There was a period when Hollywood didn’t produce many tales for individuals of other races, but Korean-American actor Daniel Henney claims that has changed tremendously in the last decade.
“In the last ten years, more doors have opened in terms of chances for performers (from all walks of life) to gain roles” (in Hollywood). I remember feeling like the door was slightly ajar when I first started. “It’s obviously opened up now,” Henney says.
With this shift, though, comes a new degree of accountability for performers of colour in the West. “I’ve talked to a lot of younger Asian actors about how you need to seize opportunities as soon as they come your way,” he adds, adding, “by doing your homework, being excellent at your trade, and being capable.” It’s an excellent moment to do so. It’s past time for us to develop our own skills and abilities.”
Henney began her career as a model before breaking into the Korean entertainment industry in 2005 with the comedy My Lovely Sam Soon. He made his Hollywood debut in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) as Agent Zero, and has since appeared in films such as Big Hero 6 (2014) and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (2016).
As seen by his new ethnically diversified online series, The Wheel of Time, one facet of his work that stands out is his avoidance of stereotypes.
“In my previous presentation, there is a bit of current-time relevance. In our current reality, we are polarised. “For example, portraying Lan in The Wheel of Time has given me the opportunity to play a good masculine character,” adds the 42-year-old.
“Like how he can be forceful, then step back, be silent, listen, and hide in the shadows. In that way, he is equally manly. “It’s lovely (the representation),” says the actor, who enjoys being a part of such stories.