to them they know little about.” It is now in post-production, and snippets of the film were recently released on YouTube:

The preview has no dialogue but shows a little bit of the flavor to expect from the film: nostalgia, attitude and an explosion of emotions that can feel relatable and new all at once. With the description, that “although the intentions of the camp were honorable, the activities of the teens were not,” Seoul Searching will hopefully be playful in showing the carefree spirit of adolescence, while acknowledging the painful parts of growth under the lens of feeling one’s own culture as something that needs to be learned.

The soundtrack in the preview includes “You Really Got Me” by Van Halen and “A Little Respect” by Erasure.

Variety, http://variety.com/2014/artisans/news/seoul-searching-global-independent-film-1201296272/

Variety, http://variety.com/2014/artisans/news/seoul-searching-global-independent-film-1201296272/

Seoul Searching is a modern low-budget indie film in English, and is a melting pot of actors of mixed ethnicities: Korean, Korean-American, British-Korean, Japanese, Spanish-Korean, German-Korean and Canadian-Korean. The film stars familiar faces from YouTube, such as Justin Chon, and known faces from the music industry, such as Jessika Van. The film had also posted a calling for auditions in March of last year. Through Facebook, they held an online casting call where actors and non-actors uploaded audition clips via Youtube. The top candidates for each character were posted, and the community voted on their favorite actors to audition in person with Lee.

The film is shot in Korea, receiving a nod from the Korean Film Council for location exposure, and is produced by Los Angeles firms Bowery Hills Entertainment and Mondo Paradiso Films.

Find more information about Seoul Searching on the film’s Tumblr and Facebook page.

Vietnamese American Kathy Uyen in “How to Fight in Six Inch Heels”


Growing up in San Jose, Calif., Kathy Uyen worked as an actress in Los Angeles for several years before she got the opportunity in 2008 to work on her first Vietnamese film, Passport to Love. Though she was quickly accepted in Vietnam’s show business world — she received a Best Supporting Actress award at the 2009 Golden Kite Awards (the Vietnamese version of the Oscars) — she still felt like a fish out of water.

“When I first moved to Vietnam, I’d go to [industry] events, and everyone would be dressed up in really beautiful gowns,” Uyen remembers. “And I’m coming from L.A.; we don’t wear gowns. But I had to get all these long gowns made in order to be respectful. I felt like this klutzy girl on the inside. Everyone was all properly posed on the red carpet, and I would just smile and pretend, even though I didn’t know what I was doing.”

After a few years, though Uyen had achieved a certain amount of fame and celebrity in Vietnam, she realized that roles for Vietnamese American women were still few and far between. Though her Vietnamese language skills had become more fluent, she still spoke with an American accent and found herself losing roles to Vietnamese locals. That’s when she decided to take matters into her own hands, come up with a story idea for a film she could star in, and pitch it to producers.


“I’m not a professional writer, but they say you should write from your own experiences, and that’s what makes it honest and genuine,” says Uyen. “So I’m surrounded by all these women, and, as modern-day women, we gotta have it all. We gotta make money, have a great husband, be a great wife, be social, look good, wear the latest trends. … The expectations are overwhelming, and I wanted to write a character who was trying to juggle all of that.”

The resulting film, How to Fight in Six Inch Heels, which was eventually fleshed out into its full form by scriptwriter Tim Tori and directed by Ham Tran, stars Uyen as Anne, a fashion designer from New York who has a very rigid three-step plan for career, marriage and babies. She’s got the career, and she’s got the fiancé, Kiet, but her life takes a detour when Kiet is sent off to Vietnam for work overseas, just months before their wedding day. After a late-night video chat with Kiet where he seems to be hiding something, Anne becomes suspicious that he is cheating with one of the models he works with. She secretly flies to Vietnam to infiltrate the entertainment industry and poses as a model in order to get to the bottom of her fiancé’s philandering.

Much of the comedy comes from Anne’s transformation into a believable model, which is kick-started by a boot camp led by her stylist friend Danny (Don Nguyen), a character based on two of Uyen’s closest gay friends, her real-life stylist and makeup artist.

“It sounds silly, but a lot of these moments really happened,” says Uyen, referring to how she needed to be taught (and to practice) how to pose on the red carpet and in photo shoots. “When I first walked the red carpets, the photographers would always catch me in [an awkward] half-smile. I didn’t want to be fake, so I’d do a real smile, then I’d stop, and then give another real smile. And my makeup artist was like, ‘No! You have to hold your smile the entire time you’re standing there!’ So I had to practice thinking of positive things the whole time while posing and hitting the marks.”

There’s a scene in How to Fight where Anne is on the catwalk for the first time, and she gets hit with an unfortunate bout of indigestion. But she somehow turns her violent stomach cramp into a comic catwalk pose. “That came from a joke between me and my makeup artist,” says Uyen. “At photo shoots, we’re always joking about the poses. ‘Oh, my cheek hurts,’” she demonstrates, brushing the back of her hand lightly on her face. “‘Oh, my shoulder aches,’” as she moves her hand oh-so-delicately across her chest to grasp her opposite arm. “We’re always making fun of ourselves when we’re taking pictures.”


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Anne’s journey in the modeling world went through multiple transformations before the How to Fight creative team eventually arrived at the film ending that they were most satisfied with. “It was important to show that the more Anne tries to be someone else, because she’s wearing this mask of makeup, the uglier she gets [in her behavior],” says Uyen. “Whereas when she’s not wearing so much makeup and able to show her fears and insecurities, she’s able to be herself, open up and make new friends.”

When How to Fight in Six Inch Heels premiered in Vietnam, it was the number one film at the box office for weeks and eventually earned Uyen a Best Leading Actress prize at the 2014 Golden Kite Awards. But more than that, Uyen is proud to have created and starred in a female-driven film where the male characters were there to move the women’s friendships forward and not the other way around.

Next up, Uyen will star in a martial arts comedy directed by Charlie Nguyen that starts shooting at the end of the year — another script about empowering women that Uyen calls a cross between Kung Fu Hustle and Nine to Five. She’s also looking to develop and produce more films, including a fantasy musical for teens and another women-centric drama.


How to Fight in Six Inch Heels is being released in American theaters this fall. 
This story was originally published in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here

Why You NEED To See “Finding Fanny” This Weekend (Plus An Interview With Film’s Star Deepika Padukone)


Superstar actress Deepika Padukone (a member of the Bollywood 100 Crore Club a record-breaking four times last year) stars in the highly anticipated, English-language comedy Finding Fanny this fall. (The trailer alone has more than 3 million hits on YouTube; it hit the 1 million mark in a day.)

In the lazy tropical countryside of the Indian state of Goa, Padukone is a young virgin widow, bored with her mundane existence in the sleepy village. When the old local postman (Naseeruddin Shah) discovers a marriage proposal he had written 46 years ago mysteriously returned to him, never delivered, he is shocked and sets out to find out what happened to Stefanie “Fanny” Fernandes.

Under varying pretexts, he is joined by Padukone, the local (and bitter) mechanic, a belligerent artist and an obnoxious snob. What the dysfunctional characters do find on their journey is friendship and even love. The all-star cast includes Arjun Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia and Pankaj Kapoor, with a special appearance by Ranveer Singh.

Details FINDING FANNY opens across US/Canada this Friday, SEPTEMBER 12


Q: From commercial success to doing a quirky comedy like Finding Fanny, what kind of cinema excites Deepika?
A: I love commercial cinema. But I also get a rush from doing clutter-breaking stuff like Finding Fanny.

Q: You are at the peak of your career with hits after hits. What made you do an off-the-wall film like Finding Fanny?
A: A lot of people told me it’s a risk. I did not think of it as a risk, but a brave move on my part to do it. I went with my instinct. What my heart said. I trust Homi (Adajania) and his vision.

Q: But what drew you to the film?
A: For me, the story of a film comes first and character next. I was looking to do something different and I am glad I did this film. As we work in a Hindi language film, we are used to it. But when you do an English language film it is a different experience and it takes time to get into this space. The challenge was to perform in English language.

Q: You have a Konkani connection in the film. Talk to us about it.
A: As far as the accent of Finding Fanny is concerned, it’s actually something I enjoyed because I got to speak my mother tongue, Konkani, a little bit in some scenes. The film is set in Goa and Goans usually speak Konkani. I got to experiment and improvise. But most importantly it’s a nice feeling when you have command over a language. Having said that, the first few days were very difficult on the sets not just for me but also for the entire team.

Q: You are working with Dimple Kapadia again post Cocktail and as reported you adore her. Talk to us about your equation with her.
A: What I feel for Dimple-ji and my equation with her, I can’t describe it in words. She took me for lunch and shopping while we were shooting for Cocktail. She pampers me and spoils me. She treats me like her daughter.

Q: How would you describe the film Finding Fanny?
A: It’s a different film. I found it to be different. It’s refreshing, it’s quirky and cool!


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Local theaters, ticketing, and showtimes will be posted on Wednesday at:



For more information, visit the official website.


Finding Fanny was featured in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here.


Dante Basco’s Touching Farewell to “Hook” Co-Star Robin Williams


You may know Dante Basco, who was featured in our Spring 2014 issue, as the voice of Prince Zuko on Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender or as the lead character in the independent film The Debut. But if you’re like me, your earliest memory of Basco was from Spielberg’s live-action Peter Pan film Hook (1991) where Basco played the red-haired Rufio, leader of The Lost Boys.

Among the notable actors in Hook, such as Julia Roberts, Dustin Hoffman and Maggie Smith, Basco seemed most fond of the talented Robin Williams. It goes without saying that the recent death of Williams shocked many, including Basco who admits that working with Williams truly changed his life.

Yesterday, Basco put his YouTube Vlogathon on hold and uploaded a video in dedication to Williams and the tragic news.

“Rest in Peace Robin,” Basco sadly whispers. “See you in Neverland.”



Today, on his official blog, Basco wrote an even more heartfelt farewell to his friend. Basco writes “I, like millions of others, became a fan and was always delightfully surprised by the performances he managed to produce, but with his passing, I can’t help to feel, along with my generation… I can’t help feeling like it’s the death of my childhood. I guess we can’t stay in Neverland forever, we must all grow up.”


The Struggle of Asian American Women: Chuti Tiu’s ‘Pretty Rosebud’

Story by Jeline Abutin.

She’s seen in films such as The Internship with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as well as the Spirit Award-nominated film Rampart. Now, Chuti Tiu has released her very own screenplay Pretty Rosebud.

Pretty Rosebud, directed by Oscar Torre, is a film about a frustrated, career driven woman who is stuck in an unhappy marriage. Bound by cultural, religious and family traditions, Cissy, played by Tiu, breaks societal taboos in search for her true path in life.

“The film definitely deals with what is right and what is wrong and a lot of times in life we like to put the blame on other people,” said Tiu. “In this film, what [the director] and I really strived to do was to make sure that even though you kind of root for the main character Cissy, we didn’t want to make her husband the bad guy. So the challenge was to treat both of them fairly and show that in any marriage that is falling apart, there’s not just one person to blame. It takes two.”

In the film, Tiu’s character tries her hardest to be a good daughter, a good wife and a good worker. Striving to achieve perfection is something Asian American women and Asian Americans in general can somewhat relate to, said Tiu.

“Traditionally, our culture holds excellence in such high regard —  in music, in sports and in grades. In everything,” said Tiu. “There’s also the guilt of how good of a child you are to your parents. I think all cultures have it, but I really think our culture has a very strong tie. Sometimes I’m very proud of it and [other times] I think it feels like such a burden. The idea of disappointing your parents, whom you love, feels like such a huge weight.”

Rarely seeing films that reflected an Asian American woman’s experience, Tiu took matters into her own hands with Pretty Rosebud.

“I think that we have a very special voice,” said Tiu. “What I want people to come away with is a story you can relate to and finally feel like ‘yay, my culture, my experience, my stories have been given a voice’  and for people whose background isn’t very similar, hopefully they will be enlightened on this aspect of Asian American culture and they’ll also find things they can relate to.”

Pretty Rosebud has been accepted to the Big Island Film Festival in Hawaii May 22-26 and will also be shown in The Asian Film Festival of Dallas on July 10-17.




Meet Blink: Fan Bingbing In “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Among the many reasons we’re excited for X-Men: Days of Future Past, Fan Bingbing’s new character Blink definitely ranks up there on the list.

32-year-old Chinese actress Fan Bingbing began her career in 1996 in the Chinese television series Princess Pearl. Since then, she has been in a number of notable films, was ranked first on the “50 Most Beautiful People in China” list in 2010 and has been in Forbes China Celebrity 100 list since 2006. 

In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Bingbing plays the Blink– a mutant in the Marvel comics who has the ability to teleport. She can teleport herself as well as large masses such as groups of people. Blink also has the capability to create teleportation portals. Additionally, she is a skilled hand-to-hand fighter and proves that she is a force to be reckoned with.

Blink became a fan favorite in the early 2000’s and was even featured in the four-issue Blink limited series. 

Just yesterday, X-Men: Days of Future Past released a trailer introducing us to the much-anticipated character. Check it out below:

Top 5 Reasons We Love Darren Criss

Darren Criss has only been in television’s spotlight for a handful of years, but he has already managed to gather an incredible amount of dedicated fans. On twitter alone, his account has an impressive 1.7 million followers. It doesn’t take much to see that Criss is beloved by many.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the 27-year-old actor, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 reasons we love Darren Criss. See if you end up falling in love with him after reading them all.



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1. He’s Harry Potter.

Well… not exactly, but he certainly does a great job of portraying a comedic Harry Potter on stage. In 2009, Darren Criss co-founded a Chicago-based musical theatre company called StarKid Productions. That same year, Criss played Harry Potter in the StarKid production “A Very Potter Musical” and began gathering attention for himself. The hilarious musical was put on YouTube and became a viral video. The musical was so popular that they created two more installments. Even before hitting television screens, Criss already showed us his humor, charm, talent and stage presence.



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2. He’s Blaine.

Darren Criss is most known for his character Blaine Anderson on the popular Fox musical comedy-drama series Glee. Following his success with StarKid Productions, he was casted as the charming gay high school student. The chemistry between Blaine and another character named Kurt Hummel gained a large fan support and their relationship was named, “one of the most beloved TV couples of the millennium” by  the New York Post. Additionally, they were named Favorite TV Couple at the 2010 AfterElton.com Visibility Awards, and Entertainment Weekly claims that the boys have been “leading the way” in representing the gay community on television.



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3. He’s talented.
As you can probably tell from his work, Darren Criss is an awfully talented fellow. He began playing the violin at the age of 5 and was classically trained for 15 years. Of course, he didn’t stop there. He also taught himself how to play the guitar, piano, mandolin, harmonica and drums. By the age of ten, he began joining theater groups and theater companies. By 15, Criss began composing songs. He made his television debut in 2009 on Eastwick, his Broadway debut in 2012 in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and his film debut later that year in Girl Most Likely.




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4. He’s Filipino-American.
And he’s extremely proud of his roots. His mother is a native of Cebu, Philippines and went to live in America in hopes of better circumstances for her children. Criss admits that while his childhood was not too immersed in the culture, he has been to the Philippines numerous times and has a “bizarre kinship” with the country. “As soon as I got off the plane, I was like, ‘Ah, this is me back in the Philippines.” I love this place. Whatever Filipino blood [I have in me] is very happy to be here.” he said in an interview.



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5. He has a big heart.
Possibly one of the biggest reasons Criss has such a large fanbase is because he seems to be a genuinely good person. Following the massive Typhoon that hit the Philippines, Criss launched a campaign to encourage donations. His statement said, “My mother was born & raised there, and as a result I have always been proud of my Filipino heritage, as well as lucky enough to feel the tremendous support of the Filipino community throughout my life as an artist.” Criss is an active supporter of The Trevor Project which focuses on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. His work with this organization gained him Variety’s Power of Youth Philanthropy award.



Bonus: He’s Hot.

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Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ Now On Broadway

Story by Taylor Weik. 

It’s finally time for everyone’s favorite thief to take his turn under the flashing bulbs of Broadway. Disney’s Aladdin, the musical adaption of the 1992 Walt Disney film, officially debuts at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre on March 20. The musical features an all-star creative team, including Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon), with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by the late Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book and additional lyrics by Chad Beguelin.

Of the 34-member cast, the two leads are both Asian American. Playing the title role of Aladdin is Adam Jacobs, whose mother is Filipina (Jacobs portrayed Marius in the 2006 Broadway revival of Les Misérables), and biracial Thai American Courtney Reed, whose credits include In the Heights and Mamma Mia!, will play Princess Jasmine.

“It doesn’t feel real,” says Reed about the role. “She has always been my favorite Disney princess, and now I get to bring her to life. It’s a dream come true.”

The musical comedy promises a full score with brand new songs, though Disney fans can rest assured that five of them will be from the original film. “It may be cliché but ‘A Whole New World’ is just a classic,” says Reed. “The arrangement for the show is gorgeous, and I love singing with my co-star Adam.” The production will also introduce new characters, specifically Babkak, Kassim and Omar, Aladdin’s three sidekicks.

Even the classic Disney characters will have some new lines to work with. “In expanding the story for Broadway, we’ve been able to add a little more depth to [Jasmine], and she’s a bit more modern than you may remember her from the movie, so the audience will get a chance to see a more dimensional Jasmine,” says Reed. “I just have to trust myself and my director to stay true to the essence of the princess I watched on my screen every day growing up!”

This story was originally published in our Spring 2014 issue. Get your copy here. 

National Film Society’s Comedy Web Series, Awesome Asian Bad Guys

Story by Ada Tseng. Photos by Craig Stubing, unwrittenfilms.com    

In 2011, Patrick Mendoza Epino and Stephen Dypiangco started a YouTube channel and new media studio called National Film Society. Part of the joke was that their name sounded very official and old-school Hollywood, but in reality, the playful, self-mocking and slightly absurd videos, from “Film School or No Film School?” to “Manny Pacquiao vs. Batman,” were made by two Filipino American filmmakers who riffed on everything. Eight months after they started, they caught the attention of PBS Digital Studios, which added National Film Society to their lineup. Since then, they’ve given out National Film Society “awards” (aka slightly inappropriate Barrel Man statuettes) to their confused actor friends, filmed commentary about the popular PBS series Downton Abbey, and interviewed subjects from documentarian Morgan Spurlock to Cookie Monster.

One of their most memorable videos was titled “Awesome Asian Bad Guys,” where they paid tribute to the badass Asian fighters in the action films they loved watching in the ’80s and ’90s. Unfortunately, in typical white male-dominated Hollywood form, these impressively skilled Asian guys always ended up dying very quickly at the hands of a Bruce Willis, an Arnold Schwarzenegger or a Mel Gibson. Dypiangco’s favorite bad guy was George Cheung (Rush Hour, Rambo 2); Epino’s favorite was Al Leong, who was killed off so many times that he’s inspired an “Al Leong Death Reel” compilation on YouTube where he violently perishes in almost 20 different movies. At the end of this National Film Society video, they mention that it’d be awesome to gather all these Asian bad guys together one day and create a super team, kind of like “the Asian Expendables.”

They had no idea they’d actually do it one day. “We just thought, conceptually, it’d be funny,” says Epino. “We weren’t like, ‘Let’s make it!’”
“It just seemed like it’d be ridiculous and fun,” says Dypiangco. “And it seemed like it’d be something that’d work really well on the web.”
Once they got some actors on board — including Tamlyn Tomita (beloved for her role on Karate Kid 2), Yuji Okumoto (who played the Karate Kid’s nemesis in the same film), comedic actor Aaron Takahashi (onboard to play the villain), and even Al Leong himself — Epino and Dypiangco launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to make their Awesome Asian Bad Guys web series.
A year and a half later, Awesome Asian Bad Guys is scheduled to premiere in San Francisco at the 2014 CAAMFest in March. There, it will play as a short feature, but online, it will be separated into approximately 10-minute webisodes. Though there were some “bad guys” in their dream cast that they weren’t able to lock down — including Bolo Yeung (Bloodsport, Double Impact) and James Hong (who turned them down four times) — Epino and Dypiangco’s team of Asian American actors were game to play fictional versions of themselves in the action comedy. The story begins with Tomita, who alerts the National Film Society about the dangers of Takahashi — who people might recognize as the funny guy with glasses in the Amp’d Mobile and State Farm commercials, but, in his personal life, is the leader of a gang with a diabolical plan to take down his competition in the entertainment industry.
“See, Tamlyn had a twin sister named Pamlyn whom Aaron killed,” explains Epino, with a straight face. “So she comes to us to help her get revenge.” He laughs. “Don’t ask why she comes to us. She just does.”
“She asks us to help recruit this team [of Awesome Asian Bad Guys] to take down Aaron,” says Dypiangco. Other co-stars include Dante Basco (Rufio in Hook, Ben in The Debut), who plays Takahashi’s right-hand man, and Randall Park (Larry Crowne, The Five-Year Engagement, Veep), who is desperate to join the team of Awesome Asian Bad Guys to show that he can do more than just play the goofy Asian sidekick. Epino and Dypiangco even got Nuo “Sunny” Sun, who has worked on films such as The Avengers, The Expendables and The Last Airbender, to be their stunt coordinator.
“[Patrick and I] are on the Awesome Asian Bad Guys team, so we get to do some action, but we do it as [versions of] ourselves,” says Dypiangco. “So we’re not super skilled.”
“We’re poorly skilled,” says Epino. “But we were available to do the fight training more often than any of the rest of the actors, whose schedules we’d have to work around because they would sometimes book other gigs at the last minute.”
While they did some research on other web series to get a sense of the online medium, the story mostly references The Expendables, the film series starring Sylvester Stallone and other action hero actors, including Jet Li. Yet while they were shooting, the cast and crew kept telling them it felt like they were making a Naked Gun movie.

“That wasn’t necessarily conscious,” says Dypiangco, about being inspired by the over-the-top crime comedy film franchise from 1988 to 1994 starring Leslie Nielson, “but I think people thought that because [Awesome Asian Bad Guys] is just super silly.” He laughs. “But I actually watched Naked Gun again recently, and it’s pretty good!”


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This story was originally published in our Spring 2014 issue. Get your copy here