Gemma Chan is about to revitalize her career thanks to her starring role in Eternals, directed by Chloé Zhao. The actress has been working for several years and is not exactly a stranger to the public. He even has an appearance in Captain Marvel – 60% that made her stand out enough that her fans are now more satisfied with her new and improved participation in the UCM. However, Chan has had to fight for better roles, because during his early days it was difficult, almost impossible, to escape stereotypes and Asian clichés.
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It is really difficult to find a production free of problems. To begin with, dangerous stereotypes were manifested for years and became normalized in Hollywood and the rest of the film industry. This caused significant conflict for performers of diverse origins, races, and sexualities who were only given the option of participating in projects that further the problem. Little by little, and due to the current society that does not allow failures, this has changed. Regardless of how forced the happy inclusion is or not, there has been a change in the titles that reach the screen and even those that end up being nominated for important awards.
Gemma Chan knows that sometimes he had to take roles that did not fit his own ideology, but that were his only option, as happened in the Sherlock series – 100% during its first season. The second episode, called The Blind Banker, featured the actress as Soo Lin Yao, a ceramic expert who happens to be part of a secret society called Black Lotus Tong.
During a recent interview for British Vogue, Chan commented:
Would you necessarily make the same decisions now if you had a choice? Probably not. I think I would speak more if I felt the character leans towards an oriental stereotype of any kind. I am more aware. And I think I’m in a position where I could say something.
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But Chan believes that it is not about placing blame, rather about keeping the industry in constant flux:
With all due respect to everyone involved… I’m not here to blame anyone… but yes, I understand what you’re talking about. I don’t look down on anyone who is in any job or position on set. The industry has really changed, even in the time that I have worked. Changing the real culture, changing the practices, that takes more time.
Likewise, she knows she has a responsibility to improve Asian representation in the industry, be it in minor television roles or multi-million dollar franchises:
There is a way that you can honor the spirit of your ancestors by really trying to do something different, which I know is a privilege. […] Hopefully, you work to ensure that the next generation has a better chance to do something different and change things for the better for the rest of the community, or the generation that follows.
The actress is no stranger to controversy. The Madly Millionaires Tape – 93%, who starred opposite Constance Wu, was also heavily criticized for allegedly portraying Asian characters from a white and Western point of view. As to SherlockThe series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman had other controversies during its time on television, including Freeman’s bad behavior.
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Gemma Chan criticizes Sherlock for the racist stereotype he portrayed in the series