Disney+ announces the cast of its American Born Chinese graphic novel adaptation, which includes Michelle Yeoh and Daniel Wu.
Disney+ has announced the main cast of its adaptation of American Not Chinese.
Among those joining the cast are Michelle Yeoh, Ben Wang, Yeo Yann Yann, and Daniel Wu. The full cast list and official character descriptions are below:
- Michelle Yeoh will play Guanyin, “an unassuming aunt, who helps her nephew Wei-Chen meet the challenges of American high school while maintaining her secret identity as an all-powerful Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion.” Yeoh worked in Chinese martial arts films for a long time before becoming an international star. Her recent roles include Ying Nan in Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Philippa Georgiou in Star Trek: Discovery.
- Ben Wang will direct the series as Jin Wang, an American teenager “who struggles to carve out exactly who he is meant to be socially and culturally.” Wang has made television appearances on shows like MacGuyver, the Last OG and To look for Partyas well as writing and directing a short film titled Walter and France.
- Yeo Yann Yann will play Jin’s mother, Christine, “a strong-willed and opinionated woman with a devious mind, who loves her family deeply.” Yann Yann’s past credits include Singapore Dream, ilo ilo and Wet Season.
- Chin Han will play Jin’s father, Simon, “a hard-working, devoted father and husband who bumps into the ‘bamboo ceiling’ of his job.” Genre fans will recognize Han as having played Shang Tsung in Mortal fighting.
- Jim Liu will play Jin’s friend Wei-Chen, “a teenager who has just arrived in the United States, whose sweet demeanor belies the deeper mystery of his true identity.”
- Sydney Taylor will play Jin’s classmate and crush Amelia, “a friendly ‘All-American’ girl.” Taylor has previously co-starred in the Amazon Prime children’s series Correct To add Magic: Mystery City.
- Daniel Wu will play the Monkey King Sun Wukong, “the legendary and all-powerful god of Chinese epic Travel westwho enters our world in search of her son.” Wu previously starred as Sonny, a character loosely based on the Monkey King, in AMC’s martial arts drama. In the Badlands.
- Ke Huy Quan will play Freddy Wong, “a fictional character from a popular mid-1990s sitcom.” Quan made his film debut as Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Loss and has since starred in films like Second Time About and Discovery Ohana.
Based on the 2006 graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang, American Not Chinese follows the story of Jin Wang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants who struggles to fit in at his American high school. When he meets a strange foreign student, Jin finds himself “unwittingly entangled in a battle of Chinese mythological gods” in an “action-packed coming-of-age adventure” that “explores identity, culture, and family”. Kelvin Yu will serve as showrunner while Destin Daniel Cretton will direct the series.
Since its release, American Not Chinese has received praise for its exploration of racial identity, assimilation, and struggles. It has racked up several awards, including the Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album and the Michael L. Printz Award, which recognizes the best in teenage literature. Gene Luen Yang continued to write other projects like Boxers and Saints (a two-volume graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion), several volumes of Avatar: the Last airbender comics and miniseries Superman crash the clan.
American Not Chinese has not yet received a premiere date.
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