From restauranteur, to memoir author, to ABC sitcom executive producer, Eddie Huang has worn a lot of hats. But now he moves from Fresh Off the Boat to fresh-faced filmmaker, making his directorial debut with the basketball drama Boogie. Watch the Boogie trailer below.
Eddie Huang is most known in pop culture circles for writing the memoir that the beloved ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat is based on, even lending his voice to narrate the show, which he executive produced. But he famously split with the series after the network “tried to turn my memoir into a cornstarch sitcom and me into a mascot for America.” But there is no concern with smoothing over the rough edges of the Asian-American immigrant in his film Boogie, with which Huang makes his feature directorial debut.
The film tells the story of Alfred “Boogie” Chin (played by Huang’s former assistant Taylor Takahashi), a Chinese-Taiwanese American high school basketball star who dreams of playing for the NBA amidst turmoil at home and among his classmates in Queens, New York. The film, which also stars Taylour Paige, Jorge Lindenborg Jr., Pamelyn Chee, Perry Yung, Mike Moh, and the late rapper Pop Smoke, is a classic inspirational sports drama, but anchored in the Asian immigrant experience. But rather than drawing from the many sports dramas before , Huang told Entertainment Weekly that the story of Boogie was inspired by Good Will Hunting, which was also the film that convinced him to go into filmmaking.
“That movie was the moment where I said, I would like to make a film that changes another kid’s life,” he told EW. “The way that they were able to humanize domestic violence and those relationships, it opened my eyes because I didn’t know you could talk about stuff like that in movies.”
I have to admit, I’m not overly fond of Eddie Huang, mostly due to his controversies pertaining to criticisms of cultural appropriation. I liked Fresh Off the Boat for all the “sanitized” reasons he disliked (it’s an ABC sitcom, what do you expect!) but I admire him for taking his creative vision into his own hands and making the leap to filmmaking.
Here is the synopsis for Boogie:
From acclaimed writer, producer and restaurateur Eddie Huang comes his directorial debut BOOGIE, the coming-of-age story of Alfred “Boogie” Chin, a basketball phenom living in Queens, New York, who dreams of one day playing in the NBA. While his parents pressure him to focus on earning a scholarship to an elite college, Boogie must find a way to navigate a new girlfriend, high school, on-court rivals and the burden of expectation.
Boogie will open in theaters on March 5, 2021.
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