Hudson Yang, the star of ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat debuting Wednesday, is like any other 11-year-old kid.
“I like video games,” he told AsAmNews via email. “I spent a lot of time on set playing with my on-screen brothers, Forrest & Ian, when we weren’t acting or in school.”
Hudson plays Eddie, the show’s main character inspired by celebrity chef Eddie Huang’s memoir.
Forrest is Forrest Wheeler who plays Eddie’s middle brother Emery. Ian is Ian Chen, who got the part of Evan, the youngest of the three siblings.
The three apparently formed a bond in the three months of shooting for the show.
“My favorite game in Minecraft. It’s really fun–it’s never the same game twice. Ian and I are building a mansion.”
Hudson moved with his family from New York to Hollywood for filming and has recently returned to New York.
He says Mandarin is his favorite subject in school because “it’s easy for me anyway, because I’m Chinese.”
Relative to the other two child actors, he is new to acting. His only other role was a small part in an independent film, The Sisterhood of Night.
“I was watching TV with my dad and I just said to him, I think it would be cool to act. My dad has friends who are actors and stuff and he finally took me to an audition for a movie to get me off his back.”
He didn’t get the part, but the experience led him to sign with an agent.
Hudson says he went to the audition of Fresh Off the Boat hoping to get the part of Emery. “They said I wasn’t right for it. Then Eddie sent a message to my dad saying ‘hey, I saw your kid. He should be me.’ So I had to audition AGAIN. But I got it.”
Hudson’s dad is prominent columnist and blogger Jeff Yang. As most 11-year-olds would be, Hudson was unaware of the significance the show has to the Asian American community.
“Then my dad explained to me that it is a big deal for the Asian American community. It’s been so long since there’s been a show like this and if this show is successful, there might be a lot more coming after it.
“My dad explained to me about All American Girl, the last TV show with an all Asian American cast 20 years ago. It feels like we have to make it work or else. There’s a lot of responsibility.”
Eddie Huang has been outspoken about the show, praising it when he thinks its appropriate and calling it out when he doesn’t like something. According to Hudson, Eddie has been fully supportive of him.
“He gave me good advice and just hung out with me like a good friend. Eddie said to me that I shouldn’t change and should just be myself because he thinks that I am a lot like him. He also said not to be too tight–to be loose and easy. I get that.”
Hudson has already experienced the impact television can have on pop culture.
“Even people I don’t know are coming up to me and saying punchlines that they hear in one of the ads. For example, today my friend came up to me and said “I need white people food. It’s pretty funny.”