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News From the Lake for July 30th, 2014


A slow news week, so let’s discuss a possible biopic in the works and what’s new on DVD.

Take this with a grain of salt but there’s allegedly a biopic about Chinese-American actress, Anna May Wong, in the works. The only source is the headline of a post on IndieWire’s Women and Hollywood blog. The actual story just runs down a brief synopsis of Wong’s career without any actual information on the film itself. While doing some digging I found an article on saying X-Men: Days of Future Past star Fan Bingbing is in talks to star as Wong in a biopic entitled, Dragon Lady, being produced by Shanghai-based studio Fundamental Films. Wong certainly deserves a biopic, but anything short of a Hollywood production is going to limit the audience appeal. Either way, it’ll be intriguing to see how this develops.

New on DVD

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Warner Archive: Glenn Ford is the man of the hour in Warner Archive’s crop of titles this week. Titles include: The White Tower (1950) with Alida Valli, Ford opposite Nina Foch in Young Man With Ideas (1952), tackling the courtroom in Trial (1955), co-starring opposite Donna Reed in Ransom! (1956), and two WWII-era features, Imitation General and Torpedo Run (both 1958). You can order all of these via Warner Archive’s website.

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Kristen Lopez View All

A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.

6 thoughts on “News From the Lake for July 30th, 2014 Leave a comment

  1. Hi ,
    you’re totlly wrong as Anna May Wong was a chinese american and born in the States , her hometown is not Shanghai ! As asians are too critically of her accepting roles (she had to make a living! ) , i think the film won’t be accurate . We’ll see- guess it will turn out like that Flynn biopic years ago…….not too good !

    • You’re definitely correct and I’ve retracted the “hometown” line as that was incorrect. And the accuracy of biopics is always in question. If you’re read my sufferings in Biopic Theater you know how awful Hollywood can be about spotlighting its own. Thanks for reading!

  2. Anna May Wong was American. She wasn’t even a new American. She was 3rd generation American. Her story is not a Chinese story. It is an American story about an American woman who grew up in America worked in Hollywood (a place in America) and suffered racism in her country, America. She had an American voice too.

    Having a Chinese actress play her, dishonors her history in Hollywood cinema and is actually a form of white-washing. A Chinese actress playing Anna May Wong states to society that Americans cannot be Asian. A Chinese actress or any Asian (from Asia) actress playing Anna May Wong states Asian-Americans do not have a history in America. An American actress (perhaps a little leeway for a Canadian) should play her. It is a chance to show an American story with an American actress about a talented and beautiful American actress. Why would her story limit audience appeal? What is not appealing about a sexy eloquent talented American actress biopic. I’m sure there will be sexy scenes–perhaps a love scene, a fight. She was surrounded by white co-workers anyway if the thought of an Asian lead is bothersome. Her lovers were white. The cast will probably be mostly white too.

    • I’m tempted to see this as sarcasm but will respond in a serious manner. Yes, Wong was American and I’ve retracted the statement about her being born in China, that was a mistake on my part. Unfortunately, Hollywood isn’t interested in telling Anna’s story and smaller studios in foreign countries are the only means of a biopic being made. They, in some way, identify with her even though she wasn’t born there. I’d love Hollywood to do a big-budget biopic, as I mentioned in my news segment, but Hollywood is still very backward with biopics; if they’re not huge names (predominately white), they won’t go the effort of making a biopic. Wong deserves a biopic, but we’ll probably have to settle with what Fundamental puts out. Thanks for reading!

  3. Fundamental Films has an office in Los Angeles for English language productions and does co-productions. Although it is headquarted in Shanghai, a potential biopic can still have the Hollywood treatment as the company reported last year to be in the works of a co-production with Liam Neeson and another with Luc Besson. Hollywood is really not “Hollywood” anymore. “Hollywood” Movies and TV shows are shot in New York, Georgia, Canada, taking advantage of cheaper locations, non-union workers etc.

    I wasn’t being sarcastic. Aside from screen time for Anna May’s childhood and she did travel to China, her life was surrounded by whites. She also lived in Europe for a time. I don’t envision her biopic with a heavy Asian cast like Joy Luck Club or Flower Drum Song. She was a minority and I’d assume be a minority in a biopic as well.

    Also I’m not being sarcastic about her sex appeal. She was a sex symbol, whether one considers that a merit or not, she was a sex symbol and sex appeal does attract. With the right actress and yes, I’m adamant about a North American playing her unless a Chinese actress can pull a Meryl Streep with the accents, this could be a hit or miss as any other movie. Yet still there surely must be thousand of Asian-American actresses yearning and capable for this role. The movie could fail regardless but a North American actress will increase the chances of success. A Chinese actress choice alienates the Asian-American demographic, part-Asian demographic, non-Asian spouses/companions of Asian-Americans, non-Asian parents of adoptees, and Americans of any ethnicity who would view a Chinese actress in the lead as a “foreign” movie especially if she has an accent or is dubbed. Audiences may not always tell if one is dubbed but it will sound peculiar even if they aren’t aware.

    I could write forever and I don’t want to make a big production out of a movie that has not even been cast but I guess I figure someone in production will read this and I will give a voice. The thing is in Hollywood Native-Americans actors are the bottom of the totem pole in casting. To get more work, they can be Latino since there are more Latino roles. Asians are second to last. Asian-American actors often fake accents, study martial arts for a chance at more roles, can only get a role if it’s “Asian-specific” Many just want to play the waitress, the car dealer, the extra martial lover, the neighbor–the regular person in life. Here is a chance for an American story for an Asian-American female lead that may never happen. It’s like Moncia Belucci playing Lady Gaga (she’s of Italian ancestry). I’m sorry to type so much. I should do this on my own blog.

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