Spider-Man star says diversity has to be authentic
REMY Hii is all for diversity on the big and small screen, as long as it isn't tokenistic.
The former Neighbours actor come movie star is part of a new wave of Hollywood embracing diversity, having starred in Crazy Rich Asians and the recent Spider-Man: Far From Home.
"Growing up as an actor, auditions would be sent my way that were Hong Kong gambling addict or IT nerd, the very stereotypical two dimensional roles," he explained, promoting the Spider-Man Blu-ray release.
"I feel like we have made so much progress, specifically in the last couple of years. We want to see ourselves represented on screen. You walk around and look on the street and it is a multitude of colours so we need to incorporate that in our stories. We have to underscore that with the word authentic though. You can't just throw diversity in for diversity's sake … it is not going to ring true. We want to steer away from tokenism, that isn't doing anyone any favours. And this really applies to in front of the camera and behind."
Hii was born in Malaysia to a Malaysian Chinese father and an English mother with the family moving to Australia when he was eight.
He graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in 2011 and went on to land roles in SBS series Better Man and as Hudson Walsh on Neighbours.
His big Hollywood break came by way of a supporting role of Alistair Cheng in global blockbuster film Crazy Rich Asians and he is signed on for the second and third films in that franchise as well as being contracted to two more Spider-Man flicks.
"Crazy Rich Asians showed producers and investors that there is an audience there for authentically told culturally rich and diverse stories," he explained.
The 32-year-old plays teenager Brad Davis in Spider-Man and joked his days of playing a school kid are now over.
"I guess I've got great genes," he laughed. "It was definitely flattering to be cast as a high-schooler. I think that is probably the last time I can get away with it."