Hollywood's movie industry has become more permeable to Asia than ever, especially in 2008, and with that in mind, Aceshowbiz provides a look into the palatable factors.
Lately Hollywood has inserted an element of Asia in many of its feature films. Be it in the setting of the films or in the growing number of performers appearing in the movies, Hollywood film industry indeed has slowly taken in Asian influence. In the past years, the contribution of Asia to the world's biggest entertainment industry has been greater than ever with movies like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "The Ring" and "Kung Fu Hustle" making their mark.
The year of 2008 poses no difference in that matter. It brings in another surge of Asia, spawning high grossing box office movies from "The Forbidden Kingdom" to "Kung Fu Panda". With the coming out of another Asian-influenced film "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" this Friday, August 1, it would be interesting to discuss about the possible causes of the 'Asianization' of Hollywood seen from the escalating interest in Asian pop culture, the budding Asian actors in Hollywood and the growth of the Asian movie industry itself.
When talking about the influence of Asia in the Hollywood movies, one of the basic grounds most likely to affect the presence of Asia in the nowadays feature film would be the continuously growing interest in the Asian culture. Providing the prove for it, "Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" picks up the story of the resurrected Terracotta warriors which is one of China's price possessions, while "Kung Fu Panda" combines both Chinese popular martial art, Kung Fu, and Chinese trademark animal, Panda. "The Love Guru", in the mean time, indirectly takes the subject of Hinduism, a religion originated from Indian subcontinent.
Adding to the three example films, there is "The Dark Knight". Though basically it doesn't expose Asian culture, the Christopher Nolan's blockbuster movie uses Hong Kong as one of its criminal's base since this Chinese territory is known for the place for triad gang and its growing international business trade.
Fresh Flow of Asian Faces
The second possible cause on the growing proportion of Asia in Hollywood is the flowing in of new-breed Asian actors into Hollywood.
One of the rising Hollywood actors rooting from Japan is Masi Oka. Though mostly famous from television series "Heroes", the Golden Globe and Emmy Award-nominated actor has slowly made his transition to the big screen with minor roles in "The Promotion" and "Get Smart". Beside Oka, Chinese actress Liu Yifei has made her breakthrough co-starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li in "The Forbidden Kingdom", while South Korean actors, Rain and Joon Park, gained notice through the Wachowski Brothers' "Speed Racer. Additionally, Singaporean actor Chin Han entered Hollywood through "The Dark Knight".
Last but not least, the 'Asianization' of Hollywood may also be affected by the growth of the Asian movie industry itself. In 2008 only, there are as much as four Hollywood films, "The Eye", "Shutter", "Mirrors" and "Bangkok Dangerous", that are cultivating from popular Asian movies.
Jessica Alba's "The Eye" is the American version of the 2002 Hong Kong horror film of the same name about a young woman who undergoes eye transplant and finds herself to be able to see ghost, while "Shutter" starring Joshua Jackson is a reboot of 2004 Thai horror film. Moreover, the upcoming "Mirrors" which is directed by Alexandre Aja and starring Kiefer Sutherland is made based on the 2003 South Korean horror film "Into the Mirror". Finally, "Bangkok Dangerous" is the remake of 1999 Thai crime film by the Pang Brothers. This Hollywood version stars Nicolas Cage and will be available in theaters on September 5.