"I'm sitting here that James Hong of 1954 to nowadays and I don't see much change in my lifetime. For some reason the Asian Americans are still cast into little slots, little pigeon holes. If you look at TV and the movies the roles are still very gimmicky, it's a novelty, the roles are not really principle characters in the American walk of life."
About This Interview
In his Archive interview, James Hong talks about his career as one of the most recognizable Asian-American character actors, discussing his experiences appearing in such TV series as: The New Adventures of Charlie Chan, Kung Fu, Hawaii Five-O, Seinfeld, and The Big Bang Theory. Additionally, he speaks about his featured role in the film Blade Runner ("I just do eyes"), how he came to write the story for an episode of Bachelor Father, and how his casting in the miniseries Marco Polo was a career highpoint (having initially lost the role).
Hong describes how little has changed for Asian-American actors in terms of the kinds of roles offered. He notes portrayals, however, in which he either played the role in a non-cliche way (such as a guest role on Dragnet) or worked within the role to create a full-bodied character (such as in the feature film Black Widow). Hong also talks about his agent Bessie Loo, who was Hollywood's main agent for Asian-American actors. James Hong was interviewed in North Hollywood, CA on April 27, 2010; Stephen Bowie conducted the two-and-a-half-hour interview.