Andi Mack star Lilan Bowden will sit in the director’s chair for Becoming Eddie a comedy short from Ed Lee (The Drew Carey Show, Are You There, Chelsea?). The two have partnered to launch a fundraising campaign for the project which puts the lens on growing up as an Asian American kid in the 1980s, a time when first-generation children of immigrants were expected to assimilate.
Written by Lee and based on his own experiences, the film follows a Korean American boy in ’80s New Jersey who makes a wish to be popular with his mostly white classmates, then wakes up with the voice of the world’s most famous foul-mouthed standup comedian. Helen Hong, who is known for her role in The Thundermans and recently starred in the untitled Jessica Gao pilot, will co-produce and star alongside Charles Kim (Grace & Frankie, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend). Joyce Liu-Countryman is set to produce.
“Helen Hong and I both got to be in a tiny group of actors representing Asian American families on TV, and both our shows won’t be continuing after this year,” said Bowden, who starred in Andi Mack for three seasons. The finale of the groundbreaking GLAAD Media Award-winning and Peabody Award-nominated Disney Channel series will air on July 26.
“With Becoming Eddie, it’s a way for us to use our opportunities and platforms to keep putting Asian American families back on the screen and keep that fight for representation going,” she continued, “Ed, Helen, Joyce, and I have all been representing Asian Americans in media at the whims of the shows that have hired us and this time, we’re taking that power in our hands and telling the stories we want to. Ed’s story is relatable but also so personal in his experience growing up Asian American. I think this film will share a narrative that so many of us have, but don’t get to see in media all that often.”
Lee’s Becoming Eddie, which currently has its fundraising campaign, is a hybrid of Big, Drunk History, The Bad News Bears and a dash of Eddie Murphy’s Raw. Bowden has worked on various Funny or Die videos and Becoming Eddie will mark her narrative directorial debut.
“The story is based on my childhood when, as much as I tried to fit in, I still looked different, ate different foods, and my parents spoke a different language,” Lee explains. “What gave me solace and connection to others was movies, TV, and especially comedy. Our lead character Yong tries to relate to his mostly white classmates through his favorite comedian. Through the story, he learns that he needs to be more accepting of himself and less ashamed of his heritage before seeking the acceptance of others.”
Bowden is repped by Abrams Artists Agency and Seven Summits.