Sandra Oh Isn't Waiting for White Male Directors to Cast Her

Sandra Oh Isn’t Waiting for White Male Directors to Cast Her

Photo: Charlie Galley (Getty Images)

Now Sandra Oh is a household name: we know (and love!) her as Cristina Yang in Grey’s Anatomyscene stealer Patti in Under the Tuscan sunand as a titular role in Kill Eve. Oh has established herself, but some of her most exciting roles these days aren’t coming from big Hollywood names, but rather young millennial designers, and Oh is thrilled about that.

“It’s like being able to get over a bad boyfriend. They won’t call, “Oh said in a New Yorker interview posted earlier this week on white male directors who haven’t — and probably won’t — have reached out to her to star in their projects. “Move on and hang out with young women who want you to be their mom. If you’re gonna put all your stock in and wait for the white guy to give you the opportunity, or he gives you the validation, or for him to say, ‘Now you can be who you are, because I say so,’ that’s destructive.'”

In particular, she loved working with Iris Shim, the writer-director behind the 2022 Korean American horror film Ouma: “That’s who I want to work with. This movie and the script, it was really an examination of generational trauma, interpreted through kind of a genre lens,” Oh said.

It makes sense that Oh would be drawn to films that allow her to explore and portray Asian stories in more nuanced ways – the 51-year-old actor has endured a lot of racism during his tenure in Hollywood. “Not only is it hard, but it’s extremely unfair,” she said. said Vulture in 2018. “I felt it, and I felt it deeply.” When Oh first arrived in Los Angeles in 1996 to pursue her acting career in the United States (an experience she called “a crush”), an agent who said she was trying to do Oh “a favor” tell him return to Canada. She was basically saying, “Look, nobody’s going to tell you the truth, so I will.” You should go home and become famous there and then try,” Oh told the New Yorker. “She says, ‘I’ll tell you the truth. No one will tell you the truth. You don’t belong here.

The comment touched a nerve for Oh: “It tapped into a very deep immigrant mentality – and I would even say maybe East Asian immigrant – which is, what should I do about other?” she says. By then, she had already worked in theatre, TV, film and won awards for her performances in Canada, and didn’t know what she still had to prove. For her, it confirmed a certain mentality that permeated Hollywood at the time: the message she received from the agent was: “You are about to enter an industry where the majority of people think like me. . So don’t expect it to be the same for you as it was for these white actresses,” Oh said.

Oh has shared before that internalized racism affected her so much that she couldn’t believe it when she was offered lead roles, like in Kill Eve. “It’s, like, ‘I can’t even see myself,'” she told the New Yorkerand “how much that comment from that agent still lived in me.”

Oh made her acting debut in Canada, and she has spoken extensively about the impact the country’s multicultural policies have had on the opportunities afforded to her as a young, aspiring actress. “I have very strong ideas about affirmative action, because I wouldn’t have gotten the experience I got without ‘multiculturalism’ – you can call it what you want, but it’s place for other people to get vaccinated,” Oh said. . “It’s not like I’m saying multiculturalism lets me run anything,” she explained. “But let’s say it’s a short film about [drinking and driving] among the students. They can’t make all the students white because those are movies they would show in the classrooms.

As more diverse and millennial creators get the green light for their projects, Oh is excited to play a part in exploring “existential stuff” and identity, like in Pixar’s turn red, in which she played Meilin’s mother – to life. “It just so happens to be the moment, my moment in history right now,” Oh explained. “That there’s someone with long enough experience and enough work that you can say, ‘Well, that person can handle it. Are you going to be able to entrust my interpretation of my mother in the hands of this person? »

I would trust Oh to do just about anything.

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