American Born Chinese is a Disney+ comedy series that is already garnering praise for its impressive cast. Based on the 2006 graphic novel American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, the series follows a teenage boy Jin Wang who meets a new exchange student Wei-Chen and is plunged into a battle with mystical Chinese gods. With Academy Award-winning actress Michelle Yeoh and Daniel Wu playing some of the most iconic Chinese gods, expectations have been high for the young adult series.
American Born Chinese is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, who has worked with Disney before as the director and writer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. When Cretton was announced to direct, Disney also announced that brothers Charles Yu and Kelvin Yu would write the series. Kelvin Yu is an executive producer and writer for Bob’s Burgers, while his brother Charles Yu has written for various shows, such as Westworld and FX’s Legion. With the talented visionaries behind American Born Chinese, one can see that the star-studded cast will have good material to work with.
Ben Wang As Jin Wang
Ben Wang plays the main character in American Born Chinese, a teenager struggling to fit in with his peers. Jin Wang is tasked with showing new student Wei-Chen around the school, which first makes him uncomfortable and a target for bullies. Since Wei-Chen is also Chinese, Jin is considered the best student to be his guide. However, little does Jin know his life is about to change forever.
Jin Wang is Ben Wang’s first major leading role. But Ben Wang also played small roles in various series, such as MacGyver (2021) and Search Party (2022), where he only appeared for one episode. He also played a supporting role in the direct to Disney+ movie Chang Can Dunk as Bo.
Jim Liu As Wei-Chen
Jim Liu plays Wei-Chen, the foreign exchange student that Jin Wang is tasked with showing around. However, Wei-Chen eventually reveals to Jin that he is not of this world. Wei-Chen has a mission to save the world and needs Jin’s help to close the gate between heaven and earth.
Jim Liu has a long range of credits from Chinese to mainstream films. He is most known for his role as Doctor Song in The Farewell and Ming in Ip Man 4: The Finale. He was also the lead in the Chinese science fiction blockbuster Variant, which earned him critical acclaim.
Michelle Yeoh As Guanyin
Michelle Yeoh plays the Buddhist Goddess Guanyin in American Born Chinese. Guanyin is associated with compassion and is commonly called the “Goddess of Mercy” or “Mercy Goddess.” From the American Born Chinese trailer, Guanyin appears to be a messenger to Jin and Wei-Chen that warns them of the danger if they do not help close the gate between the two worlds. In the trailer, Guanyin appears to have the power to transport others and fight when required.
Michelle Yeoh is a talented actress who recently won Best Actress for her role in Everything, Everywhere, All At Once. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Michelle Yeoh rose to fame for her roles in Tomorrow Never Dies and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Yeoh continued her mainstream success with films in the late 2010s, such as Crazy Rich Asians and Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Daniel Wu As Sun Wukong
Daniel Wu plays Sun Wukong, also known as The Monkey King. Sun Wukong is a mystical character from the Chinese novel Journey to the West and many other stories. Sun Wukong is a monkey born from stone who possesses supernatural powers through Taoist practices. Wukong possesses extraordinary strength and speed, as well as strong fighting skills. While his depiction varies on the medium, American Born Chinese has Daniel Wu in monkey make-up, making him look like a human-monkey hybrid.
Daniel Wu is a Hong Kong-American actor who has starred in over 60 films. He is known for his roles in Chinese films, New Police Story and One Nite in Mongkok. Wu has also been in some mainstream films, such as Warcraft and Tomb Raider (2018). Additionally, he has appeared in Westworld and played the lead in the AMC action series Into the Badlands.
Ke Huy Quan As Freddy Wong
Ke Huy Quan plays Freddy Wong, the star of a 90s sitcom called Beyond Repair. Jin Liu decides to watch an episode of the classic sitcom to see why it is being revived. Jin sees Freddy Wong playing a problematic character who has an over-the-top accent and is equipped with all the worst Asian stereotypes.
Ke Huy Quan recently won Best Supporting Actor for his role in Everything, Everywhere All At Once. Ke Huy Quan is most known for his role as Data in The Goonies and Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. After a long absence in Hollywood, Quan is undergoing a renaissance, thanks to the success of Everything, Everywhere All At Once.
Sydney Taylor As Amelia
Sydney Taylor plays Amelia, a classmate and friend of Jin. Jin also has a crush on Amelia and is largely seen as a supporting character for the first part of the series. In the second part of American Born Chinese, Amelia gets a little more character development.
American Born Chinese will be Sydney Taylor’s most mainstream project to date. Sydney Taylor is known for her roles in the television series, Just Add Magic: Mystery City and Splitting Up Together. She also voiced Possums in My Friends Tigger and Pooh.
Stephanie Hsu as Shiji Niangniang: Shiji Niangniang is a goddess in Chinese religion who was a demon before she was a goddess. Stephanie Hsu is known for her supporting role in Everything, Everywhere All at Once. Before she got into television and film, Hsu was known on Broadway for her roles in Be More Chill and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical.
Yeo Yann Yann as Christine Wang: Christine Wang is Jin’s mother who doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with her son. Yeo Yann Yann is a Malaysian actress who has worked in television, film, and theater. She is known for Singapore Dreaming, 881, and Wet Season.
Chin Han as Simon Wang: Simon Wang is Jin’s father who works hard to provide for his family. Chin Han is a television and film actor whose career spans over 20 years. Han is known for The Dark Knight, Contagion, and Skyscraper, to name a few.
Poppy Liu as Princess Iron Fan: Princess Iron Fan is a goddess from Journey to the West and will be one of the many goddesses that Jin will encounter. Poppy Liu is a Chinese American actress and is known for her roles in the sitcoms iCarly and Hacks. Liu also plays a main role as Greta in Amazon’s Dead Ringers.
James Hong as Jade Emperor: The Jade Emperor is one of the first gods in Chinese culture. James Hong is one of the most prolific Asian-American character actors who has had a long career in Hollywood. Hong is most known for his roles in Big Trouble in Little China, Chinatown, and Blade Runner, to name a few.
Jimmy O. Yang as Dragon King: The Dragon King is a Chinese water and weather god. Jimmy O. Yang is most known for his role as Jian-Yang in HBO’s Silicon Valley. Yang also starred in the Netflix comedy series Space Force and the romantic comedy Love Hard.