'SHIELD' star, showrunner on being role models for Asians

By Yong Chavez, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at May 19 2014 10:30 AM | Updated as of May 19 2014 06:30 PM

HOLLYWOOD – Though strides have been made in recent years, there's still a marked lack of Asian roles on US primetime television.

But two strong Asian women lead the way towards a possible positive shift in Hollywood on this issue.

“Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s” Maurissa Tancharoen is one of the few Asian executive producers on US prime time TV, and it is a position that she worked hard to achieve.

As a showrunner, she is able to make decisions that impact a long-running problem in Hollywood, which is the lack of Asian roles for many actors.

“It's been a long journey. I've tried every literally career path in Hollywood and I've failed many times. The fact that I'm in a position now where I can create stories that are for Asian-Americans and have the ability to create characters that can absolutely be played by Asian-Americans is something I'm proud to be able to say I do,” she said.

Tancharoen’s talent and dedication to her job was recently honored by East West players with a Visionary award.

The producer talked about the show's season finale.

“I think there are many different factions on how they feel about Grant Ward. The shippers are definitely upset. But there's still the question on how he came to this life. There's always a story behind that so we'll see what happens,” she said.

“S.H.I.E.L.D.” has a diverse cast, including veteran actress Ming-na Wen of "Mulan" and "The Joy Luck Club."

Ming-na, who has many action scenes in the show, said she relishes her role as the secret organization's toughest agent.

“It's challenging to do the fight scenes but it's also something I absolutely love doing. For someone who doesn't like to exercise, it's a great way to force me to stay in shape,” she said.

Asked if the viewers will soon find out the her character’s previous marriage, Ming-na said, “I keep saying it should be with Thor, but I think they'll fight me on that time (laughs).”

She is also hoping to see her character on the big screen.

“There's always been female Marvel superheroes but a female Asian one, I think it'd be fantastic if we crossed over,” she said.

When asked to react about young girls now idolizing her, Ming-na said, “Absolutely. And what's really fun is actually the moms look up to this character and feel strengthened by a woman who is in a position to lead as well as be fearless.”