Former ATV Actress Kathy Wu is Fighting for Asian American Representation in Hollywood

By on August 1, 2018 in Movies, NEWS

Former ATV Actress Kathy Wu is Fighting for Asian American Representation in Hollywood

Kathy Wu (吳嘉星) is a woman on a mission. The former ATV star dropped her 8-year career in Hong Kong for a new start in California, USA, her home state. Even after all these years, Kathy hasn’t given up on her dream of becoming a writer.

Kathy understands the struggle. To succeed in an industry that is notoriously difficult for Asian Americans to break into, it takes a lot of patience, hard work, and dedication.

The 34-year-old, who is in the midst of writing her debut screenplay, shared, “I’ve lived in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, New York, and Los Angeles. I’ve experienced and observed the lives of different city folk, and I really wanted to write about the things I’ve seen in a screenplay. What Asian actors need in Hollywood is an opportunity. They need a story about them. Now that there are more accessible platforms for creators out there, why not use this opportunity to write about what we want?”

Kathy’s story centers on a father and daughter who are going into different stages in their life. After the father remarries, his relationship with his daughter deteriorates, widening the border between them. In her latest trip back to Hong Kong, she met up with Best Actor winners Anthony Wong (黃秋生) and Gordon Lam (林家棟) to ask for their advice on her script.

“Anthony thought it was not bad, as the story was able to use a seemingly insignificant story to reflect what the society’s going through right now. Gordon gave me a lot of advice. We sat together for nearly an hour discussing the script.” Kathy first wrote the script in English before translating it into Chinese. She wants the movie to be shot in both Hong Kong and Los Angeles and will fight for the opportunity to direct the film herself.

Scriptwriting isn’t the only project Kathy that has been busy with. Upon her return to Hollywood, Kathy will be taking two classes led by Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio. She said with excitement, “You need to audition to earn a seat in his class! He’ll look at your resume before deciding if he wants to accept you. If it looks too ‘green’ [unprepared] then he’ll tell you to come back later. Even Tobey Maguire was at one of his classes! There is also another class on commedia dell’arte (improvised comedy) which you also need to audition for. I am the only Asian in the entire class. I had to audition three times to get accepted. I’m sure I’ll get to learn a lot. As an Asian actor, I need to upgrade myself in order to fight for opportunities.”

Whitewashing has always been a problem in Hollywood, but is it true that Asian actors experience discrimination in the industry? Kathy carefully said, “I feel that Asian actors are getting a lot more opportunities nowadays. Ten years ago, you literally the same few Asian actors in Hollywood films. The situation is looking better now, but we definitely still need to fight for opportunities. Perhaps it’s in the Asian culture, [specifically] the Chinese culture, to be quiet and composed—we’re not really aggressive when it comes to fighting for opportunities, but now is the time for us to speak up and tell the stories we want to tell.”


This article is written by Addy for

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Former ATV Actress Kathy Wu is Fighting for Asian American Representation in Hollywood

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  • 3 comments to Former ATV Actress Kathy Wu is Fighting for Asian American Representation in Hollywood

    1. anoninhk says:

      Tobey Maguire is Leo DiCaprio’s best friend apparently. Don’t think he was there for acting tips. Never heard of Kathy Wu but good luck to her.

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    2. llwy12 says:

      I’ve never heard of Kathy Wu either but yes, good luck to her in fighting for Asian / Asian-American representation in a notoriously racist Hollywood. While I do agree that things have gotten better over the years when it comes to acceptance of Asians in Hollywood, it’s still not where it should be / needs to be. There is still way too much stereotyping and whitewashing in Hollywood – the fact that Asians still have to fight so hard for roles that are meant for them (i.e. Hollywood adapts a screenplay where the original role is of Asian descent) speaks volumes. I was watching an interview that “Crazy Rich Asians” author Kevin Kwan did back when his book was optioned for a movie adaptation by Hollywood (the movie comes out this month by the way!) and how he and the director Jon Chu had to fight to get Asians cast in the lead roles (the production company originally was trying to give the roles to white people even though the story is obviously about an Asian family). More recently, Daniel Wu has been railing against Hollywood and the Emmys for shutting his series Into the Badlands out of the nominations – I mean, fine if it’s not nominated for any of the “main” categories, but even stuff like Outstanding Stunt Choreography, they nominated a bunch of series that had little to no stunt work over Daniel’s series (which is known for its stuntwork and choreographed fight scenes).

      So while I appreciate what Kathy is doing and genuinely hope she succeeds, it’s unfortunately an uphill battle, and one that will be twice as hard for her because not only is she Asian, but she’s also a woman (both are considered “lesser classes” in Hollywood). Again, good luck to her and I hope she stands her ground – if I were her, I would rather not make the movie at all rather than have to concede to having it “white-washed” if it comes to that…

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      • mdo7 replied:

        @llwy12 Same here, but you know who else is helping Asian Representation in Hollywood. K-pop idols like BTS. Also because of K-pop idols like BTS, and others (ie: Monsta X, GOT7, Blackpink, Twice, etc…), it’s helping Asian-American in other way.

        Also if Hollywood continue to well ignore Asian-Americans, a lot of them may go to South Korea to become famous because they know K-pop is so big and global. It’s like “If I can’t become famous in Hollywood or top the Billboard 200 chart, I’ll go to South Korea and become a K-pop idol.”

        Case in point: Kreisha Chu, she became the first filipino-American K-pop idol and her debut got a lot of attention in Korea and in the US. So a lot of Asian-Americans are going to realize that South Korea can also make them famous because of the popularity of K-pop and K-dramas. Also you got Tzuyu, Sana, Mina, and Momo of Twice. Those non-Korean K-pop idols are getting a fair amount of attention not only in Korea, but around the world. You don’t need Hollywood, if you’re Asian-American and you can speak a good amount of Korean and want to become a singer, K-pop is the only way to go. Yesterday, I saw a Brazilian shoe tweeted an ad featuring BTS on there. You don’t need Hollywood to become famous, South Korea can also do that too.

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