The 1961 Asian American film Daniel Dae Kim praises as ‘unapologetically Asian’

The 1961 Asian American film Daniel Dae Kim praises as ‘unapologetically Asian’The 1961 Asian American film Daniel Dae Kim praises as ‘unapologetically Asian’
via Still Watching Netflix, historycomestolife
Daniel Dae Kim, known for his diverse acting roles and advocacy for inclusivity, revealed the impact of a 1961 musical film on his life that he says is “unapologetically Asian.” 
What’s the movie?: The decades-old musical comedy film is Henry Koster’s “Flower Drum Song.” It is an adaptation of the 1958 Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical of the same name, which was based on the 1957 novel by Chinese American author Chin Yang Lee. The film stars Nancy Kwan, James Shigeta, Miyoshi Umeki, Jack Soo, Benson Fong and Juanita Hall.
Nominated for five Academy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards, including for best motion picture – musical or comedy, it achieved a groundbreaking milestone by being the first Hollywood film with a predominantly Asian American cast, portraying a contemporary Asian American narrative. The film was chosen by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 2008.
Challenging stereotypes: Kim highlighted how the film, featuring a completely Asian American cast without accents, challenged stereotypes and showcased the full spectrum of humanity in San Francisco in the ’50s and ’60s. 
“The reason that had such an impact on my life was because when I started acting, it was in the early ‘90s, and I had grown up to think that there were no Asian leading men or leading women,” Kim told KCRW. “I saw this movie one night on VHS, that gives you an idea of when it was, and I remember my jaw was literally hanging open… I thought to myself, I’d been taught all along that we didn’t exist, but we did.” 
To be unapologetically Asian: The film became a receipt of evidence for Kim, reinforcing the idea that institutionalized reasons had limited opportunities for Asian representation. The “Hawaii Five-O” actor also addressed the misconception that Asians couldn’t be funny, pointing out the thriving comedic talent in the industry today that includes Ali Wong, Ronny Chieng, Ken Jeong, Jimmy O. Yang and Jo Koy
“That sense of community is so apparent in every frame [of ‘Flower Drum Song,’” Kim was quoted saying. “The fact that they are unapologetically Asian in this movie is something that we strive for today, to be unapologetic about who you are in general. And the fact that they were doing this back then it just shows you again that it’s not a matter of ‘if.’”
Kim’s latest role is in Netflix’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender” as Fire Lord Ozai, the ruler of the Fire Nation. The highly anticipated live-action series is set for release on Feb. 22. 
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