Anna May Wong’s Lasting Legacy

Anna Could Wong is lastly having her second. The silent movie actor and Hollywood’s first Chinese language American film star just isn’t solely featured on a brand new commemorative US quarter, she’s additionally again on the massive display because the inspiration for the confident Girl Fay Zhu in Damien Chazelle’s present entry within the Oscar race, the ’20s business story Babylon.

Wong delivered many daring and daring performances in her almost 60-film profession, most famously in 1932’s Shanghai Categorical reverse Marlene Dietrich. However she confronted extreme racism and xenophobia, and was typically relegated to stereotypical roles. “Why is it that the display Chinese language is almost all the time the villain of the piece, and so merciless a villain—murderous, treacherous, a snake within the grass,” she advised Movie Weekly in 1933. “We’re not like that.” Even when Wong auditioned a number of instances for a job that appeared tailored for her—the lead in The Good Earth, which facilities on a Chinese language farming household—the half was given to white actor Luise Rainer, who gained an Oscar for it.

For Li Jun Li, who performs Babylon’s Girl Fay, Wong was “a lone warrior”: “There have been no others like her. She was remoted however obstinate in her battle towards discrimination and typecasting.” Regardless of the whole lot, Wong was the primary Asian American to star in her personal tv collection and the primary to obtain a star on the Hollywood Stroll of Fame. With a Gemma Chan–fronted biopic additionally within the works, her star is barely poised to get brighter.

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