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No White Washing in Patriots Day

Jimmy Yang
Jimmy Yang plays the role of Dun Meng in Patriots Day
Photo by RCR

The little known story of Dung Meng, an Asian American whose SUV was hijacked by the Boston Marathon bombers in 2013, will be told in Patriots Day. The movie starring Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon and  John Goodman opened nationwide this weekend.

While only a subplot in the movie, it’s refreshing to see that Meng’s story has not been whitewashed the way the 2008 flick 21 whitewashed Jeff Ma’s story.

Ma was an Asian American MIT student who’s successful card counting system beat the casinos and lead some to ban him from playing. In the movie, Ma’s role was played by London-born Jim Sturgess.

Meng is being played by Jimmy Yang who is currently seen in a recurring role in the HBO hit, Silicon Valley.

“He’s a real-life hero, honestly,” Yang says about Meng to Time. “My job was just to make it authentic and make the story come to light about how heroic an everyday person could be—an immigrant. I really relate to that.”

The movie has given Meng’s story a greater profile. The real life Meng was featured in an exclusive interview with People.

Meng was ordered at gunpoint by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to move to the passenger seat while they escape the scene of the Boston Marathon. The explosion of two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line killed three and left an estimated 264 injured.

Meng eventually escaped on foot from the brothers and his bravery is credited with the arrest of both men. The impact of the incident probably will never go away.

“I had a very difficult time with what happened,” Meng said. “I wanted to feel like I’m safe. I didn’t want to go out of my room.”

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