Just when you think there are no more good ideas, the Internet drops one in your news feed.
Stephen Dypiangco and Patrick Epino are up-and-coming independent filmmakers currently raising money on Kickstarter for their brilliantly conceived web series, Awesome Asian Bad Guys. UPDATE: The campaign reached its goal.
Awesome Asian Bad Guys, like most good ideas, is based on a simple premise. Billed as a cross between The Expendables and Dumb and Dumber, it follows two filmmakers who round up Asian villains from old movies to fight a contemporary crime boss.
Say the filmmakers:
“When we were growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, we’d always see hard-hitting Asian bad guys in flicks like Die Hard, Bloodsport, and Karate Kid 2. These badasses were often cooler than the heroes they fought, but they’d usually have a 2-minute lifespan before they were mortally wounded or beaten to a pulp….That got us thinking…”
Indeed, rounding out the cast are some of those once-disposable actors, including Al Leong (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon) and Yuji Okumoto (Karate Kid 2).
Why do I love this project so much? Awesome Asian Guys is a direct response to Hollywood’s neglect of Asian-Americans actors and its refusal to develop star vehicles for these artists.
A big part of my mission with Televisual is to show how expansive television and film production has become, showcasing the work of independent producers trying to broaden our cultural conversation.
Minorities of all kinds have a tough time with Hollywood. It ebbs and flows, of course. The number of gay characters on television is at, for example, a record high (mostly white, however). And women of color are seeing some small signs of labor progress: Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project is a critical hit and ratings survivor, and Awkward Black Girl showrunner Issa Rae recently sold a Shondaland show to ABC. Indian actors have been slightly en vogue in the last few years.
But for the most part Asian Americans remain woefully underrepresented behind and in front of the camera. Lead roles for Asian-American actors are few and far between, and forget about roles that play against stereotype. Many Asian actors spend entire careers jumping between “best friend” and “martial arts henchmen.” This is a political issue, a labor discrepancy that’s never been fully addressed. No wonder Awesome Asian Bad Guys counts Phil Yu (Angry Asian Man) among its strongest supporters — visit AAM and you’ll see the show’s logo before the homepage.
Awesome Asian Bad Guys is about 40% into its $50,000 all-or-nothing fundraising goal. To donate, visit its Kickstarter page.