Trying to get back into the blogging groove and saw that there’s been a steady stream of heated messages squatting the inbox from people concerning Wayne Wang’s comments about me and other Asian American filmmakers during his press junket for Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
I usually don’t comment on this sort of stuff but these folks seemed particularly worked up by it. They called him names and wanted him to apologize. Here’s a sample of what he said:
On the state of Asian American cinema…
“If you think about how many Asian American films are made in a truthful way, there are none. If I go to a studio and say “I want to make Lisa See’s book” they would laugh at me because there is no audience. They’ll say, they’ll make a Latino film or a Tyler Perry film before they get to an Asian American film. That’s why it’s pretty rare that Florence Sloan and Wendi Murdoch would back a film like this (Snow Flower) and get it done in China. Ang Lee started with films like these but gave up on it. Justin Lin has given up since Better Luck Tomorrow.”
On the projects we “younger guys” choose…
“We can’t sell Asian because there isn’t a box office for it. Nobody’s interested in telling a good story because they’ll just lose money on it. All these younger guys who are coming up and doing movies like Fast and Furious”
On Chinese imports like John Woo’s Red Cliff…
“They keep making the same kind of thing — these big, epic sword-fighting period dramas. I don’t think a lot of these filmmakers are great storytellers.”
After reading the comments, I’m here to say, chill. It’s all good. No need for apologies. He’s not a “hypocrite” or a “hater.” Sure I was a bit confused at first. After all, Wayne and I have had conversations over meals about the struggles of making Asian American films in the past (and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have Alzheimer’s). But then I realized… Maybe he is saying this out of pure love.
Maybe he is the Tiger Mom I never had.
And just like a good Tiger Mom, he just wants what is best for me. For us. So throw logic, common sense and hell…facts out the window!
See, I never knew I had given up on making Asian American films since BLT. I guess all the Asian American projects I’m developing, producing, and have made since BLT are just not enough. Hell, this site is not enough, fellow Offenders! We can always do better. No more screwing around, running up our credit cards and going into debt (btw, does this make Wendi Murdoch a Sugar Tiger Daddy now?). We just have to focus on working tirelessly to make Tiger Mom proud.
John Woo, even though you’re a global cinematic icon, you can still do better. I believe you can tell a story. Wayne just wants you to challenge yourself. So no more sleepovers with Chow Yun Fat.
Ang Lee, even with two Oscars, you should never give up on anything. Wayne cares. So no more playdates with James Schamus. After all, John Ford won four Oscars for directing so you have some catching up to do.
Don’t worry Wayne, I get your message loud and clear. I’m ready to put my own dream aside to please you. My agent is already calling Amy Tan’s people. Bottom line, I’m going to work even harder to make you proud (either that or develop a coke habit). Win-Win, right?
Thank you, Wayne. You complete me as an Asian American. I love you, my Tiger Mom!
(thanks to Offender David for the pix)