Disney+'s 'American Born Chinese' Revitalizes The Monkey King Embracing Culture, Identity And Family

This coming-of-age series combines adventure and comedy in an engaging exploration of self-discovery and growth

ByEvan Wyno OTRC logo
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
'American Born Chinese' revitalizes the story of The Monkey King
The upcoming highly anticipated Disney+ series, "American Born Chinese," based on the critically acclaimed graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang, is set to release May 24th.

LOS ANGELES -- The upcoming highly anticipated Disney+ series, "American Born Chinese," based on the critically acclaimed graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang, is set to release May 24th. With a compelling storyline and a talented ensemble cast, including two Oscar-winning actors, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan, the series promises to captivate audiences with its unique perspective on culture, identity and the power of family.

"American Born Chinese" takes a fresh approach to the beloved character of Sun Wukong, played by actor Daniel Wu. "We're seeing this Monkey as a different era than what we're used to," Wu explains. "He's a father now and he's got this son who's acting a lot like him when he was younger and he's really kind of trying to reel that in but the same time allow him to grow and make the mistakes that he did and learn from those mistakes."

Jimmy Liu who plays the Monkey King's son, Wei Chen, draws inspiration for his character from the Monkey King himself as "he is actually the younger version of the Monkey King," Liu said.

This series explores the complexities of cultural identity where Ben Wang's character, Jin Wang, grapples with the duality of his Asian and American identities. "The show is about learning to grow up by reconciling those two halves by bringing them together," Wang said. "And you know all the like crazy action martial art mythological stuff is just an extension of that metaphor that yes, deal with also this third world where Oscar award-winning actress Michelle Yeoh is crashing through the ceiling and telling him he needs to save the world. It's all very cohesive."

Sydney Taylor who plays Amelia Harris expresses how working with Oscar-winning actors has been a highlight for the cast. Taylor describes how "some actors, especially of that caliber, can be very stressful to be around or it's just this sort of internal stress that you just can't get rid of and that there is none of that when they're around and they're very warm people and just the best to have."

Through his journey in "American Born Chinese," Chin Han as Simon Wang transforms from a character who embodies the "model minority" at his workplace to a devoted father that discovers the importance of authenticity and self-discovery in both himself and his family. "It is important to know who they (the children) are themselves and honor that voice you know in their heads as to who they are," Han said. "Because ultimately to be your authentic self I think is what we all strive to be you know regardless of race or gender."

This heartwarming journey of growth and achievement is unveiled through Yeo Yann Yann's portrayal of Christine Wang who plays the powerful role of an inspiring Asian mother. "The family is always trying very hard to be better human beings," Yeo explains. "They fail sometimes but never give up and I think that is something that I would like the audience to bring home with that we are all just human, we make mistakes and we're not perfect, but we live on love."

"American Born Chinese" is set to release May 24 exclusively on Disney+.