American Born Chinese has found its stars. The Disney+ series directed by Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton has cast Michelle Yeoh, who appeared in the hit Marvel Studios film last year, in a leading role.
Joining Yeoh is a top international cast that includes Ben Wang (MacGyver), Yeo Yann Yann (Wet Season), Chin Han (Mortal Kombat), Daniel Wu (Reminiscence), Ke Huy Quan (Finding Ohana), former Taekwondo champion Jim Liu and Sydney Taylor (Just Add Magic), Deadline has learned.
American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he’s the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny’s life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable. American Born Chinese is an amazing ride, all the way up to the astonishing climax.
Michelle Yeoh will play Guanyin. She is an unassuming auntie who helps her nephew Wei-Chen navigate the challenges of American high school while maintaining her secret identity as the all-powerful Buddhist bodhisattva of Compassion. The series focuses on Jin Wang, an average teenager juggling his high school social life with his home life. When he meets a new foreign student on the first day of the school year, even more worlds collide as Jin is unwittingly entangled in a battle of Chinese mythological gods. The action-packed coming-of-age adventure explores identity, culture, and family.
en Wang plays Jin Wang, the American teen whose parents immigrated from Taiwan, and who is struggling to carve out exactly who he’s supposed to be, socially and culturally. Yeo Yann Yann plays Jin’s mom, Christine Wang, a strong-willed, opinionated woman with a sly wit, who loves her family deeply. Chin Han plays Jin’s father Simon, a hard-working, devoted father and husband who is bumping up against the “bamboo ceiling” at his job.
Daniel Wu plays Sun Wukong “The Monkey King,” the legendary, all-powerful god of the Chinese epic Journey to the West, who enters our world in search of his son. Ke Huy Quan plays Freddy Wong, a fictional character from a popular mid-1990s sitcom. Jim Liu plays Jin’s confident friend Wei-Chen, a teen who has just arrived in the United States, whose sweet demeanor belies the deeper mystery of his true identity. And Sydney Taylor plays Amelia, a friendly “All-American” girl who is Jin’s classmate and crush.
The action-comedy series is being written by Bob’s Burgers exec producer Kelvin Yu and his brother, Charles Yu (Westworld), the series is executive produced by Melvin Mar and Jake Kasdan (Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.). Asher Goldstein (Just Mercy) and Gene Luen Yang are also executive producers. Kelvin Yu serves as showrunner on the series. Casting on the project has commenced with announcements in the coming weeks.
American Born Chinese is the winner of the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award, a 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature, the winner of the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album: New, an Eisner Award nominee for Best Coloring, a 2007 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, and a New York Times bestseller. Gene Luen Yang was the fifth the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and is a MacArthur Fellow, a recipient of what’s popularly known as the MacArthur “Genius” Grant.