John Cho had a cheeky yet honest response when asked about a nude scene in his summer indie movie “Columbus.”
The actor, who stopped by “Late Night with Seth Meyers” on Monday, discussed his decision to do a shower scene in the film, in which he plays the main character, Jin.
Turns out, it was for a pretty valiant cause.
“I couldn’t think of an Asian male butt in American cinema, so I said, ‘Somebody has to do it,’” Cho said.
In response, Meyers teased that the actor had broken “the glass underpants.”
Jokes aside, Cho’s point highlights a greater issue ― Hollywood’s reluctance to cast Asian males as romantic leads or heartthrobs.
According to a USC Annenberg study published in 2017, Asian actors make up less than 6 percent of speaking characters in film. And when they are cast, they’re often given stereotypical characters to portray. As Aziz Ansari has pointed out, the role of the desirable love interest seems to be off limits to Asian actors.
“A lot of times when people write for Indian actors or Asian actors or anybody somewhat different, it is insulting,” Ansari said during a roundtable with The Hollywood Reporter, “because they have a certain view of, ‘Oh, this is how that person can help our plot. Oh, this Indian guy, let’s put him in the cab or in the market. Let’s not make him the guy who is this woman’s love interest. Let’s get the white guy for that, of course.’”
Earlier this year, Steve Harvey actually laughed at the idea that anyone could possibly desire an Asian man.
With so much progress to be made, we’re pretty over the moon that Cho unapologetically went for the risqué scene.