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‘Hacks’ Star Poppy Liu Joins ‘American Born Chinese’ Disney+ Series

Poppy Liu (Hacks) has joined the cast of “American Born Chinese,” a genre-hopping action-comedy series, based on the graphic novel of the same name by Gene Luen Yang.   Liu will reportedly have a guest-starring role.

Liu will star alongside Ben Wang (MacGyver), Yeo Yann Yann (Wet Season), Chin Han (Mortal Kombat), Daniel Wu (Reminiscence),  former Taekwondo champion Jim Liu, Sydney Taylor (Just Add Magic), Michelle Yeoh (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), Ke Huy Quan (Finding Ohana) and Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once).

“American Born Chinese” tells the story of Jin Wang, an average teenager juggling his high school social life with his immigrant home life. 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 show is a genre-hopping action-comedy that explores issues of identity, culture, and family.

Cast breakdown is as follows:

  • 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.
  • Stephanie Hsu as Shiji Niangniang, the Goddess of Stones, who works in a modern day jewelry shop along with her magical dog.

Destin Daniel Cretton (Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Short Term 12) is set to direct and executive-produce.

Last month, Disney announced that celebrated Asian-American fashion designers Prabal Gurung and Phillip Lim have joined forces to create costumes for the upcoming Disney+ Original Series “American Born Chinese.”  In their first-ever professional collaboration, the pair will work together with “American Born Chinese” costume designer Joy Cretton to design costumes for culturally significant characters from Chinese mythology and classic literature portrayed in the series by stars Michelle Yeoh and Daniel Wu.

Emmy® Award-winning writer/producer Kelvin Yu (“Bob’s Burgers,” “Central Park”) serves as executive producer and showrunner.  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.

20th Television produces the Disney Branded Television series.

“American Born Chinese” began production last February in Los Angeles.  A premiere date for the series has not been announced yet.

Liu had her break-out role as Kiki on the Emmy-winning HBO Max series Hacks. Other credits include AMC’s upcoming anthology series Tales of the Walking Dead and Amazon’s upcoming series adaptation of Dead Ringers starring Rachel Weisz as well as Sunnyside Better Call Saul, iCarly, Dollface, and New Amsterdam.

Source: Variety

Michelle Beck
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