If you’re looking for an emotional tale based on culture, mythology and featuring some of the biggest stars of the year, look no further, as Disney+ is ready to deliver with their latest show, American Born Chinese. Ben Wang plays Jin Wang, a young boy who feels uncomfortable because he doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of his classmates.
His life would be turned upside down when he gets involved in a world bigger than the one he already knows, where new characters will lead him on a path to learn more about himself. Awards Radar had the opportunity of speaking to the cast and crew of American Born Chinese, who were very excited to share the series with the rest of the world.
Ben Wang and Sydney Taylor, who play Jin and Amelia in the show, were really happy to discuss where the protagonist’s personality came from: “I am an introvert in real life.” Wang commented. “I based it on me, half of the time I didn’t even know the camera was rolling. And then, they would say “Oh, great! We got it” and I would be like “What?!”. It’s a side of me. It’s really taken from a piece of who I am.”
Yeo Yann Yann and Chin Han were in charge of portraying Jin’s parents, Christine and Simon. When asked about how Jin’s father’s behavior affects the character, the actress explained: “I think we don’t think about it consciously. I think it’s something that’s unconscious and it’s slowly affecting younger generations. For Simon and Jin, that’s what I see, as Yann Yann, the actor.”
Daniel Wu, who brought a new edge to American Born Chinese with his performance as Sun Wukong/The Monkey King, talked about how the story’s fantastical elements cross over into Jin’s life: “What I really like about this story is seein the perspective of this kid, Jin Wang, growing up in an all-white high school and him trying to find his identity and what part of his culture Jin brings. What’s beautiful about this stotry is that it’s cultural and all the aspects from the Chinese mythology come to him”.
Gene Luen Yang, the author behind the books the series is based on, was present to answer questions alongside Malvin Mar, one of the executive producers behind the project. When asked about the importance of using culture and fantasy when creating stories featuring young people, Mar said: “In our case, it was a really good fusion of two things. For me, this adolescence story is personal and it’s near and dear to my heart. I see a lot of myself in it. Being a big fan of fantasy and martial arts, why not?”
All eight episodes American Born Chinese premiered on Disney+ on May 24.