It was great to reconnect with my friend and colleague Peter Kwong last week at the sold out screening of the cult classic Big Trouble in Little China, part of the Big Trouble in Little Tokyo film series presented by JANM in partnership with Angry Asian Man, First Pond Entertainment, and Visual Communications last week.
The night proved to be an epic reunion of historic proportions with my fellow cast members including Kwong, the legendary James Hong, Gerald Okamura, Al Leong, George Cheung, James Lew, Jeff Imada, Eric Lee, and screenwriter Gary Goldman.
Kwong is a veteran of film, television and stage, best known for his roles as Rain in Big Trouble in Little China and as Tommy Tong in Eddie Murphy’s Golden Child. He just finished filming Cooties, starring Elijah Wood, and has appeared in more than 100 film and television roles.
Other favorite films include roles in The Presidio, Angel Town, Never Too Young To Die, Gleaming The Cube, Steel Justice, Theodore Rex with Whoopie Goldberg, Row Your Boat with Jon Bon Jovi and Bai Ling, and Pearl S. Buck’s historic epic The Living Reed as the King of Korea. On television you may have seen him in “Sullivan & Son,” “Malcolm and Eddie,” “Sisters,” “The Wayan Brothers,” “Daddy Dearest,” “Renegade,” ” Top Cops,” “Full House,” “Doctor, Doctor”. On stage, Kwong portrayed the lead role as Dr. Haing S. Ngor in The Survivor: A Cambodian Odyssey by Jon Lipsky at the Actors Theatre of Louisville/Humana Festival, and stretched his musical theater skills in Mame with the late Juliet Prowse.
In addition to his thriving acting career, Kwong recently served on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for two terms and served on The Board of Directors of SAG-AFTRA, chairman of the Committee for Racial Equality of Actors Equity Association, and the Vice-Chairs of the Ethnic Equal Opportunities and the Young Performers Committees of the Screen Actors Guild. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences & Television Academy. He has also served with the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Heritage Week. He has emceed events for Visual Communications, The Lotus Festival, Asian Business League, and the Los Angeles Miss Chinatown Pageant four times and had the privilege to go to Namibia, Africa to judge the Miss Universe Pageant.
Kwong’s talents have won him an honorary membership in the Los Angeles Mime Guild. He is featured dancing on numerous music videos, including Ed Sheeran’s Sing.
He studied Northern Shaolin Kung-fu which has allowed him to do many of his own stunts and eventually branch off to more meditative disciplines such as Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung Meditation. He currently teaches Tai Chi Chuan.
Peter Kwong: After about thirty years, this film has taken an incredible journey. Lately, they’ve come out with a comic book, some more action figures. There’s a lot of activity that has been going on recently. What the fans would like to know about the film, there are a lot of secrets of what went on behind the scenes to make this film. This film had a lot of impact because it came out right after Year of the Dragon. We of the crew and the cast had to do a lot of work on it in order for us to fight the protests that were going on at that time. Not only did it represent fun and games, but it represented a critical point of where the community met Hollywood. John Carpenter was really amazing because he really reached out to cast and crew. He really asked for all of us to put in our imput. What was nice about it for example, the long hair. I’ve always fantasized about wanting to have that character because of the old Chinese movies, the old sword fighting movies. I was the only one of the three Storms that wasn’t from Hong Kong. They knew I was in trouble. I had to sit in three hours of makeup everyday just to get in and out of the $3000 wig. Kwong then treated the audience to a double sword demo, straight from the final scene of the film.
Photos: Traveling through the mouth of the Dragon with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA’s James Hong, Peter Kwong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, George Cheung, Al Leong, Jeff Imada, James Lew, Gary Goldman, Eric Lee
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