Actress Katie Leung (Cho Chang) hopes the rise in Asian representation in film and TV “isn’t a blip”.
Katie Leung – who portrayed our beloved Cho Chang and now stars in ITV’s Strangers – has applauded the rise in Asian representation in film and TV, but cautioned that true equality is still a way off. There has been a positive reaction the world over to Asian-led movies and series, including the US box-office hit Crazy Rich Asians and Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.
But 31-year-old Leung told Digital Spy and other press that she’s “really yet to play a role that is not down to the colour of [her] skin”.
“I hope the increase in Asian representation in film and TV isn’t a blip,” she said. “I think that America is probably doing slightly better in terms of diversity, but I like to think that we are getting somewhere in terms of representation.”
The actress, who was born in Scotland and is of Hong Kong descent, added: “In the 15 years that I have been acting, I have really yet to play a role that is not down to the colour of my skin, so I can’t say that I have experienced anything like that yet, but I look forward to that day.
“I did a workshop not so long ago with a bunch of Scottish people and it was such a joy to just play the part of a Scottish girl – that’s something that I really miss doing and being, especially living in London now.”
Katie’s next role opposite John Simm in ITV’s Strangers sees her play Lau Chen, a politically-engaged young woman “protesting a corrupt government”.
“We’re used to seeing Asian females being a certain kind of type of character – demure, silent, dominated and all these kinds of connotations,” she said. “So to have a role as dynamic and as headstrong as Lau is really incredible.
“She’s got so many different layers to her, she is trying to discover her sexuality, meanwhile being an activist and going through dramatic experiences. It is a really unique situation to be in. When I read the script, it was a role I really wanted to fight for.”
In Strangers, Simm plays Jonah Mulray, a professor who, reeling from the news that his wife has suddenly died, has to travel to Hong Kong to unravel the circumstances of her death.
There, he meets Lau Chen, with whom he shares a surprising connection.
Strangers begins Monday, September 10 on ITV.