Following from the “Top 10 Asian Australians Who Have Totally Nailed It In Hollywood” list from 2018, we are happy to announce that this year we have updated this list to include “20” Asian Australians nailing it in Hollywood. So, without further adieu and in no particular order, here is our updated “Top 20 Asian Australians Who Have Totally Nailed It In Hollywood”.
1. CHRIS PANG
Most of us were introduced to Chris Pang when he played Lee Takkam in the famous Australian young adult book series film adaptation Tomorrow When The War Began. Pang’s fame and body of work has grown significantly since then, with some of his notable achievements being his role on Netflix’s Marco Polo (2016), playing Colin Khoo on Crazy Rich Asians (2018), which confirmed that he indeed is a hunk and playing a villain named Jonny Smith on the new Charlie’s Angels (2019). Currently, Pang plays a character named Trevor in upcoming film Palm Springs (2019) which is currently in post production.
2. PALLAVI SHARDA
Pallavi Sharda is not new to the global acting scene, having forged a very successful acting career in Bollywood, UK, Australia and now Hollywood. Sharda’s fame and body of work includes being a recurring role on Uk TV series Beecham House (2019) as Chandrika, playing Tanya Kalchuri on Australian TV series Pulse (2017) and playing Dr. Parvati Agrawal on a CBS film called Murder (2018). Currently, Sharda plays Preeti in the live adaptation of Tom and Jerry (2020/2021) which is currently in post production. All this in addition to the roles she has played in some of the big productions in Bollywood and continue to do.
3. JAMES WAN
This guy definitely needs no introductions, because he is the one and only James Wan. Wan has had an extensive career in Hollywood being a director and is most known for his horror genres, like the Saw series and The Conjuring. More recently he has directed DC Comics film blockbuster Aquaman (2018) and have done an extremely awesome job with that. Currently, Wan has a full plate with an “untitled” Saw project (2020), The Conjuring 3 (2020) and There’s Someones In Your House (2020) – all in post-production. Filming wise he is working on Malignant (2020) and Mortal Kombat (2021) with another 5 – 6 huge film projects to be announced (including Aquaman 2(2021)).
4. DIANA LIN
Images via Diana Lin Facebook
Diana Lin’s stellar performance in Lulu Wang’s The Farewell (2019) as Lu Jian, Billi’s (Awkwafina) mother, has really put her in the Hollywood spotlight. But Lin is no newbie to the TV and film scene with a number of huge credits next to her name. Her early days include a number of credits from her acting career in China, and some of her recent notable achievements include playing a recurring character on SBS Australia’s The Family Law (2016-2019) as Maisy, and acting in short film Piano Mums (2018) as Xaiohu Wen. Currently, she is in talks in both Hollywood and in China for a few projects and will also be doing her thing on the theatre scene in 2020 with play Torch The Place in Melbourne.
5. REMY HII
Most of us Aussies would have first noticed Remy Hii when he played Van Truong Nguyen on Australian mini series film Better Man. His acting there was impeccable and his career has ballooned since then. Hii’s growth and body of work includes playing Prince Jingim on Netflix’ Marco Polo (2014-2016), playing Alistair Cheng on Crazy Rich Asians (2018) as well as playing Brad Davis on the new Spider-man film – “Far from home” (2019).
6. DICHEN LACHMAN
Most people would recognise Dichen Lachman when she appeared as Jiaying on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D in the 2014 – 15 period. Since then she has continued to grow in her body of work in the US, including playing Reileen Kawahara on Netflix’s Altered Carbon and on TNT’s Animal Kingdom in a recurring role as Frankie. Currently she plays Stern on Judy Small which is in post production.
7. DESMOND CHIAM
Desmond Chiam has had a successful career in Hollywood, with a large number of achievements and body of work. Many in Oz would recognise Chiam with his appearance in Neighbours, but since then his career has taken off. He was a regular in the sci-fi series The Shannara Chronicles which was aired on Spike and recently played Detective Wyatt Cole on ABC’s (US) Reef Break (2019). Currently, he plays Kuo in Syfy TV series We Were Tomorrow (2020) which is in post production and has been announced to star in The Chronicles of Anatta: Mark of Existence as Prince Csaba.
8. GERALDINE VISWANATHAN
Geraldine Viswanathan is most well known for her role as Eliza on TBS comedy series Miracle Workers (2019), but her acting career and body of work has been really extensive. Since then she has been in Bad Education (2019) playing Rachel Kellog and on comedy Blockers (2019), playing Kayla (2018). Currently, she has done some voice over work for Bojack Horseman (2019) as Tawnie and has a few other projects which are in post production and announced.
9. LEONARDO NAM
Leonardo Nam is definitely an Asian Australian veteran in Hollywood, who has carved a very successful career in Hollywood. Most of us would remember first seeing him in the young adult film The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (2008) playing Brian McBrian, and since then he has played roles in a number of mainstream US TV shows and films such as Bones, CSI, He’s Just Not That Into You and Fast and the Furious. Currently, Nam is cast as a series regular on Westworld as Felix Lutz and has a few upcoming projects to come.
10. NATASHA LIU BORDIZZO
Natasha Liu Bordizzo has not only succeeded in her acting career in Hollywood thus far but has also done well in Chinese and “Chinese styled” films. Most will recognise her from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016) as Snow Vase, and since then her career and body of work has grown. More recently, she has featured in The Greatest Showman (2017) playing Deng Yan, Hotel Mumbai (2018) as Bree and Netflix series The Society as Helena (2019). There are a number of projects for Liu Bordizzo coming up in 2020, so keep an eye out!
11. RONNY CHIENG
Ronny Chieng’s career was really sewn up when he featured on The Daily Show (2015 – 2019) as a regular “senior correspondent”. From there he has forged an awesome career in Hollywood playing Edison Cheng on Crazy Rich Asians (2018) and had his own comedy series Ronny Chieng: International Student (2017) which was screened on the ABC (Australia). Currently, Chieng has an upcoming Netflix special which will grace the screens in December and a few other projects coming in 2020.
12. YERIN HA
Yerin Ha is a name to watch as it will just continue to grow in Hollywood. Most will recognise her from ABC (US) TV series Reef Break (2019) playing Technie Jane – just a reminder, our #7 Desmond Chiam was also in Reef Break. Currently, Ha is working on a TV series called Halo (2021) as Quan Ah, which is currently in pre – production, and is scheduled for a 2021 release.
13. JOHN HARLAN KIM
Most of you would recognise John Harlan Kim on the HBO: Tom Hanks – Steven Spielberg produced mini series The Pacific (2010) as a 14 year old Japanese soldier. Since then his career and body of work has continued to grow. More recently he had a starring role in TNT series The Librarians (2014-2018) as Ezekiel Jones, and was on CW series Pandora (2019) as Greg Li. Currently he has worked on Paper Tiger (2019), The Code (2019) and short Air which are all in post production. It has been announced recently that he will be on Denzel Washington’s crime thriller The Little Things , playing a rookie cop.
14. ALEXANDER HODGE
Alexander Hodge has an extensive body of work in Hollywood. In 2017, he featured in an episode of Law and Order SVU as Trent Dillion and since then he has just gone and done big things. In 2018, he played Andrew on Insecure, as well as played Evan on TV mini series #Lifeonair. Currently he is working on TV series Cash Only as Joji and on TV series Tommy which is currently in pre-production.
15. JORDAN RODRIGUES
Jordan Rodrigues got his break in Australian drama series Home and Away (2008-2009) as Jai Fernandez and in 2013 played Khoa Nguyen (starring alongside our #5 Remy Hii) in Better Man. Since then, Rodrigues played Greg on TV series Camp (2013), Christian Reed on Dance Academy: The Movie (2017) and played Mat Tan on Freeform’s TV series The Fosters (2014-2018). Currently he plays Arlo Bates on TV series L.A.’s Finest (2019) and as Trey Emory on TV series Light as a Feather.
16. STEPHANY JACOBSEN
Images via IMDB
Stephany Jacobsen has been doing her thing in Hollywood for quite awhile. Most Aussies would remember her from Home and Away (2001-2002) where she played Charlotte Adams. Since then she has gone onto playing Jesse Flores on TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009), Lauren Yung on Melrose Place (2009-2010) and as Niko Takeda on Revenge (2014). She has also featured on Two and a Half Men, Alex Cross and Hawaii Five-O. More recently, she has been on Star-Crossed (2014) as Eva Benton, on NCIS (2014) as FBI Agent Leia Pendergast and on Occupation (2018) as Amelia Chambers.
Charlotte Nicdao is a name to watch out for in Hollywood. Whilst most of her body of work has been in Australia, more recently she has started working on US/Hollywood projects except when she was on Camp in 2013. Most Aussies would recognise Nicdao on TV series A Gurl’s World (2010-2011) as Jackie. She was also on mini-series The Slap (2011) as Tina, as Grace on Camp (2013) and on Australian TV series Please Like Me (2014) as Jenny. More recently, she was featured in Get Krack!n (2017-2019) as Scarlett Nicdao, ABC (Australia) TV series Content (2019) as Lucy and in the US she played Poppy on Mythic Quest (2019), which is currently in post production mode.
18. CHAN GRIFFIN
Chan Griffin is a stunt performer with a large body of work. Unlike actors/actresses, stunt performers are not always at the forefront but they are the ones which make all the action scenes awesome. Griffin has worked as a stunt person in nine countries – Brazil, USA, Canada, Hungary, Japan, Malaysia, China, India and New Zealand, as well as Australia. He made his start in 2010 in the Australian film Tomorrow When the War Began ( Chris Pang our #1 on this list was one of the stars in this film), and since then has been a stunt performer in a number of big name Hollywood films such as I, Frankenstein (2014), Alien Covenant (2017 – fight choreographer), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017), Aquaman (2018), Shazam! (2019 – fight coordinator), Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019) and the upcoming Mortal Kombat (2021) film directed by our #3 James Wan.
19. JILLIAN NGUYEN
Images via IMDB
Jillian Nguyen got into acting only in 2017, but the roles she has been cast in have bee significant. She plays Molly Kane in the British Australian Western film, True History of the Kelly Gang (2019) which is due to release in 2020. Nguyen also stars in Australian mini-series (SBS) Hungry Ghosts (2020) as Sophie Tran, and her US work is also growing with her role in US/Australian feature film Loveland (2020) as April which is currently in post production. This is a name to watch for sure!
Images via IMDB
Most people would recognise Gareth Yuen in the famous Power Ranger franchise:Power Rangers Operation Overdirve in 2007 as Dax Lo (Blue Overdrive Ranger). Since then he has grown his acting portfolio both in Australia and in the US/Hollywood. In Australia he was cast in TV series such as Bed of Roses (2010) as Chin Tsung Chi, mini-series Party Tricks (2014) as Lucas Fry and in Ronny Chieng – International Student (2016) as Denedict ( FYI Ronny Chieng is our #11). Since then he has featured on CBS TV series Doubt (2017) as Sammie Kim, film L.A. Confidential (2018) as Johnny Wo, and currently back in Australia on Hungry Ghosts (2020) as Paul Nguyen (note that our #19 Jillian Nguyen also stars in this).
This rounds up our list of 20. Of course all Asian Australians doing their thing in entertainment in Australia and in other parts of the world are also awesome and need to be acknowledged. We will be doing a top 20 in Australia and in Asia soon, so please keep out for it. This list has doubled since the 2018 list, so let’s hope the 2020 list will be even better!