“A Leading Man” puts an Asian male center stage

Jack Yang (center) plays GQ Qi, a struggling Asian male actor trying to make it in Hollywood in "A Leading Man." (photo courtesy of "A Leading Man")
Jack Yang (center) plays GQ Qi, a struggling Asian male actor trying to make it in Hollywood in “A Leading Man.”
(photo courtesy of “A Leading Man”)

Meniscus Magazine was on the set of “A Leading Man,” a film written and directed by Steven J. Kung. We visited the shoot on location at a house in West Hollywood and talked to Kung, producer Justin Bell and actor Jack Yang.

Kung explained how he came up with the idea for the script.  “I originally came to Hollywood because I was sick of seeing Asian men in particular emasculated in front of the camera,” he said. “No one was making the films that would portray Asian American men in a more well-rounded way.”

“My character is a struggling Asian male actor in Hollywood,” said Yang, who plays the lead role of GQ, short for Guoquiao.  “He is trying to make ends meet and trying to make a name for himself.”

“I think the film asks the question of, ‘Why do you have these expectations of yourself?’,” Bell said.  “GQ is a guy who is trying to figure that out.  He’s got all the talent in the world, he’s got a lot of friends and people around him, but a lot of his struggle is with himself.”

“GQ makes some very poor decisions in this movie,” Bell added.  “Even in some of my notes to Steven early on, I was like, ‘Would somebody really make this poor of a choice?’ His response was, ‘Absolutely yes, and the character is GQ!'”

In regards to the struggle of getting roles in real life – whether because of his ethnicity or due to the lack of availability of parts – Yang replied, “A lot of times, it’s like a quiet racism.”

For more information about the movie, currently being submitted to film festivals, go to aleadingman.com.

For more of Meniscus Magazine’s interview with Kung, Bell and Yang, watch our YouTube video below.

Video: Behind the scenes of Steven J. Kung’s “A Leading Man”

interview by Jim Higgins / Meniscus Magazine
video by Michael La Breche / Meniscus Magazine
editing by Lindsay Morrison / Meniscus Magazine