Over lunch at an L.A. haunt, actor Steven Yeun leads a lively conversation with The Walking Dead writers/producers Angela Kang and Sang Kyu Kim.
Edited by JULIE HA
Photos by ELIZABETH KIM
Who can forget the zinger of a line: “Everything is food for something else”? Or the wrenching scene when protagonist Rick falls to the ground in shock and grief after learning his wife Lori has perished? Fans of AMC’s hit post-apocalyptic zombie series, The Walking Dead, can thank Angela Kang and Sang Kyu Kim, respectively, for scripting that line and that scene.
Actor Steven Yeun, who plays Glenn, may be the most prominent Korean American identified with the show, but viewers who carefully study the opening credits may have caught Kang and Kim’s names flash across their screens as producers and writers for the acclaimed series, which just wrapped its third season.
Kang, who previously worked on the unaired NBC series Day One and the former FX show Terriers, has been with The Walking Dead’s writing staff since 2011. Kim worked on the TNT drama Hawthorne and the Starz network’s Crash before joining The Walking Dead in 2012. (Kim, incidentally, left the show after the third season, and is working on other TV and feature projects.)
Yeun has called the two writers “brilliant.” Glenn is often described as the most humanizing portrait of an Asian American male on TV today, and KoreAm thought who better to interview Kang and Kim than the actor who brought life to some of their words? The writers met up with Yeun at the Hungry Cat in Los Angeles and chatted over lunch about their craft, the industry, and why the character of Glenn portends a promising future for Asian American portrayals on the tube.
Steven: Angela, how did you get into writing?
Angela: I always was into writing stories since the time I was a little kid. I kept a binder of stories that I’d written from the time I was in first grade. Then I started writing plays in high school … and when I went to college, I had some plays produced through the theater program I was in. Coming out [of college], I started doing some plays, and actually, a decade ago, I was in KoreAm magazine because I had written a play that was in Los Angeles, and it did fairly well. So that was my main writing for a long time. And then, I guess I just always loved TV. I thought, I want to learn how to write for TV. I ended up going to grad school at USC and did an MFA in the film program and learned to do screenwriting and TV writing.
Steven: That’s amazing that it doesn’t seem like there was a hitch in a step ever with your parents saying, “What are you doing?”
Angela: Oh, they definitely were like, “What are you doing?”
Angela: I mean, we’re Korean, so, they were like, “What are you doing? You should be a lawyer!”
Steven: But how proud were they when you came out in KoreAm? Continue Reading »
A Korean American couple in Southern California was arrested after police stumbled upon a marijuana growing operation worth an estimated $1 million.
Cops were responding to a tip about a burglary in the tony coastal suburb of Rancho Palos Verdes, an affluent community that doesn’t see a lot of crime.
They didn’t catch the burglar but discovered a large-scale indoor marijuana farm operated by Tom Kim, 37, and his common-law wife Molly Hwang, 45. Continue Reading »
South Korean golfer Sang-moon Bae captured his first win on the PGA Tour, edging out past winner Keegan Bradley at the Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Tex., on Sunday.
“It’s something I’ve always dreamed of, winning on the PGA Tour,” Bae told ESPN.
Bae, 26, beat Bradley by two strokes after blowing a four-stroke lead in windy conditions. Bae ended his final round with a one-under par 69 to finish at 13-under 267. Bradley, the 2011 winner, struggled down the stretch with a 2-over 72 to finish two back at minus-11. Charl Schwartzel finished third. Continue Reading »
A 22-year-old Korean exchange student studying art in California was announced last week as a winner of a Student Academy Award, the Korea Daily Los Angeles reported.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) named Korean director Eusong Lee, a student at California Institute of the Arts, as a winner in the animation category on May 14. He will attend the award ceremony on June 8 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
“I’m really delighted to receive an award which is only given to students,” Lee told the Korea Daily.
Lee’s short animated film, Will, depicts a young girl who remembers her father who died on Sept. 11, 2001. The brief film is poignant, with strong visual themes and a somber soundtrack.
“Personally, I was not involved in 9/11,” said Lee. “I went to my friend’s concert by chance and heard his music. As soon as I heard the music, I thought, ‘I want to make a music video of this song.’” Continue Reading »
North Korea Launches Missiles for 3rd Straight Day
New York Times
North Korea launched two short-range projectiles into waters off its east coast for a third straight day on Monday, officials here said, despite warnings from the United States and South Korea against increasing tensions.
The North has conducted six such launchings since Saturday, in what are believed to be tests of short-range guided missiles or rockets from multiple launchers, officials said.
“We remain vigilant for the possibility that the North may launch more,” a spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry said, insisting upon anonymity until his government made a formal announcement.
Kenneth Bae: Get him out, but also watch where you are [OPINION]
For all the fanciful exaggeration of the charges against him, Bae is in a serious fix. North Korea is the most paranoid government on the planet. And Bae is ethnically Korean. Note that his captors use his Korean name, Pae Jun Ho. To them, he is one of theirs.
But he is an American, and our government needs to get him out of there. A diplomatic rescue is, however, going to cost something, and more than money.
More South Koreans support developing nuclear weapons
Los Angeles Times
Perhaps it is merely basic human desire to keep up with the neighbors, but an increasing number of South Koreans are saying that they want nuclear weapons too.
Even in Japan, a country still traumatized by the legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there is a debate about the once-taboo topic of nuclear weapons.
The mere fact that the bomb is being discussed as a policy option shows how North Korea’s nuclear program could trigger a new arms race in East Asia, unraveling decades of nonproliferation efforts. The government in Pyongyang conducted its third nuclear test in February and is believed to be preparing a fourth.
In South Korea, high-profile defector is accused of spying for the North — by his sister
Earlier this year, one of the most prominent North Korean defectors, Yoo Woo-sung, walked out of his apartment building here and found four South Korean government vehicles waiting for him.
Authorities hauled Yoo away and arrested him on charges of espionage. They had learned of his alleged crime, court documents show, thanks to testimony from his sister, who said Yoo had been sent on a mission by North Korea’s secret police to infiltrate the defector community and pass back information about the people he met.
Yoo, 32, is being held at a detention center on the outskirts of Seoul, his case a reminder of how this peninsula’s messy and sometimes covert conflict has left the South on edge, with people here unsure whom they can trust.
South Korea: The little dynamo that sneaked up on the world
Christian Science Monitor
South Korea, long in the shadow of other Asian ‘tiger economies,’ is suddenly hip and enormously prosperous – so much so that it may have outgrown its thankless dream of reuniting with the North.
Undocumented Asian Americans are now sharing personal stories online — and onstage
New York Daily News
The crowd that had descended on Washington, D.C. included a great many undocumented immigrants like Pang, yet she felt as if she were an outsider amid the sea of humanity.
“We felt kind of alienated,” said Pang, 23, who was born in Singapore and moved to New York when she was 14. “There weren’t many Asian-American faces.”
Many undocumented Latino students have gone public with their stories, but it’s far less common for Asian-Americans to do the same — even though Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and activist Jose Antonio Vargas, arguably the country’s most high-profile undocumented immigrant, is from the Philippines.
About 1.3 million of the country’s 11.5 million undocumented immigrants were born in Asia, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates.
Asian-Americans: Smart, High-Incomes And … Poor?
Asian-Americans have the highest income and education levels of any racial group in the country. So it might be surprising that they have a higher poverty rate than non-Hispanic whites. Michel Martin discusses the issue with Algernon Austin of the Economic Policy Institute and Rosalind Chou, co-author of The Myth of the Model Minority.
Is it time to kiss Michelle Rhee goodbye?
Is is time to kiss America’s most famous school reformer goodbye? Larry Cuban thinks so — and below he explains why. Cuban was high school social studies teacher for 14 years, a district superintendent (seven years in Arlington, VA), and professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, where he has taught for more than 20 years. His new book is “Inside the Black Box of Classroom Practice: Change without Reform in American Education.” This post appeared on his blog.
In a drive toward reform, World Bank’s Jim Yong Kim turns to a ‘deliverologist’
[Sir Michael Barber] has caught Kim’s ear in particular and has been counseling the new World Bank president trying to focus an organization that internal documents describe as “overstretched.”
Barber’s philosophy lays out a tough road — one that would force the bank to change the way it sets internal budgets and be stricter in ensuring projects that countries want funded align with its overarching goals. Kim has made the top priority clear: eliminating extreme poverty by 2030. Reshaping how the bank operates to further that end may require a deep change in culture — and Barber’s ideas about service delivery are driving the process.
John Cho: ‘Harold & Kumar animated series pilot is written’
John Cho has revealed that a pilot for the Harold & Kumar animated show on Adult Swim has been written.
Last year, it was announced that an animated version of the film franchise will be included in Adult Swim’s 2012-2013 season.
Vancouver’s Grace Park arresting in Hawaii Five-O
As Hawaii Five-O prepares to wrap its third hit season, Vancouver’s Grace Park is almost as famous a fixture in Honolulu as the landmarks that flash on the screen in the show’s opening credits in sync with the best TV theme music of all time.
Park has chosen an isolated Honolulu hotel to meet with The Vancouver Sun, a place where no one will make a fuss over her. But the taxi drivers and hotel staff are still buzzing as she passes by dressed in a casual outfit: “Isn’t that … Yes, it is … that’s Kono.”
Kono Kalakaua, Park’s onscreen alter-ego, is the only female member of the elite Five O police squad that keeps the televised version of Hawaii safe from global organized crime lords with a tendency to arrive on the island and blow a lot of things up, because huge explosions look kinda awesome with a tropical backdrop and sunsets the colour of overripe papayas.
Conger and Wilson proving to be a good battery
While Hank Conger is focused on establishing a connection with every pitcher on the Angels’ pitching staff, he has developed a strong bond with left-hander C.J. Wilson.
That relationship is getting Conger into the lineup — he has caught six of Wilson’s last seven starts — and helping Wilson, as well.
“There’s a comfort level there that’s starting to develop,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after Friday’s game, albeit a 3-0 loss to White Sox ace Chris Sale. “Hank didn’t really catch him last year, but it started in the spring. They are working well together.”