foreigners getting bigger roles on chinese tv

This is sort of a companion article to that "white guy in a tie" piece from last week, describing interesting ways in which westerners are making a living in China. Like acting: Foreigners getting bigger roles on Chinese TV.

Except instead of hiring random white people to act as businessman who know what they're doing, we're talking about westerners increasingly being hired to act in TV and movies:
Producers who used to hire exchange students and other foreign amateurs to supply a dash of nonspeaking exotic color to TV shows now put out casting calls as far as the United States and Europe for professionals. They appear in productions as diverse as war stories and romances, and some host variety shows.

Brogan, a Mandarin speaker in her 20s, said she has appeared in 40 movies and TV productions. In "Grassroots King," a saga set in the turbulent years before World War II, she has a speaking role as a regularly appearing character.

"There's much greater desire to work together between Westerners and mainland Chinese people," Brogan said. "The market has a greater need."

Yan said Chinese audiences are looking for entertainment that reflects the world they see on the Internet and in China itself as society becomes more cosmopolitan.

"When I turn on the TV these days, sometimes even I myself am surprised that there are so many foreign faces in Chinese shows," said Zheng Feng, a casting agent who has been finding foreign performers for Chinese producers for 11 years.
While there are no statistics on the number of non-Chinese actors working in China, it is believed the number has risen 20 to 30% a year over the last decade. I suppose this is... a good thing?

I really hate it when I'm watching a Chinese or Korean movie or drama and they've got a western character, and the acting is so bad, it seems like producers must have just dragged a random white person off the street. At least now they're actually trying to get professional actors.

So these productions want to reflect the changing, more cosmopolitan face of Chinese society. Yay. It would be nice if Hollywood made a similar attempt at reflecting the changing, more cosmopolitan face of American society. But what am I thinking -- we're not China!

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