Repatriation of overseas Chinese stars in post-1997 Hong Kong cinema: Daniel Wu, a case study
Author: Funnell, Lisa
Source: Transnational Cinemas, Volume 2, Number 2, March 2012 , pp. 163-178(16)
Abstract:This article studies Asian actors from North America and their response to the recent repatriation of overseas Chinese in post-1997 Hong Kong. The focus is on the casting, characterization and shifting star persona of the Asian American action star Daniel Wu. Although Wu is an American of mainland Chinese descent, he was initially marketed as an overseas Chinese actor and return migrant to Hong Kong. Over the course of his career, he became increasingly localized and subsequently integrated into ge-ying-shi (music-film-TV) – the intermedial star system of Hong Kong – through his increased proficiency in Cantonese, award-winning performances in high-profile action films and transnational promotion of the local (popular) culture of Hong Kong. This paper argues that there is a shift in Wu’s star persona from an ideal returnee – i.e. a young overseas Chinese actor and sex symbol – to a mature, local(ized) and marquee star of the action cinema. The changes in Wu’s representation arguably serve as a model for the return migration of overseas Chinese and their incorporation into post-1997 Hong Kong.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Wilfrid Laurier University
Publication date: March 8, 2012
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