If the success of Crazy Rich Asians made you think that there miiiiiiight be more of a market for Asian-American-led studio movies than the leisurely once-every-twenty-five-years schedule Hollywood has been following since The Joy Luck Club, good news: the studios are listening. Or Netflix is, anyway! Variety reports that Searching star John Cho will star in Tigertail, an upcoming Netflix feature from screenwriter and director Alan Yang that starts shooting next week.
According to its logline, Tigertail “focuses on two people’s poor life choices and the consequences of those decisions, exploring themes of regret, longing, passion and repression while spanning continents and generations, from 1950s Taiwan to present-day New York City.” Along with Cho, the cast includes Arrival’s Tzi Ma and The Great Indoors’ Christine Ko. Although a movie that starts shooting next week was almost certainly greenlit before Crazy Rich Asians opened, this is a well-timed announcement, given the public’s recently-documented hunger for Asian-American stories. Tigertail should also beat Crazy Rich Asians 2 to the screen; Warner Bros. is moving ahead with a sequel, but hasn’t officially greenlit it yet.
Yang, a Parks and Recreation vet, co-created Netflix’s Master of None with Aziz Ansari. Tigertail is said to be based on events in his own family’s history, which represents a turnaround for Yang as well as the television and film market. In a 2016 interview, the screenwriter and director told Variety that he’d written a pilot in 2012 about a white father and son, and refused to make his characters Asian—even when Parks and Recreation executive producer Greg Daniels asked. Yang was concerned that there’d be no market for an Asian-American story. “It wasn’t even other people that shut it down,” he told Variety, “I shut it down in my own brain.” Here’s hoping the recent successes of projects like Crazy Rich Asians mean filmmakers like Yang feel less pressure to self-censor, and get more opportunities to tell their own stories.