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Gran Torino's Hmong Lead Bee Vang on Film, Race, and Masculinity: Conversations with Louisa Schein

Author(s): Louisa Schein | Bee Vang

Journal: Hmong Studies Journal
ISSN 1091-1774

Volume: 11;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Bee Vang | Gran Torino | Clint Eastwood | Detroit | Masculinity | Acting | race Asian masculinity | Asian stereotypes | Immigrants | refugees | Hmong | Hmong media

Bee Vang, of Minneapolis, played the Hmong lead Thao Vang Lor in Clint Eastwood's 2008 Gran Torino. He was sixteen when he shot the film and had no acting training. For 27 days on location in urban Detroit he played before a Hollywood crew opposite an icon of the filmindustry doing multiple takes of each scene and camera angle. The shoot was full of unexpected twists and turns some of which he recounts in these interchanges with Hmong media expert Louisa Schein of the Departments of Anthropology and Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. Over several conversations, condensed here, Vang and Schein talk about Gran Torino, about acting and film critique, about immigrants and stereotypes, about masculinity and sexuality, and about Vang's vision for what needs to change to address problems of race and inequality in and beyond media worlds.

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