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"Yes! Finally!" Michelle Yeoh rejoices about Asian representation in 'Marvel's Shang-Chi'

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Edwin Koo/amfAR/Getty Images for amfAR(LOS ANGELES) — As part of the magazine’s TIME 100 Talks, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Michelle Yeoh enthused about the overwhelming Asian representation in her latest film, Marvel Studios Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Yeoh, who also appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, celebrated the casting of Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu as Marvel Studios’ first Asian lead. “When that movie was announced last year and they introduced who they were doing as the Marvel superhero and it was an Asian superhero, it was like, ‘Yes, finally!’ When do we get to be represented like that?”

Yeoh credits one of her films with helping wake Hollywood up, when it comes to casting. “When Crazy
Rich Asians came out, it changed the map,” the actress said of the blockbuster. “It changed the whole way Asians were represented and seen. We were no longer invisible. We were no longer just a token. We were really represented in a contemporary way.”

Yeoh was already a superstar stunt performer and actor overseas before many Americans were introduced to her, in the 1997 James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies, in which she played a Chinese counterpart to Pierce Brosnan’s suave 007. “…[O]nce I got to America, I was like, I’m really a minority here and I have no representation,” Yeoh recalled.

“I think the turning point really came when I did the James Bond movie… It was a proud moment because here is a Chinese woman who is standing…toe-to-toe with the greatest spy in the world, James Bond. It made such a huge difference in the way we Asians were looked at.”

Shang-Shi, which also stars Awkwafina and Rosalind Chao, opens May 7, 2021.

Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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