Bruce Lee never got the girl. Jet Li never got the girl. Lieutenant Sulu got a hug once, but that was a ruse in an alternate universe. Could John Cho leap the "romantic lead" hurdle?
When ABC announced their fall lineup with not one, but two comedies featuring Asian-American characters -- “Fresh Off The Boat” based on Eddie Huang’s best-selling memoir and “Selfie” starring John Cho -- audiences wondered if the breakthrough casting might also mean groundbreaking storylines -- with romantic subplots for the main, Asian-American roles.
The starring role of Henry Higgins in "Selfie" -- a modern-day "Pygmalian" ("My Fair Lady" in musical form) --was never supposed to go to Cho. Show creator Emily Kapnek said at last week’s Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour that producers were originally looking for someone British and much older until the network suggested color-blind casting.
Surprised by Cho and co-star Karen Gillan's chemistry in the pilot, Kapnek hinted at a possible coupling. "It's definitely something we want to grow slowly."
In a recent interview, Cho called his casting, "revolutionary."
"It’s certainly a personal revolution for me,” said Cho. “Asians narratively in shows are insignificant. They’re the cop, or the waitress, or whatever it is. You see them in the background. So to be in this position . . . is a bit of a landmark."
Richard Shotwell / AP
Audiences excited by the casting of John Cho in the upcoming sitcom, "Selfie," now wonder, could he be one of the first Asian-American actors to play a romantic lead?
First published July 21 2014, 7:22 AM
Frances Kai-Hwa Wang
Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a freelance writer and speaker based in Michigan and Hawaii. She has been a contributor for AAPIVoices.com, NewAmericaMedia.org, ChicagoIsTheWorld.org, PacificCitizen.org, InCultureParent.com. She has published three chapbooks of prose poetry and been included in several journals, anthologies, and art exhibitions. She teaches Asian Pacific American Studies and writing, and she speaks nationally on Asian Pacific American issues.
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