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.

 


 

dc 10
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.

 


 


dc 6
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.

 


 

dc 11
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.

 

 


 


dc 12
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.

 


 


dc 14
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.

dc 1 dc 2 dc 3 dc 4 dc 5


dc 7 dc 8 dc 9

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!”

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 12.07.53 PM Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 12.08.19 PM

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

An Intimate Conversation with Ang Lee

What do a superhero action blockbuster, an intimate western love story and a foreign language film have in common? For one, they’re all directed by Taiwanese-American director Ang Lee.

The Film Foundation and Louis XIII Cognac partnered up Wednesday night to cohost Creative Encounter, an evening of conversation with two-time Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee and actress Anne Hathaway, who worked with Lee on Brokeback Mountain in 2005.

Held in the Charles Aidikoff Screening Room in Beverly Hills, Creative Encounter began with a video montage of Lee’s numerous films along with a discussion about Lee’s love affair with filmmaking, illustrating decades-worth of the hard work and talent the Film Foundation aims to preserve as an “art form that stands the test of time.”

Despite his incredible successes thus far, Lee didn’t always want to be behind the camera. Coming to the United States from Taiwan when he was 23 years old, Lee had all the intentions of becoming a famous actor, but he soon realized an unavoidable obstacle standing in the way of his dream: he couldn’t speak English. Wanting to continue to be a part of the entertainment industry in some way, Lee resorted to directing.

“I went to film school but I was doubtful and I didn’t think I would make any money or do anything,” Lee reflected on his decision. Does he still have his doubts? “Not anymore,” Lee said, “Not after the two, three Oscars. I can’t deny that I’m a talented filmmaker now, but I used to deny it for a long, long time.”

Lee soon fell in love with directing, discovering that he could take something pretend in order to convey a truth. It’s another similarity his many diverse works share: the hopes and disappointments that all humans have. His leaps between genre and style also are due, in part, to Lee’s drive to explore the unknown.

Lunar-New-Year-TableGame-ENG

“It’s like sight-seeing; why would you want to go to the same place?” Lee said. “In marriage you have to be loyal, but in filmmaking…why not explore?” He’s admitted to turning down several movie deals in the past that he felt were in a genre he had already spent time in.

Lee also reflected on his long career from the beginning, back when he directed one of his first films in 1992, Pushing Hands, about the clash between Chinese traditions of family and modern Western ideals regarding individualism. If he could, would he travel back in time to give his younger, less experienced self advice?

“No,” Lee said simply. “I’m not saying that movie was perfect. There were things I did that I think now, ‘Oh, don’t do that, that’s so embarrassing,’ but I was doing my best.”

Actress Anne Hathaway, who won the Oscar last year for best supporting actress, weighed in on her 10 year friendship with Lee and her initial first impressions. The two met when 21 year-old Hathaway auditioned for Brokeback Mountain –– in an extravagant princess ball gown, no less, during a lunch break from filming The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.

“I was so intimidated when I walked into the room, but when I met [Ang], I felt like I’d known him for a long time,” Hathaway reflected. “Before, I never referred to myself as an actress but after working with him on this film I thought, ‘I can call myself an actress now.’”

Continuing with his theme of human condition, Lee revealed his plans for a new film centered around boxing. “It’s two guys beating each other senseless, but with meaning,” Lee said, “And I think that’s the bottom line of life: the effort we put into something.”

A KARATE KID TRIBUTE for Tamlyn Tomita’s Birthday

KARATE

Japanese-American actress Tamlyn Tomita turns 48 today. Tomita has had numerous Hollywood TV and movie roles such as Waverly Jong in The Joy Luck Club, Lieutenant Commander Tracy Manetti in JAG and guest roles on popular TV shows like Glee and Teen Wolf.

But let’s not forget about the iconic movie that first introduced us to Tomita in 1986, when she was just 20 years old. The Karate Kid, Part II had Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita reprise their roles as student and mentor in this martial arts sequel. Tomita played Kumiko, the young Daniel’s love interest.

To commemorate Tomita’s birthday and give you a blast from the past, we present to you photos and video clips from everyone’s favorite coming-of-age karate blockbuster. Wax on, wax off.

karatekid1 karatekid2

AAB Banner Square

karatekid4 karatekid5  karatekid7

 

tamlyntomita2

Disney Princesses As Sailor Moon Characters

Disney’s newest animated feature Frozen brought us not one, but two new Disney Princesses. With the success of the film, the popularity of Disney Princesses have once again shot up.

Social media sites have been covered with tests to “find out which Disney Princess you are.” People have begun closely analyzing Frozen princesses Anna and Elsa as well as the classics. More and more videos of Disney song covers are being uploaded to YouTube every minute.

At this point, is there anything that could make the Disney Princess craze even more successful? How about combining it with another popular franchise?

Well that’s exactly what artist Drachea Rannak has done. Since 2013, Drachea Rannak has taken popular Disney heroins and re-imagined them as Sailor Moon characters.

Popular manga and animated series Sailor Moon is one of Japan’s most successful franchises. The English adaptations of both the manga and anime series became the first successful shōjo title in the United States. The franchise has not only stolen the hearts of Japan and the US, Sailor Moon has gained popularity worldwide.

It only seems fitting that two powerhouses join together. Drachea Rannak recently added Anna and Elsa onto his list of “Sailor Princesses.” Check them out below.

ds 1 ds 2 ds 3 ds 4 ds 5 ds 6 ds 7 ds 8 ds 9 ds 10 ds 11 ds 12 ds 13

ds 14 ds 16 ds 17 ds 18 ds 19 ds 20

(source)

 

 

 

Top 5 Reasons We Love Variety’s 2014 Breakthrough Actress OLIVIA MUNN

Variety‘s Breakthrough of the Year Awards celebrates and recognizes rising stars in entertainment and technology. This year, the awards ceremony took place at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas.

Much of our attention was focused on Variety’s 2014 Breakthrough Actress Winner, Olivia Munn. The 33-year-old half-Chinese actress has been on our radar for quite some time. Thankfully, the world is taking notice.

Munn is most known for her roles in films such as Iron Man 2 and Magic Mike as well as her roles on television shows such as The Daily Show and New Girl.

Although she is considered a “rising star,” she has captivated the hearts of her fans for years. Don’t know her yet? Now’s the time. Here are our Top 5 Reasons We Love Olivia Munn.

 


om 2
1. She never gave up on her dreams.
In a 2011 interview with Audrey Magazine, Munn admits that when she first told her mother she wanted to be an actress, her mother adamantly disagreed and insisted that she become a lawyer.

In fact, her mother wasn’t the only one who doubted Munn’s choice of acting. Initially, Munn found her dreams difficult to follow. Her unique look and Asian eyes originally caused her to feel doubtful.

But Munn didn’t give up on her dreams. In fact, it all made her work harder to prove to everyone (including herself) that she was capable. “I told myself, my bar will always be higher than what I was doing at the time. Then if I reached that one, I would make another higher one, and another one,” she says. “I’ve worked hard for a long time [so I could] tell myself, I’ll never be the reason I hear no.”


om 3
2. She overcame social pressures.
Munn spent much of her childhood moving around. She was born in Oklahoma, but spent a large portion of her childhood in Tokyo, Japan. Needless to say, she found it difficult to fit in.

According to Refinery29, Munn tried to change her appearance to be accepted by her peers. “I wore men’s clothing a lot in high school because I wanted to hide behind baggy pants and T-shirts. When I moved from Japan to Oklahoma at 16 I tried to go more preppy to fit in. I ditched my skater clothes but I just ended up looking like some weird girl desperately trying to fit in. The kids in school would be wearing sweater vests from Gap, but we couldn’t afford brand new clothes so I would borrow my grandmother’s linty, moth-eaten sweater vests and not realise how much of a sore thumb I looked like.”

But as expected, she overcame this need to fit in. “When you’re always the new girl, it forces you to come up with new ways to make friends,” Munn tells Audrey Magazine, “because every time you go somewhere, it’s literally the same battle. Eventually with me, once I built up so much scar tissue, I didn’t have to worry so much about becoming popular or being welcomed or being accepted.”


om 4
3. Her strong relationship with her fans.
Over the years, Munn has gathered quite a handful of loyal fans and has proven that she doesn’t allow fame to get to her head. Her fan club is called OMFGs (Olivia Munn Fan Group) and Munn has been known to be extremely generous and kind to her dedicated fans.  In an interview with US Magazine, Munn has stated that she owes everything she has to her loyal fan group, OMFG.

“They’re amazing. I’m very lucky. It’s a really good feeling to know they have my back,” says Munn. ““They put me on this ride. They’re coming along for the ride.”

 


om 6
4. She’s a published author.
Although Munn pursued her dream of becoming an actress despite her mother’s initial sentiments about the career, the last thing Munn wanted to do was go against her mother’s will. Munn admits that no matter what, she needed her mother’s approval before making big decisions like moving to Hollywood.

To satisfy her mother, she graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a journalism degree and work for a year at a local television station before moving west.

Although Munn is now a successful actress, she still put her degree to good use and became a published author. Suck It, Wonder Woman: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek, was released on July 6, 2010.

 


om 5
5. She’s an Audrey Magazine covergirl.
The beautiful Olivia Munn graced our Spring 2011 cover. Check out the must-read cover story here.