Asians in Hollywood – Telling an untold story

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Mike Walter with Byron Mann and Tzi Ma Byron Mann and Tzi Ma talk about the importance of bringing Chinese-American stories to mass audiences.

Chinese-American actors Byron Mann and Tzi Ma were both born in Hong Kong and are now Hollywood actors co-starring in AMC’s hit American television series, Hell on Wheels, a contemporary western.

Byron Mann plays the role of “Chang,” a powerful businessman and the villain on the series. Mann has starred in films such films as Red Corner and The Corruptor and the Asian-American indie film Jasmine. He’s recently been cast in The Big Short to play opposite Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling.

Byron says while Asian actors have been underrepresented in the past, he’s now seeing more projects casting Asian actors.

“With the emergence of the Chinese market in the film business, a lot of film projects and television projects, they’re mindful of casting Chinese actors,” Mann said.

Tzi Ma is a veteran actor and has played a wide variety of roles in everything from movies such as Rush Hour and Million Dollar Arm to television hits like 24: Live Another Day. He’s joining us to talk about his Hell on Wheels character, “Tao,” a highly-educated Chinese man whose good English makes him invaluable to the railroad company.

Asians in Hollywood – Telling an untold story

Actors Byron Mann and Tzi Ma talk about the importance of bringing Chinese-American stories to mass audiences.


Hell On Wheels is dedicating its fifth and final season to telling the story of the significant Chinese contribution made to building America’s Transcontinental Railroad during the 1860’s and is doing so, for the first time, in television history.

Tzi says it’s a story more viewers need to see.

“It’s about time, that the American audience, and hopefully the worldwide audience, gets to see the contribution of the Chinese who basically had a hand in making America what it is today.”

Byron and Tzi joined Mike Walter in our Los Angeles studio to give us insight into the importance of bringing Chinese-American stories to mass audiences.