A Leading Man

A Leading Man is a 2013 American drama film written and directed by Steven J. Kung as his feature film debut,[1] starring Jack Yang, Heather Mazur, and Tsai Chin. The film is distributed by Mance Media,[2] and premiered on October 17, 2013 at the 33rd Hawaii International Film Festival. The film had theatrical release at the Music Hall theater in Beverly Hills, California on September 26, 2014.

A Leading Man
A Leading Man.png
Theatrical Release Poster
Directed bySteven J. Kung
Produced by
  • Justin Bell
  • Jon Michael Kondrath
Written bySteven J. Kung
Music by
CinematographyRobert Lam
Edited byChris Witt
  • ALM Film
  • Justin Bell Productions
  • ReKon Productions
Distributed byMance Media
Release date
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States


I originally came to Hollywood because I was sick of seeing Asian men in particular emasculated in front of the camera. No one was making the films that would portray Asian American men in a more well-rounded way.[3]

After witnessing the repeated stereotypical and two-dimensional depictions of Asian Americans in film and television, Kung was inspired to write A Leading Man. He specified examples being media backlash against Jeremy Lin, the "appallingly offensive"[4] stereotypes of Asians on the NBC television series Outsourced, and a SAG-AFTRA report which concluded Asian Americans are underserved within the entertainment industry, coupled with the fact that people were not aware of the issue.[4]

He based Jack Yang's character of GQ Chi on an Asian actor friend of his who had had extensive experience and training and who had landed a major role in Broadway theater, whose difficulty finding steady work despite his skills and accomplishments, was "emblematic of how Asian actors are treated in general."[4]

With a few key exceptions, casting choices were made with the intent to "cast unknowns to introduce a new generation of Asian American performers".[3][4]

Filming took place during August 2012, with financing provided by Kung's mother, who also held the role of GQ Qi's mother.[5][6]


GQ Qi (Jack Yang) finally makes it big playing a coveted role on a television sitcom. Everyone is happy for him – the network, his mother, his best friend – everyone except GQ himself. He is stuck playing an offensive stereotype.[7][8] The day he decides to speak up for himself on set, the executive producer fires him. To salvage his career, he starts dating A-list casting director Rachel Cohen (Heather Mazur); work and love soon become intertwined.[9]

Their relationship survives the protestations of GQ's family and friends, but starts to show strain when GQ is unable to land another acting gig. Frustrated, GQ's attention turns to a famous celebutant actress, notorious for her relationships with many rising actors and launching their careers. Her flirtations with GQ test his ambition and fidelity to Rachel. When pressures from work, love, and family, come to a head, GQ is faced with the ultimate question: How much of himself will he compromise for career success?[citation needed]




A Leading Man Original Score, by Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn, was released October 8, 2013.

  1. "Mountain of Feathers"
  2. "Drawing Straws"
  3. "Getting Cold"
  4. "Getting Hard"
  5. "To the Surface"
  6. "Early Spring"
  7. "Drawing Circles"
  8. "Nothing for Miles"
  9. "A Leading Man"


Critical receptionEdit

The Hollywood Reporter noted how the film "dramatizes the often problematic opportunities available to non-white actors in the entertainment industry,"[1] and while a film developed from an industry report on the under-representation of Asian Americans within the film and television industries might seem an obscure task for most filmmakers, it was where Steven J. Kung found his inspiration. His script highlighting this industry controversy was found "intermittently effective",[1] but it was felt its focus might limit the film's viewership to festivals and home entertainment. However, interest in the film's topic would extend beyond Asian American performers and be of interest to any non-white film industry worker. While the film attempts to "lead by example, the constant remonstrating becomes repetitive as the actors run out of chances to favorably reveal their characters."[1] It was stated that Jack Yang "certainly has the bearing and looks of a leading actor, but the script has him squandering nearly every opportunity to actually deliver a profitable performance," and Heather Mazur role as Rachel Cohen "could have been far more decisive than it turns out to be, diminishing the impact of the role." Bruno Oliver as Mitch Lebowitz was considered notable in that he "effectively embodies every odious characteristic of a clueless, self-centered executive."[1]

Awards and nominationsEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Lowe, Justin (May 13, 2014). "A Leading Man: LAAPFF Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 7, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Latham, Brandon (19 September 2014). "Exclusive: Mance Media Acquires 'A Leading Man,' Which Challenges Racism in Hollywood". Indiewire.
  3. ^ a b Higggins, Jim (December 24, 2012). ""A Leading Man" puts an Asian male center stage". Meniscus Magazine. Retrieved October 6, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b c d e Tau, Timothy (May 30, 2014). "Q&A with Steven J. Kung, Writer/Director of 'A Leading Man'". Hyphen Magazine. Retrieved October 6, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ staff (August 14, 2012). 華裔演員辛酸 龔仁宏拍成電影 (in Chinese). World Journal. Archived from the original on October 11, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ staff (September 1, 2012). 洛杉磯製片動態─好萊塢「母子檔」圓夢沒代溝,經驗預算控管有竅門 (in Chinese). Taipei Film Commission. Retrieved October 7, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "FILM REVIEW: A Leading Man by Jimmy Zhang". Asians on Film, Oct 16, 2013
  8. ^ a b Sanders, Jason. "Hawaii International Film Festival 2013". Filmmaker Magazine. IFP. Retrieved 9 January 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Eidelstein, Eric (August 4, 2014). "Exclusive: Check Out the Captivating Trailer and Poster for 'A Leading Man'". Indiewire. Retrieved October 6, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Hudson, Jessica (26 October 2013). "Steven J. Kung: 'A Leading Man' at Austin Film Festival". Austin Fusion Magazine. Retrieved 19 September 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "A LEADING MAN - 2014 LA Asian Pacific Film Festival". LA Asian Pacific Film Festival. 1 January 2014. Archived from the original on 19 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ PAAFF ADMIN (12 September 2014). "PAAFF '14 Opening Night Film "A Leading Man" Trailer". Philly Asian Film Fest. Retrieved 24 September 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit