Part of what makes a good series is a good supporting cast. Han Solo needs a Chewbacca, Frodo Baggins needs a Samwise Gamgee, Aang needs his gang, and Korra needs her "Krew", a cast of characters who can hold their own with the best,
To keep up the artistic integrity of both ATLA and Legend of Korra, I feel casting Asians in lead primary roles like this is extremely necessary, as the franchise is based heavily on Asian culture, Cinema, and sensiblities, it just wouldn't make sense otherwise. You wouldn't cast The Hobbit, with Denzel Washington as Gandalf, despite the fact that he would be able to play the role, it wouldn't make sense in the context of a world based on Celtic and Norse Culture. It would be against the artistic integrity of Tolkiens original vision.
So in my version of ATLA, the entire lead cast would be Asian or Native American. But finding decent Asian actors in todays Hollywood is. . . difficult. Okay, to avoid a rant about Hollywood being prejudiced against any real talent just because they'r Asian. Lets just say scouring the web for decent actors of Asian descent is ridiculously hard, for there are precious few in Hollywood who meet the criteria for the characters in either ATLA or LOK, some are either too inexperienced, and others are far too old to pull off the main characters (it doesn't help that they are usually stuck playing stereotypes, if they can even get the role due to rampant political correctness).
Dissatisfied with Hollywood typecasting, I decided to dip into some new up and coming actors from the world of Asian Cinema, ones with experience in a variety of roles other than stereotypes or voice acting. I've put together a list of Actors and Actresses from Thailand, Japan, and Korea I believe would be able to pull off the characters, of Mako, Bolin, and Asami in a Live action FIlm Adaptation. I've put together a list of the best Actors from Thailand, and Korea, some of them are well known in America, some are known only to a small minority of Asian film buffs, all of which I feel deserve a role in an American production.
To keep it simple, I decided to keep a one actor per character policy for this part. Since there are so few actors in Asian Cinema who can pull off the role in both Acting and Appearance.
Having said that, as with my previous blog, I will keep my criteria to Three Areas: YOUTH: Must be the age of the character being played, or at least appear so. (via Dawson's Casting.) EXPERIENCE: Must Have starred as a lead in at least one relatively successful film and/or TV show. APPEARANCE: Must be able to pull off the characters appearance without having to resort to excessive makeup, Spray tanning, or yellowface.
oh, and just as a disclaimer.
A few of the people reading may disagree with my casting of actors and actresses from Asia, partially due to the dubious nature of the politics of Asian countries. Primarily the Bias Hollywood would have casting a Popular Asian Actor/Actress in the lead role of something like Legend of Korra. And also the issues an Asian actor would have speaking, (and by extension acting) in English.
For that, there are such things as Dialogue Coaches, and I tend to shy away from politics altogether.
Furthermore, this is a blog about Fan-casting, it is purely for fun and entertainments sake, and to help the dream for both diversity in Hollywood, and a decent live action ATLA/LEGEND OF KORRA film alive. It is not meant to be taken seriously.
Many of the Actors here will be unknown to the Majority of the people reading this Blog. I will post links to Trailers, Interviews, and Wikipedia pages about the films these Actors and Actresses have starred in, if you're interested, take a look, Asian Cinema has a lot to offer everyone looking for something new and different. Some of their films are available for free on Youtube, but I would recommend buying their product Via Netflix or Amazon, to make a positive change I believe one way to promote Asian Actors in Hollywood roles is to promote their Product with cold hard cash.
without Further ado. . . Here is my fan cast for the primary characters in my vision of a live action Legend Of Korra.
MAKO: One of the Biggest Issues Legend of Korra had was Mako, I'm willing to admit that much. He didn't change much as a character. While I'm not a big fan of Mako, I feel a live action film adaptation has the ablity to do him justice. In the series I feel Mako and Korra's romance was not very interesting. In a movie, I would try to make the romance a bit more believable, to do that, I feel an actor with experience are required. Originally I cast this particular actor to play Bolin, since he's best known for his comedy, but after seeing some of his more recent dramatic roles, I feel he has the chops to be able to pull off Mako. =-=- MARIO MAURER:
STARRED IN: The Love of Siam (2007), Rahtree Reborn (2009), First Love (2011), Bangkok Kung Fu (2011)
An actor of Thai/Chinese/German descent. He is famous in the Bangkok film industry. While quite popular in both the Phillipines, and his native Thailand, and has gathered somewhat of a cult following here in the states, he still has yet to break into American production.
He was nominated for Several Asian Film Awards, and winner of the Cinemanila International Film Festival award for best actor. Speaks fluent Thai, and English. While having starred in martial arts films, he is probably best known for his romantic comedies. Which I feel, in my vision of the story, gives him the necessary experience to make a romance between Korra and Mako believable.
Would he be able to play Mako? I think so, if Hollywood would be willing to cast him. Although he may have to take an extended dialogue course to clear up his accent.
Here is an interview with him on his role in his latest film "Suddenly its Magic", http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H16DYVDjN4c
Love In One Day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6bTETWoLRo
Receiving Award For 'First Love': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h77ziqYde5Q
Bangkok Kung Fu Trailer (Bryke are probably fans of this one): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5O-u0Npfbo
Bolin, has an innocence to him, an inferred naiveness and carefree attitude that masks a hidden side filled with sadness and guilt. Being a fan of Asian film and cinema, One Actor came to mind who seems to fit the bill. Who I am a big fan of personally. I only got into him recently, but he left quite an impression on me, and I'm sure he could pull off Bolin.
STARRED IN: My Girl Fan Chan (2003), King Maker (2005), Dek hor (2006), Legend of Sudsakorn (2006)Hormones (2008), Phobia 2 (2009),
A Fresh face on the scene of Bangkok cinema. Despite his young age (only 19), he has quite the prolific resume, from horror, to Fantasy, to coming of Age Stories, to the Romantic Comedy. Charlie has had quite a bit of success in Thailand, and I would want to see that translated over here in the States. Regrettably though, few of the films he has starred in have seen that kind of success in the English speaking world. A role in a big-budget martial arts flick could be his breakout role. Would he be able to play Bolin though? He is younger than the actor I chose to play Bolin, and I am going on appearances, and impressions from film alone, so unless I could see him actually play off of the rest of the cast, I couldn't be entirely sure.
Phobia 2 (2009): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phobia_2 I'd link a video, but there are a lot of kids on the wiki, and this film tends to lean into pretty graphic territory. (at least from what I've seen so far.)
King Maker: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_King_Maker
Legend of Sudsakorn (2006): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOOv-uATlIk hmm. . . regardless. lets move on
ASAMI SATO: For Asami, I chose a Korean Actress.Admittedly, I'm not as well cultured on Korean film and Cinema as I am on Chinese, Japanese, and Thai Cinema. But I will admit, South Korea has some excellent Actors and Actresses. Some of which have even successfully crossed over to have to cameos in American Cinema, regrettably most of said actors are far too old to play any of the mains. But I did do enough research to find a few actresses who are quite prolific, quite young, have quite the resume, and can speak, and act in english rather well. But to me, only one stood out.
As for Asami's character, I'm looking for someone with a significant amount of grit, and no-nonsense seriousness to her, while still being able to pull off the more pampered sophisticated side of her. -- PARK SHIN HYE:
In Looks, appearance, and experience, Park is probably the best choice for Asami I could have ever come across. She speaks both English and Korean, is skilled in Martial Arts, has more experience playing roles than the Majority of the other actresses I researched. She has had many accolades, for her roles in every Genre from Romance, to Supernatural Comedy, to Martial Arts . After seeing her in a few of her roles, I'm confident she could pull off Asami without any issues.
Has Starred In:
Television: Stairway to Heaven (2003), KimCheed Radish Cubes (2007),Hayate the Combat Butler (2010), Heart Strings (2011),
Films: Love Phobia (2006), Evil Twin (2007), Cyrano Agency (2010) The Gift of Room 7 (2012), Dont Worry! I'm A Ghost (2012)
Park Shin Hye At Baeksang Arts Awards 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls_6yPGs3kU
Dont Worry! I'm A Ghost (2012). http://asianwiki.com/Don%27t_Worry,_I%27m_a_Ghost
As with my previous Blogs, keep in mind this is all Fan Casting based on Personal Preference Research, Opinion, and commitment to the original story's artistic vision. If you like, or Dislike, any of these actors or actresses. Comment Below. Who would you like to see play Mako, Bolin, and Asami? Raiden out.