EXCLUSIVE: After teaming in the Disney/Marvel film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Michelle Yeoh is set to top an international cast for the Destin Daniel Cretton-directed Disney+ fantastical series American Born Chinese. She will star alongside Ben Wang (MacGyver), Yeo Yann Yann (Wet Season), Chin Han (Mortal Kombat), Daniel Wu (Reminiscence), Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All At Once and as a child he starred in Goonies and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), former Taekwondo champion Jim Liu and Sydney Taylor (Just Add Magic).
Produced by 20th Television for Disney Branded Television, American Born Chinese will begin production this month in Los Angeles. The genre-hopping action comedy is adapted from Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel by Emmy-winning writer-producer Kelvin Yu (Bob’s Burgers, Central Park) who is EP and showrunner. Cretton directs and is also EP alongside Melvin Mar and Jake Kasdan, Erin O’Malley, Asher Goldstein and Gene Luen Yang.
Yeoh, whose film work includes Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Crazy Rich Asians, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. II and James Cameron’s upcoming Avatar sequels, with TV credits including Star Trek: Discovery and the upcoming The Witcher: Blood Origin, here will play Guanyin. She is an unassuming auntie who helps her nephew Wei-Chen navigate the challenges of American high school while maintaining her secret identity as the all-powerful Buddhist bodhisattva of Compassion. The series focuses on Jin Wang, an average teenager juggling his high school social life with his home life. When he meets a new foreign student on the first day of the school year, even more worlds collide as Jin unwittingly is entangled in a battle of Chinese mythological gods. The action-packed coming-of-age adventure explores identity, culture and family.
Wang plays Jin Wang, the American teen whose parents immigrated from Taiwan and who is struggling to carve out exactly who he’s supposed to be, socially and culturally. Yann Yann plays Jin’s mom, Christine Wang, a strong-willed, opinionated woman with a sly wit, who loves her family deeply. Han plays Jin’s father Simon, a hard-working, devoted father and husband who is bumping up against the “bamboo ceiling” at his job.
Wu plays Sun Wukong “The Monkey King,” the legendary, all-powerful god of the Chinese epic Journey to the West, who enters our world in search of his son. Quan plays Freddy Wong, a fictional character from a popular mid-1990s sitcom. Liu plays Jin’s confident friend Wei-Chen, a teen who has just arrived in the United States, whose sweet demeanor belies the deeper mystery of his true identity. And Taylor plays Amelia, a friendly “all-American” girl who is Jin’s classmate and crush.
Yeoh’s deal was made by David Unger of Artist International Group.