"Just from a creative standpoint there are just entire genres that I’m locked out of, being Asian, because of historical reality. You know, like the cowboy picture (laughs). Basically you’re doing immigrants, smaller immigrant roles. And if you’re doing bigger roles, you’re doing modern tales. That is to say, contemporary stories. And you can do futuristic stories. So I guess I’ve done those.
What I’m locked out of is American history. There just aren’t roles written for Asians in stories that revolve around American history. So you’re dealing with that handicap off the bat.
I don’t know whether the perception is that people think I’ve got it made in the shade, but I still feel like I have to fight for everything. And you know, my career may seem rosy to some—to me, I’m always pretty convinced the wheels are gonna fall off the car any day and that this is the last job. It seems impossible that I’ll work again every time—but maybe I’m fooling my own self. Maybe that’s not the truth either.
I have noticed that—for whatever reason—my personality, I think, folds over into what people consider to be a broad definition of American. And I think that I’m very Korean-specific. But that’s just a chance thing. You know, I feel very much like a Korean man that immigrated to the United States. But I think white America would see me as American. That’s a vague adjective in lot of ways—but it’s a bit of a roll of the dice as to whether people see you as foreign or not. The number of years you’ve been in the United States, whether you’re born here or not—sometimes has no bearing on whether people see you as American or not.”
Full interview (and you should read it!) here.