The upcoming Disney+ orgiinal series based on Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese has announced its cast, and it’s stellar, including Ben Wang (MacGyver) as the main character, Jin Wang, and legendary Michelle Yeoh as Guanyin, an auntie who helps Jin’s friend, Wei-Chen. Plus Ke Huy Quan of The Goonies, and Indian Jones returns as “Freddy Wong,” an awkward character form a 90s sitcom – an interesting meta role for the former child star.
The rest of the cast features two-time International Emmy Award nominee Yeo Yann Yann (Wet Season), Chin Han (Mortal Kombat), Daniel Wu (Reminiscence), former Taekwondo champion Jim Liu and Sydney Taylor (“Just Add Magic”).
Based on Yang’s award-winning graphic novel, American Born Chinese follows Jin Wang, an average teenager juggling his high school social life with his home life. According to the synopsis: “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.”
The show begins filming later this month in Los Angeles with showrunner Kelvin Yu (“Bob’s Burgers,” “Central Park”) at the helm. Destin Daniel Cretton (Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Short Term 12”) is set to direct and serves as executive producer, alongside Melvin Mar and Jake Kasdan (both of “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.” for Disney+, and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Jumanji: The Next Level” feature films), Erin O’Malley (“Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.”), Asher Goldstein (“Short Term 12,” “Just Mercy”) and Gene Luen Yang.
Top, From Left: Michelle Yeoh, Ben Wang, Yeo Yann Yann, Chin Han
Bottom, From Left: Daniel Wu, Ke Huy Quan, Jim Liu, Sydney Taylor
Top, From Left: Thomas Laisne/@Getty Images, Sean Velasco-Dodge, Chen You Wei, Reto Sterchi
Bottom, From Left: Wing Shya, Paul Wong, Josh Monkey, Amy Casson
The cast breakdown:
- Michelle Yeoh as “Guanyin,” 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.
- Ben Wang as “Jin Wang,” an American teen whose parents immigrated from Taiwan, who is struggling to carve out exactly who he’s supposed to be socially and culturally.
- Yeo Yann Yann as Jin’s mom, “Christine Wang,” a strong-willed, opinionated woman with a sly wit, who loves her family deeply.
- Chin Han as Jin’s father, “Simon Wang,” a hard-working, devoted father and husband who is bumping up against the “bamboo ceiling” at his job.
- Daniel Wu as 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 as “Freddy Wong,” a fictional character from a popular mid-1990s sitcom.
- Jim Liu as 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.
- Sydney Taylor as “Amelia,” a friendly “All-American” girl who is Jin’s classmate and crush.