After starring in Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Chinese-American actor Fala Chen said she’s still being typecast for potential movies and TV shows.
Responding to questions from reporters on Tuesday for the HBO series “Irma Vep,” Chen, 40, revealed that after her role as Ying Li in “Shang-Chi”, she has been offered roles for Asian characters who can only speak Chinese.
†After Shang-Chi, we’re getting more calls that I’m playing an Asian character who only speaks Chinese,” Chen told AsiaOne† “I feel like I personally, as a person, have a lot more to give. So it feels like we’re constantly fighting that.”
Before appearing in the 2021 Marvel hit, featuring a predominantly Asian castChen was already an established star of television in Hong Kong, best known for her roles on such series as “Steps” (2007) and “Triumph in the Skies II” (2013).
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†Towards the end of my time on TV shows in Hong Kong, I ran into a bottleneck and I just knew I had to do something about it,” Chen said. Harper’s Bazaar in September 2021. “I’ve worked so hard for so long and filmed literally 20 hours a day non-stop for several months. It was so hard – it really broke me psychologically.”
Chen left Hong Kong in 2014 and moved to the United States to study at The Juilliard School, where she received her Masters of Fine Arts degree.
In “Shang-Chi”, Chen plays the mother of the titular character, Ying Li, who guards the mythical land of Ta Lo and later falls in love with Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung† In “Irma Vep”, Chen plays Cynthia Keng, a Hong Kong star, chosen by René Vidal (Vincent Macaigne) to appear alongside Mira (Alicia Vikander) in “Les Vampires”, the film in the show.
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When she was typecast, Chen told AsiaOne that she would “always have this feeling, like, ‘Why did they cast me in this particular role?'” She also said that she “had previously felt like she was a symbolic Chinese or Asian used to be.”
†It feels like there is still a limit to many people’s imaginations [on] what an actor is capable of beyond the color of their skin,” Chen noted.
Recalling her huge fame in Hong Kong, Chen said what she was going through there was “extremely expensive”, explaining that in the process she had to give up her privacy and name.
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All that aside, Chen will still continue acting, noting that she is “confident in” [her] work]”, even after the transition from television in Hong Kong to Hollywood.
†I don’t feel like I need validation to prove myself,” Chen said. “But I think I’m ambitious and greedy – I’m always looking for the next level, the next challenge and the next big project that gives me interests. me.”
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Featured image via HBO