In a recent Variety article entitled Hollywood's New Leaders of 2021, Fil-Am Chris Lee is among those recognized.
Lee is the advisory board member in charge of international agency relations at Authentic Talent and Literary Management. He represents Hudson Yang who starred as Eddie Huang in 'Fresh Off the Boat,' as well as Simu Liu, the lead actor in Marvel's 'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.'
He tells ABS-CBN News that representing Asian actors has always been his goal. "Growing up in San Diego, I didn't really see ourselves as the sidekick, the best friend, the nerds, the ones good at math, the ones that never got the girl. But that's what we were being portrayed on by Hollywood and that’s what society perceived us. So in essence, that’s not real life," Lee stresses.
While Lee has found success in Hollywood, his story has humble beginnings. "A friend of mine told me, 'why don't you try the mail room at an agency? Usually people get their start there.' So I was fortunate enough to get my start at CAA which is the biggest talent agency in Hollywood. They represent huge stars: Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, George Clooney... you name it all."
Lee was also instrumental in the casting of Kris Aquino in the blockbuster movie 'Crazy Rich Asians.' He also helped Inigo Pascual in joining the cast of Fox's upcoming musical drama 'Monarch.'
"A few months ago, this Fox pilot came to my desk and I read it, saw the role, immediately thought of him, reached out, and said 'I think you should self-take for this.' So he did. Fox was blown away and they were obsessed with him. I called the head of Fox casting to follow up and they replied back, saying 'we are obsessed with Inigo. This role is his if he wants it.' And we made the deal and he's in Atlanta right now working on it."
As a Navy veteran, family man, and proud Filipino American, Lee says he is blessed that he has the capacity to help Asian talents. "One of the cool things is being a part of getting someone to that next level, seeing their dreams being fulfilled, essentially providing opportunities for them, and helping them realize they can achieve it," Lee asserts.
While Asian actors are getting more screen time these days, Lee hopes for more representation from the Asian community behind the camera as executives, producers, and other talent managers.