Views from the Edge
Casting is underway for Tong Wars, an upcoming Amazon teleseries opening up a slew of opportunities for Asian American actors.
Wong Kar-Wai, an indie superstar director in Chinese films, will be directing the series that takes place in 19th-century San Francisco.
According to Variety, “The series is set against the Tong Wars of 19th century San Francisco and tells a story spanning a significant period of time about Chinese immigrants and the clashes between organized-crime families in the city’s Chinatown.”
Wong said he’s attracted to TV because he could take his time telling a story. In this case, the time frame for Tong Wars is from 1905 to 1971.
Wong may find casting difficult because he’s asking for the actors to be fluent in Cantonese and American English. But he’s put out the call and if you fit the bill, you’re encouraged to audition. Here are the parts:
What makes this series so intriguing is the involvement of Wong. To give you an idea of how big he is, it would be as if Martin Scorsese decided to do a TV series.
His lyricism in romanctic films ChungKing Express and fan favorite In the Mood for Love create moods as well as allow the actors to express subtle emotions such as longing and unrequited love.
The big screen and television “are just different canvases to paint their work, to show their ideas and tell their stories,” Wong explained.
IndieWire describes the plot as “[following] the lives of Shanghai residents from the end of China’s Cultural Revolution in the early ‘60s through the end of the 20th century, with some scenes set in San Francisco.” The director further elaborated his personal connection to that film, saying, “Shanghai is my hometown and the time that the book describes is the time of my absence because I went to Hong Kong when I was 19, in ’63, I hadn’t been back to Shanghai until the early nineties. This is my opportunity for me to fill in all the things that I have missed.
“So its a long story.”
“The thing that attracted me to this project was the first opportunity to tell the story of the first Chinese American experience in the most authentic and proper way, because I think there aren’t many films about this experience,” said Wong.
With casting just beginning, don’t expect to see Tong Wars on Amazon until 2019.
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