Sung Kang plays bad boys with heart. The role of Han, in Justin Lin's 2002 film Better Luck Tomorrow, was his bad boy debut. And his role as Han, a different one, in this summer's street racing fantasy Tokyo Drift, clinched it.
"There's angst I have that I can tap into," Kang says. "Han had similar type of angst. Getting the feel of a masculine self-confident man? It was difficult. My whole life, I was a second class citizen. Han is a guy's guy."
Summer 2006 presents a particularly prolific season. Kang appears in three films, Tokyo Drift, The Motel and The Undoing. And he is either star or co-star of all of them. Kang is also the owner of an upscale Asian fusion restaurant, Saketini, located in Brentwood.
Kang was born on April 8, 1972 in Gainesville, Georgia. When he was 12 his parents took him to San Francisco. There, he ran into some unlikely inpiration:
"I mean, [the mime] was able to evoke all these emotions, and I thought it would be amazing to be able to do that for someone."
The Tomboy Hottie
Michelle Krusiec may have played a tomboy in 2004's Saving Face, but she cleans up into a certifiable hottie. She has been cast as everything from a white-washed sorority sister in the independent film Pumpkin, to a ditzy teenager on NBC's One World, to a stereotypical massage parlor girl on HBO's The Mind of the Married Man. Despite the controversy surrounding such decisions, Krusiec has always enjoyed defying convention.
"I actually took a lot of pride in playing those characters because I was told initially I couldn't play them," Krusiec says.
She is currently working on turning her one woman show, Made in Taiwan into a pilot script.
DANIEL DAE KIM
The Lost Hottie
His role as the stereotypically over-bearing husband on ABC's hit show, Lost, doesn't lend itself to the androgynous brand of sexy that dominates today's perfume and Absolut ads. But Daniel Dae Kim edged out Brad Pitt to come in 5th in People Magazine's Sexiest Man of the Year 2005 poll. His high cheekbones, strong jaw and piercing, smallish eyes, redefine "hot."
Kim has appeared on 24, ER and Angel, and guest starred on Seinfeld and CSI. He also has a few major motion picture credits under his belt including a role inThe Hulk and Spider-man 2. He was also seen in the suspense thriller The Cave.
Kim was born on August 4, 1968 in Pusan, Korea. His family immigrated to Easton, Pennsylvania when he was two years old. He attended Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where he participated in sports, edited the school newspaper and was elected student government president. He was the high school golden boy.
Says one friend:
"Danny was very outgoing, very friendly-- I don't remember him arguing with anyone, ever. I guess you could say he was one of the 'in' crowd. I always thought he would have gone into politics."
He is married with two children and currently resides in Hawaii. In his spare time Kim enjoys tennis, football, skiing and Tae Kwon Do.
Glamour Girl Hottie
Lynn Chen is best known for her role as the femme lesbian in Alice Wu's Saving Face. But like all good glamour girls, Chen's star rose at an early age. Her show biz debut was as a five-year-old ballerina on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House. By high school, she was a regular fixture at both The Metropolitan and NYC Opera Houses. As a teen she was offered the role of Ngana in the Broadway revival of South Pacific.
Chen has done everything from Disneyworld and MTV promotions to voice-over work for the Olympics and Coca-Cola. She has also made several prime-time appearances on shows including The Singles Table (2006), Numb3rs (2005), Law & Order (2001, 2005) and All My Children (2003). She was voted Outstanding Newcomer at the 2006 Asian Excellence Awards.
Chen was born on December 24, 1976. She put her acting ambitions aside to attend Wesleyan University in Connecticut. After a few years of waitressing, teaching, and working as a musical director, and administrative assistant, she returned to her first passion.
"I'd say about 60% of the time I'm going for roles that are not, roles that are open ethnicity," Chen says. "The times where I am going in for something that is specifically Asian, I'd say most of the time, it isn't for what I consider to be a stereotyped role."
When not acting, she composes music and jams with her band, YPOK2. Chen is currently trying her hand at screenplay writing. Unfortunately for her legions of male fans, she is happily married.
Dante Basco's hip-hop heavy characters prove that dance isn't just for gangsta ghetto boyz. He played the rambunctious Rufio, king of the lost boys in 1991's Hook. In 2001 he gave audiences a taste of his hot dance skills in the Filipino American film, The Debut. And in 2006, he co-starred as a breakdance-ballroom convert in Take the Lead. When not working on films, Basco collaborates with his brothers on rap tracks and working on becoming what he calls, "The First Asian American Family."
"I'm one of the premier Asian actors in my age group, like me and John Cho and there's a handful of others, but we' pretty much the ones that are thought about when you think about Asian actors in L.A."
Basco was born on August 29, 1975. Although breakdance was his first love, watching John Travolta bust out his moves in Grease and Saturday Night Fever gave him the acting bug.
Basco has appeared on shows like The Wonder Years where he had a recurring role as "Eddie," Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and done voice overs for several Disney shows including Kim Possible and the Proud family.
In January 2005, Disney created a cartoon series tailor-written for Basco. It is called American Dragon: Jake Long. Basco voices the cool 13-year-old Chinese American, Jake character. He skateboards, dances and dares to crush on the class's blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty.