The Fairy Princess knows that it has been a time of extraordinary change for the AAPI community – and a lot of it has been good, while a lot of it has been paired with a continued onslaught of violence that makes one feel really isolated and vulnerable. Highs and lows are hitting us like we are in a batting cage having never swung a bat before, and it can be a weird place to walk in our shoes right now.


First off – some highs:

First of all, a huge CONGRATULATIONS to ZACH PISER, who ran his ‘last’ performance as EVAN HANSEN in DEAR EVAN HANSEN on Broadway. Zach has long been a beacon of light on Broadway and Off – TFP thinks longingly of his performance in Sweeney Todd as Toby, opposite another brilliant Mixed Asian Artist, Thom Sesma .

While this will not be the last time we see this leading man, it is the last time for a little bit. He began his ‘run’ on January 23, 2019 and ends it today on August 7, 2022. He has appeared on panels for BroadwayCon and Mixing it Up, and TFP is grateful for his friendship, even more for his talent.

Second – a short film TFP wrote and appears in, was accepted into the Cannes International Film Festival. It is part of a larger project called ENTANGLEMENT, produced by Voices of Women, which is a collab between Australia and the USA. As TFP herself is also a collab between the USA and Oz, it was a nice pandemic project to work on. The seemingly daily festival medallions are the work of the Director, Kaye Tuckerman, and the Producing Team, Sally Phillips Paradis, Laura Patinkin Urkin, and Lliane Clarke, who is the AD of VOW – thank you to all who worked on this.

Third – it is a big weekend for Fil-Ams, with the opening of comedian Jo Koy’s EASTER SUNDAY film. This was the Opening weekend for the film, which did gross $5.3 million dollars. The film cost $17 million to make, so all that means for Indie Comedies for Underrepresented Groups, is that y’all are going to need to see this film a few more times over the next few weeks – because this film is not dissimilar from MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING.

That film, BFGW, on it’s opening weekend made…$597,362. Ahem. It cost $5 million.

Currently it has made, $241,438, 208.

So what ‘we’, (AAPI America) is not going to do, is buy into white critics/daily papers saying the film is failing expectations – it’s not – it is just that nurses and their schedules do not always match up with film times.

They will go on their day off – expect these numbers to rise. They are dealing with Covid and Monkey Pox – they are busy, hey?

(That joke was for Jo Koy, who TFP has been obsessed with for a while).

Congratulations to Rodney To, Melody Butiu and Lydia Gaston, who are Talaga-ing their tushes off in this film.

To all the Fil-Am actors who have spent literally their entire careers having to NOT play Filipinos – this is a huge moment, it is a GIANT deal. It is everybody’s dream to be able to fully show their talents and trials in one piece – Mr. Koy fought for this film to be released on the big screen, and not streamed because he said that Filipinos should be able to go to the theater and ‘see themselves’ – well now is your chance.

TFP salutes you in Adobo. Get your life!

Everyone else – get a ticket!

FOURTHJohn Cho has a new film out on PRIME – DON’T MAKE ME GO

Co-starring Mia Issacs as his daughter, a Father facing a terminal illness, takes his teen on one last roadtrip – bring tissues. Also, for the ‘purity’ police – please note mixed race people come in all shapes, sizes, and shades – they are still Asian.

As they say in Australia – even if you have coffee with a lot of cream, it’s still coffee. Meaning, if someone has heritage, nothing you say is going to make them NOT have that heritage.

Fifth – if you are a fan of Rom Com’s that you can watch in the comfort of your own home, and who isn’t – you can turn on Netflix and see Rizwan Manji knock it out of the park in WEDDING SEASON, among the rest of the cast. It is on the Netflix since Aug 4 – and it’s in it’s ‘most streamed’ list at the top when you open it up – with the importance of South Asian representation, this ranks right up there – turn it on, Folks.

Now we are going to talk some ‘real talk’ – and that is about ‘white washing’ – and how it does not apply to everything you think it does…

White Washing is a term for replacing real and actual people who have wound up in a movie or play, who are of the Global Majority, with Actors who are of European descent. We see this with Ben Affleck playing Tony Mendez in ARGO, with Jennifer Connolly playing the real life character of Alicia Nash in A BEAUTIFUL MIND – the real Alicia was of Salvadoran heritage.

Currently James Franco of the no Latinx heritage whatsoever is holding down this inglorious tradition by announcing he will be playing…FIDEL CASTRO!!

‘White Washing” is usually done to those who fall within the Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous groups.

Hollywood has been doing it for YEARS, since Hollywood began, and yes it is annoying and hurtful.

It is ‘white washing’ when Scarlett Johansson did it, yes.

GHOST IN THE SHELL was egregious in many ways – first, the studio digitally tried to alter her face to make her appear more Asian. They costumed and wigged her in a way that, from a distance, one could possibly if they were legally blind, mistake her for Asian, and they left the character’s name as a Japanese surname. Thus ensuring that she would be perceived as being an Asian styled robot or whatever that mess was. They got called out for this egregious casting and digital yellowface, and it failed at the box office – which is a giant sin, so Hollywood did ‘get it’ – if you want to cast Asian roles, you need Asian faces.

What is not ‘white washing’ is the new iteration of BULLET TRAIN.

This film has a plethora of Japanese descended actors in it – are they all the lead? No. Because that is how film works, not everyone is a lead. What is cool about it, is that Brad Pitt, who IS the lead – is sharing space with AAPI Actors in a significant way.

Was BULLET TRAIN a film prior to this that they just ripped off?

No. It is not “THE DEPARTED”.

While there is a Japanese language film called “The Bullet Train” – that was about a bomb exploding on a train and it came out in 1976 – that is not this one.

This “Bullet Train” is based on a book called “Maria Beetle” by Kōtarō Isaka. The English language version of the book is called Bullet Train. The character that Brad Pitt is playing, that of an unlucky assassin code name, Ladybug, has never been ‘seen’ before. “Ladybug” is a fictional character – it is not based on a real person. “Maria Beetle” is being played by Sandra Bullock.

As “Bullet Trains’ exist in Japan, Japan is where the film is set – and what it is about is – a bunch of assassins who seemingly have missions that do not intersect, wind up having missions that actually intersect. Japan itself, is a character in the film – the culture and traditions and fighting styles are fully in front – but this is an International Film.

This is not a film where they buy the book rights and everyone is Asian but speaks English. To assume otherwise or to call this out for ‘white washing’ is using the term incorrectly – as it was never intended to be anything other than an International Film, for International Audiences. There are films that are Asian American and have a mono racial (within a range) cast and storyline – however BULLET TRAIN was never intended for that – or they would not have released the book in English.

If it was only intended to be seen by those who speak and read Japanese, the author would not have sold the rights to the story – because when you sell the rights – and there are entire branches in the publishing world devoted to this very thing – you have a very clear breakdown of what can and cannot be done with the source material.

There are various levels of approval that any material based on a published work has to go through,and as we see with the huge debacle about The Unauthorized Tik Tok Bridgerton Musical, if the lines are crossed, then lawyers are called. (OMG what were those women thinking when they did that…)

You cannot gatekeep something the original author has sold for adaptation. Adaptation means they are going to adjust the work to the medium it is intended for. It is not rocket science, folks.

The Cast is a wide range of heritages, they have gender representation, and multi-culturalism. To call ‘white washing’ on this film, is more about gatekeeping than anything else. While yes, there needs to be more films that star AAPIs and that is an ongoing process – but to say this film is ‘white washed’ is a bit of a reach.

Are all the actors of the same background? No. Should we want them to be? Honestly, that kind of thinking does not make sense to TFP, but if that is the way you feel – you are entitled to your feelings. TFP believes that the more diversity the better – the world of assassins are not known for only one type of person – honestly having different actors play different assassins makes it more interesting, but you can die on that hill if you want.

You will just be alone.

Here is the list of Japanese Descended talents that are in the film, whose lives and careers will be elevated because they are now in an international film where they are on screen with Brad Pitt

Hirokyuki Sanada, Andrew Koji, Masi Oka, Yoshi Sudarso, Nobuaki Shimamoto, Darren Keilan, Kaori Taketani, Harrison Xu, RiRia, Shota Kakibata, Naomi Matsuda, and Rebecca Lynne Morley

Congrats to the Cast – TFP wishes them much success and financial stability – and ‘purists’ please stop trying to yuck their yum, and take several seats.

You know, sometimes when TFP writes the blog, there is a method to her madness and this is one of those times – if you look at what she has ‘covered’ you will see that a lot of what ‘we’ get to be proud of and support is work done by Mixed Race Asian people.

Now, we are going to talk about this new musical COME FALL IN LOVE, which is also know as DDLJ in India, and is one of the most beloved films in Bollywood history. Originally written in Hindi language by the writer and director, Aditya Chopra – this film, since it’s release in the 90’s, has grossed 2 billion dollars.


Which means, people like it. They do not ‘just’ like it – they love it.

First of all, international setting – two non resident (meaning non dwelling at the time in India) young attractive people go traveling through Europe on vacation, meet and fall in love, only to have to deal with the fact that Simran, the female character, has an arranged marriage waiting for her back in India at the end of this adventure.

Simran and Raj have chemistry, and everything works out, because it is Bollywood and because it is a musical, and because sometimes things just have to work out in films, as otherwise the world falls apart.

Now, in the original film – the skin tones of the actors matched because…it was a Bollywood film.

(There is a colorism issue in Bollywood films, but that is not going to be solved by this blog – TFP wanted to acknowledge this though – there is a propensity for fairer complexions in Bollywood films, though it is hopefully changing – it is not happening quickly.)

In this new version of the musical – they have made some changes and the changes have people having ‘feelings’ – and while TFP wants to acknowledge that it is fine to have those feelings – she is saddened by the fact that those ‘feelings’ are more about racial purity than anything else. As she is a mixed race person, she struggles with the fact that people are irate over the thought of couples who look like her parents in a rom com.

Here is the press release:

Aditya Chopra’s U.S. stage musical reimagining of his immensely popular 1995 Bollywood film “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge,” commonly abbreviated to DDLJ, addresses the need for cultural unification in a divided world.

Produced by leading Indian studio Yash Raj Films, “Come Fall In Love – The DDLJ Musical” aims to be a celebration of inclusivity and diversity in a world that is increasingly polarized. It explores how love can unify people and cultures and break down all barriers.

It tells the story of Simran, a young Indian-American woman whose future is set via an arranged marriage back in India to a family friend. But when she convinces her strict father that she should spend a summer of freedom and fun in Europe, she falls for the charming Rog, and her plans go out the window.

The Original Writer/Director, Mr. Chopra has decided because he is building a show that includes new songs and dances, new dialogue – only the basic story remains the same, vacationing twenty somethings fall in love – so it was time to re-imagine the story he wanted to tell. He has brought in people who are top tier Broadway people like Nell Benjamin (Book and Lyrics) and Rob Ashford (Choreography) and partnered them with esteemed Bollywood talent such as Shruti Merchant (Co-Choreographer).

Shoba Narayan, Broadway’s only South Asian Leading Lady, is set to appear as Simran. She will be back in ALADDIN on Broadway after this run at The Old Globe – with COME FALL IN LOVE booked to open on Broadway in March 2023. She has previously appeared in THE GREAT COMET, WICKED, and HAMILTON on tour.

Will she be amazing in this? Heck yeah.

The issue is the casting of Austin Colby, a British actor who is known in the States for being Hans on the tour of FROZEN.

Raj is now Rog.

Which everyone knows is an issue for people who love the film – even though Mr. Chopra said he wanted Tom Cruise for the original Raj, but just could not work it out.

Here is what Austin Colby stated to Variety:

“After watching ‘DDLJ,’ I was filled with joy, peering through a window into the rich world of Indian culture. It is overwhelming to fully process ‘DDLJ’s impact on both Indian and global audiences, touching hearts and changing lives. What an honor for me to be a part of bringing ‘Come Fall In Love’ to the American theater audience and entrusted with this responsibility by the original director, Aditya Chopra. Hearing him talk about his vision for this musical is inspiring and something I truly believe in.”

“That being said, I’m aware what my involvement in this production means to many people and I completely understand its impact. I’m not the Raj that Shah Rukh Khan made us fall in love with, nor will I ever pretend to be. I am excited to fulfill the creative team’s vision for this role and I truly believe in the story and how we are telling it. I hope audiences will trust Adi [Chopra] and the team’s original vision for ‘Come Fall In Love’ coming to Broadway and love this piece as much as we do.”

No one is saying you cannot love Raj, they are just hoping you will love Rog just as much.

There are a few reasons this casting happened – and one of them is green – that’s the color of it – green.

South Asian Broadway Ticket buyers are not a block that Broadway investors can rely on. We saw that with BOMBAY DREAMS– in the end, it is about ticket sales. Now, there are absolutely reasons why this has occurred – non-representation, access, and generational interests are real things – but we are still counting “firsts’ in South Asian representation on Broadway, which has to change if we are to move forward.

There is no assuming that just because people love the film, they will pony up the excessive Broadway ticket prices that fund eight shows a week. Mr. Chopra is an artist who is a business person, he has to make his money back for his investors and he has to serve the generations that are next coming, and those numbers are growing largely from Mixed Race Peoples whose Parents are diverse.

The next issue is that broader representation leads to broader audiences, and the Broadway is a PWI – Primarily White Institution. Change is slow. However there is much change coming down the road with three Broadway bound South Asian musicals – MONSOON WEDDING, BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM, and B’HANGIN IT rapidly approaching.

Go, invest – make ish happen.

If this is still upsetting you, go watch WEDDING SEASON on Netflix and calm down.

This is just another variation of a story we love. We are blessed with 50 Billion Batmans, and an Austen adaptation every year for the last hundred years or so – what is the issue?

The issue is – hypocrisy.

Because if you lauded BRIDGERTON for it’s inclusive casting – you cannot hate on COME FALL IN LOVE’s doing the EXACT SAME THING.

“Kathony” is a hashtag – and if that upsets you – you have to ask yourself why – because issues with Mixed Couples is a YOU problem, not a THEY problem.

Please feel free to make your case…however if you are going to start with the stuff that has been said to TFP in the past about mixed couples and mixed race people – you can zip it. No one is here for your racial purity BS.

Romance stories need conflict, and what innately contains more conflict than people of two different cultures and understandings who come together and work for their love story? What is the ‘unspoken’ issue when we see people of different backgrounds fall in love? We know there will be mistakes made and misunderstandings can lead to breakups in the story, but you root for them in the end. It will be the third character in the relationship, and that will add depth and layers of understanding.

Listen, if Henry Golding, another mixed race person, can vie for the affections of Dakota Johnson against Cosmo Jarvis in that veddy, veddy English chestnut, PERSUASION – what that shows is that there is room.

There is room for re-imagination, there is room for re-casting – there is room for going back and re-envisioning what you wrote over 20 years ago and seeing it in a new way.

Here is what TFP says, viewing it as a person who exists because of that kind of love story…

Cheers and Well done, Mr. Chopra – she looks forward to seeing you in March of 2023.

TFP out.