Thursday September 14, 2017

'Visibility is important': why Ellen Wong is hopeful about Asian representation in film and TV

Actress Ellen Wong and Tom Power in the q studio in Toronto, Ont.

Actress Ellen Wong and Tom Power in the q studio in Toronto, Ont. (Melody Lau/CBC)

Listen 13:56

Every year, the Toronto International Film Festival invites actors and directors to talk about their films. But Canadian Ellen Wong has been getting attention from the festival for a different reason.

Despite the fact she's not in a film at the 2017 event, Wong has been named a Rising Star by TIFF, an initiative meant to showcase up-and-coming talent in the film industry. You might recognize Wong as Knives Chau from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, or more recently as Fortune Cookie in the Netflix series GLOW. Wong has been acting for eight years, but her role in GLOW marks the first time she's had the chance to play a character of her own heritage.

Wong has grappled with identity and typecasting throughout her career but has recently started speaking out about the issue because she knows that in order for things to change, she has to put herself in uncomfortable situations and be outspoken about the need for diversity in Hollywood.

— Produced by Vanessa Nigro