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Michelle Yeoh Leads the Cast for Destin Daniel Cretton’s ‘American Born Chinese’ on Disney+

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The cast for Disney Branded Television’s upcoming series, American Born Chinese, was announced today, anchored by the legendary Michelle Yeoh. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), the series is adapted from Gene Luen Yang’s groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name.

Ben Wang (MacGyver) is set to play the show’s protagonist, Jin Wang, who is a Chinese-American boy trying his best to fit into American culture while constantly being reminded that he is different. Yeoh will play Guanyin, an “unassuming auntie, who helps her nephew Wei-Chen navigate the challenges of American high school while maintaining her secret identity as the all-powerful Buddhist bodhisattva of Compassion.” Daniel Wu, who has an extensive background in martial arts, will play Sun Wukong, the legendary Monkey King.

American Born Chinese is one of my favorite graphic novels ever, and it’s a story that is perhaps even more relevant today than it was in 2006 when it was published. It weaves an intricate story about a Chinese-American boy caught in between his American and Chinese roots, and the Monkey King, striving to deal with his own issues of acceptance within the realm of gods. When I interviewed Yang a few years ago, we talked about the enduring relevance of his book and how many Asian kids today experience their “otherness.”

This adaptation comes at an important time, especially with the on-going issues related to hate crimes against the Asian community and the #StopAsianHate efforts. The creative team behind this series is perfectly suited to tell this story, including Kelvin Yu (Bob’s Burger), who will serve as the showrunner and executive producer, and Destin Daniel Cretton, who is directing and also serving as executive producer.

Check out additional details below!

The Cast of American Born Chinese Photo Credits Top, From Left: Thomas Laisne/@Getty Images, Sean Velasco-Dodge, Chen You Wei, Reto Sterchi Bottom, From Left: Wing Shya, Paul Wong, Josh Monkey, Amy Casson
The Cast of American Born Chinese
Photo Credits
Top, From Left: Thomas Laisne/@Getty Images, Sean Velasco-Dodge, Chen You Wei, Reto Sterchi
Bottom, From Left: Wing Shya, Paul Wong, Josh Monkey, Amy Casson

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DISNEY BRANDED TELEVISION ANNOUNCES CASTING FOR
DISNEY+ ORIGINAL SERIES “AMERICAN BORN CHINESE”

International Cast Features Michelle Yeoh, Chin Han, Yeo Yann Yann, Daniel Wu

BURBANK, Calif. (Feb. 7, 2022) — Disney Branded Television has announced casting for the Disney+ original series “American Born Chinese,” the genre-hopping action-comedy based on the graphic novel of the same name by Gene Luen Yang.  The cast features talented international stars Michelle Yeoh (Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”), Ben Wang (“MacGyver”), two-time International Emmy Award nominee Yeo Yann Yann (“Wet Season”), Chin Han (“Mortal Kombat”), Daniel Wu (“Reminiscence”), Ke Huy Quan (“Finding ‘Ohana”), former Taekwondo champion Jim Liu and Sydney Taylor (“Just Add Magic”). A Disney Branded Television series, “American Born Chinese” is produced by 20th Television and will begin production later this month in Los Angeles. 

“American Born Chinese” tells the story of Jin Wang, an average teenager juggling his high school social life with his home life. When he meets a new foreign student on the first day of the school year, even more worlds collide as Jin is unwittingly entangled in a battle of Chinese mythological gods. The action-packed coming-of-age adventure explores identity, culture, and family. 

Cast breakdown is as follows:

  • Michelle Yeoh as “Guanyin,” an unassuming auntie, who helps her nephew Wei-Chen navigate the challenges of American high school while maintaining her secret identity as the all-powerful Buddhist bodhisattva of Compassion. 
  • Ben Wang as “Jin Wang,”an American teen whose parents immigrated from Taiwan, who is struggling to carve out exactly who he’s supposed to be socially and culturally.  
  • Yeo Yann Yann as Jin’s mom, “Christine Wang,”a strong-willed, opinionated woman with a sly wit, who loves her family deeply. 
  • Chin Han as Jin’s father, “Simon Wang,”a hard-working, devoted father and husband who is bumping up against the “bamboo ceiling” at his job.
  • Daniel Wu as Sun Wukong “The Monkey King,” the legendary, all-powerful god of the Chinese epic Journey to the West, who enters our world in search of his son.
  • Ke Huy Quan as “Freddy Wong,” a fictional character from a popular mid-1990s sitcom.
  • Jim Liu as Jin’s confident friend “Wei-Chen,” a teen who has just arrived in the United States, whose sweet demeanor belies the deeper mystery of his true identity. 
  • Sydney Taylor as “Amelia,” a friendly “All-American” girl who is Jin’s classmate and crush.

Emmy® Award-winning writer/producer Kelvin Yu (“Bob’s Burgers,” “Central Park”) serves as executive producer and showrunner.  Destin Daniel Cretton (Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Short Term 12”) is set to direct and serves as executive producer, alongside Melvin Mar and Jake Kasdan (both of “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.” for Disney+, and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Jumanji: The Next Level” feature films), Erin O’Malley (“Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.”), Asher Goldstein (“Short Term 12,” “Just Mercy”) and Gene Luen Yang. 

@DisneyPlus

About Disney+

Disney+ is the dedicated streaming home for movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic, along with The Simpsons and much more. In select international markets, it also includes the new general entertainment content brand, Star. The flagship direct-to-consumer streaming service from The Walt Disney Company, Disney+ is part of the Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution segment. The service offers commercial-free streaming alongside an ever-growing collection of exclusive originals, including feature-length films, documentaries, live-action and animated series, and short-form content. With unprecedented access to Disney’s long history of incredible film and television entertainment, Disney+ is also the exclusive streaming home for the newest releases from The Walt Disney Studios. Disney+ is available as a standalone streaming service or as part of The Disney Bundle that gives subscribers access to Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. For more, visit disneyplus.com, or find the Disney+ app on most mobile and connected TV devices.

About Disney Branded Television

Disney Branded Television encompasses the creative storytellers and production and content marketing teams responsible for Disney-branded television series, movies and other programming spanning live-action, animated and unscripted formats. The group fuels the Disney+ streaming platform and Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior linear networks with content geared toward kids, tweens, teens and families, with stories that are imaginative, aspirational and reflective of their world and experiences. Recent projects include “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” “Monsters at Work,” “The Mysterious Benedict Society” and “Marvel’s Spidey and his Amazing Friends.” Disney Branded Television has created some of the most iconic and award-winning properties and franchises, including Peabody Award winners “Doc McStuffins” and “The Owl House”; Emmy Award winners “Big City Greens” and “Elena of Avalor”; the beloved “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts plus the Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM) franchise, comprised of more than 100 titles.

About 20th Television:

One of the Disney Television Studios, 20th Television is a prolific supplier of entertainment programming, including Hulu’s most watched comedy ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING from Dan Fogelman, John Hoffman and Steve Martin and its critically acclaimed drama DOPESICK from Danny Strong and starring Michael Keaton; ABC’s new comedy hit THE WONDER YEARS from Lee Daniels, Saladin Patterson and Fred Savage;  FX’s star-studded IMPEACHMENT: AMERICAN CRIME STORY from Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson and Sarah Burgess;  NBC’s top series THIS IS US from Dan Fogelman;  Fox’s No. 1 drama, 9-1-1 and its spinoff 9-1-1: LONE STAR from Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear; FX’s No. 1 series AMERICAN HORROR STORY from Ryan Murphy, in addition to dozens of others. 20th Television shows have amassed a collective 1867 Emmy nominations and 214 Emmy wins, as well as multiple Golden Globes, Humanitas Prizes and Peabody Awards. The studio’s landmark series from its 70 year library include such classics as BATMAN, MODERN FAMILY, M*A*S*H, GLEE, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, BONES, EMPIRE, FRESH OFF THE BOAT, 24, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, NEW GIRL and THE X-FILES.

*COPYRIGHT ©2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All photography is copyrighted material and is for editorial use only. Images are not to be archived, altered, duplicated, resold, retransmitted or used for any other purposes without written permission of Disney+. Images are distributed to the press in order to publicize current programming. Any other usage must be licensed. Photos posted for Web use must be at the low resolution of 72dpi, no larger than 2×3 in size.

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Ron is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of POC Culture.  He is a big believer in the power and impact of pop culture and the importance of representation in media.

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