Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tadanobu "Hogun" Asano

 This might be old news by now, but I saw Thor recently, and all in all it was a pretty fun movie. Not Marvel's best, but it definitely had it's moments and it wasn't a bad addition to the Marvel film roster either. What surprised me though was the casting of Japanese actor and writer and director, Tadanobu Asano as the Norse warrior Hogun. Although I'm usually pretty informed on the goings on of the East Asian film scene, for whatever reason I missed this news entirely. What surprised me even more was *SPOILER ALERT* his character doesn't die!

Tadanobu Asano as "Hogun" in Thor (2011)

 Now I'm not a follower of the Thor comics, but one thing I do know is that, as far as Hollywood is concerned, "visible minorities" usually get the short end of the mortality stick; especially supporting East Asian protagonists. As many of you may already know, in American action films, East Asian characters often serve as the stereotypical unscrupulous badasses who are really good at fighting and wield some sort of ancient ethnic East Asian weapon (usually a katana or something similar). In some sort of climactic (or anti-climactic) battle they often kill a crap-load of bad guys, and then die in a blaze of glory, kamikaze style. Well to my pleasant surprise, that didn't happen here and honestly it was welcomed change. Even more satisfying was that he wasn't even really playing an Asian stereotype, yeah he was still sort of "unscrupulous" but I suppose that's what the character called for. Good one marvel!           

Anyway, it was pretty cool to see him doing his thing in the film. Asano is a fantastic actor with wonderful range who has appeared in a large and diverse number of films playing equally diverse characters and always does a good job. Also, I have to congratulate him on being able to pronounce the TH in "THOR". I know Tadanobu Asano is not a native English speaker and as an ESL tutor I know how hard it is for Japanese ESL speakers to pronounce TH. Trust me, it aint easy!

If you want to check out Tadanobu Asano in some of his East Asian roles I would recommend Zatoichi (2003), Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Kahn (2007) and The Taste of Tea (2004) all pretty good stuff that really show off his acting range.

PS: I have to give a special shout out to Idris Elba who played "Heimdallur" in Thor (the big gold guy), he was BAD ASS. Again... good one Marvel!    

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