The Lookout: Yuka Saso’s Landmark Win, ‘Kim’s Convenience’ Stars’ Frustrations with Writers and More

Editor’s note: Adapted from our monthly listicles, “The Lookout” is our new weekly series bringing you the latest scoop of what’s happening in AAPI entertainment. We’re doing the legwork, so you don’t have to. 

Simu Liu (Photo by Melly Lee) and Jean Yoon (Photo by Jon Endow) have both expressed frustrations with the overtly racist storylines in the Canadian sitcom “Kim’s Convenience”‘s final season.

Last week, Simu Liu took to Facebook to express frustrations with the lack of consideration for Asian voices while creating the storyline for “Kim’s Convenience.” Jean Yoon also publicly voiced how the producers of the show did not accept more input from the Asian Canadian cast members, and both stars along with other cast members expressed concerns after some of the show’s storylines were overtly racist and culturally inaccurate. Liu also expressed disbelief in how the writers decided to give the only white character a spinoff series.

Latest releases this past weekend include “The Misfits,” “Wish Dragon,” “Trese,” “Starstruck,” “In the Heights” and “Skater Girl.” (Photo by Audrey Ryu.)

This past week saw the release of many AAPI-led movies and TV series including new romantic comedies, musicals and dramas. 

Leading the weekend was Warner Bros. highly-anticipated “In the Heights,” directed by “Crazy Rich Asians”’ Jon M. Chu. “In the Heights” is the adaptation of Lin Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical of the same name and follows the lives of citizens in New York City’s Washington Heights. The film was released in theaters and can be streamed on HBO Max for 30 days. 

Viewers can also stream HBO Max’s newest rom-com series, “Starstruck.” The show is centered around a young woman who discovers she has slept with an incredibly famous film star, played by half-Samoan screenwriter and actress Rose Matafeo and British Indian actor Nikesh Patel respectively, and has already been renewed for a second season. 

Action-lovers can rejoice with Jamie Chung’s newest film, “The Misfits,” a high-stakes heist film with a diverse ensemble cast that includes Pierce Brosnan, Nick Cannon and Thai actor Mike Angelo. The movie follows a skilled team who liken themselves to modern-day Robin Hoods as they steal millions in gold bars to stop the funding of terrorist groups worldwide. 

Netflix subscribers can check out the long-awaited “Wish Dragon,” an animated film starring John Cho and Jimmy Wong about a man who dreams of reuniting with his childhood friend and encounters a wish-granting dragon who shows him the magic of possibilities. 

Netflix also released “Trese,” a new anime based on the award-winning Filipino comic series. Helmed by Filipino American superstars Shay Mitchell, Manny Jacinto, Dante Basco, Darren Criss and Lou Diamond Phillips, the series tells the story of Alexandra Trese (voiced by Mitchell), a detective who deals with crimes of supernatural origin. 

Additionally, the streaming giant released the Indian-American film “Skater Girl,” a coming-of-age sports drama by Manjari Makijany. Set in a remote village in India, the film follows a local teenager and a British Indian woman who connect over their cultures and the unexpected freedom of skateboarding.

Award-winning dance and director team Keone and Mari Madrid choreographed the dance featured in “Us Again,” the first Walt Disney Animation short to come out in five years. The story follows an elderly couple living in New York City who rekindle their passion for life and each other through dance. Director Zach Parrish said Keone and Mari were not only brought in to choreograph the dance featured in the film, but they also served as consultants every step of the way. Some other notable choreography of theirs includes Broadway theater shows, Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” music video, numerous BTS music videos and Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA” music video. 

MGM label Orion Pictures has picked up the rights to Michelle Zauner’s critically acclaimed memoir, “Crying in H Mart,” with Stacey Sher and Jason Kim on board to produce the feature film adaptation. Sher has produced many notable films including “Django Unchained,” “Contagion” and “Erin Brockovich,” while screenwriter Kim has written for Netflix series “Love” and HBO’s “Girls” and “Barry.” Furthermore, Zauner’s Indie Pop Music persona Japanese Breakfast will also provide the soundtrack for the film.

Boy band Korean Soul, made up of singers Sooyong Yoon, Young J, Shyun Lee and Jifan Lee, showed off their pipes in a rendition of “All My Life” by K-Ci and JoJo in the second week of Season 16 of America’s Got Talent. The performance earned a standing ovation from AGT audience members and four “yeses” from the judges, with Simon Cowell saying it was “probably one of the best auditions we’ve had today.”

Fashion designer Alexander Wang is presenting his Pre-Fall 2021 collection through a short film called “Sisters,” starring Ashley Wang, Yoa Mizuno and Piya Chitsmaran. The video depicts the three women overturning old rules and thriving in the modern world and workplace while in Wang’s new designs. Additionally, the collection from the film will gradually be revealed from June to August on social media and the designer’s website

Hmong American gymnast, Sunisa Lee, is on track to earn a spot on the Tokyo Olympic team after notably placing second behind Simone Biles at the 2021 U.S. Gymnastics Championship. A favorite for the Tokyo Olympic team, she is set to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials on June 24 in St. Louis. Beyond setting Lee up in a good position for the Olympics, this event also marks the first time in two years the artistic gymnast was supported in person by her father after an accident left him partially paralyzed. Prior to this, Lee’s father would watch her performances virtually through FaceTime, so he and the rest of Lee’s family were more than happy to drive the 16 hours from Minneapolis to support the rising gymnast.

Half-Filipina half-Japanese golfer, Yuka Saso, won the U.S. Women’s Open at 19 years old after a slow start in last weekend’s tournament. She is the first major champion—male or female—from the Philippines and ties Inbee Park as the youngest winner the U.S. Women’s Open has seen. The two-time Japan LPGA winner then accepted LPGA membership after the round which now comes with a five-year exemption for winning a major. This means Saso can play in the U.S. Women’s Open for the next five years without having to play and win in other qualifying tournaments. 

Tune in next week for another roundup of the latest news in AAPI entertainment!