Daniel Wu, Lisa Selesner Are My New Model Couple, But the Reason Might Surprise You

Fans of “Into the Badlands” star Daniel Wu may know he married fellow American Lisa Selesner, who is white and Asian (she has a French and Chinese father). And while that makes their marriage interracial, that’s not the reason I’m digging these two lovebirds.

First off, she’s taller than him, just like me and Jun. Sure, they’re only separated by a couple of centimeters, but still – it’s nice to see a couple that looks more like my own relationship than, say, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman (who were, incidentally, our original “models” when we first started dating).

The real explanation for why I’m loving these two – especially Lisa – is based on her response to a reporter, who pointed out she was shorter than then-boyfriend Daniel Wu. Here’s what the report said (which I’ve translated from Chinese into English):

She immediately clarified she was taller than her boyfriend. But she never cared about her boyfriend’s height, and even dared to use it as a positive sexual metaphor. “From my experience, there’s no difference in bed between a man who is 170 cm tall and one who is 190 cm tall.” She also playfully remarked that, although Guo Fucheng (Aaron Kwok) is “small”, “he doesn’t have a problem in bed.”

It’s much like what I wrote in Three Inches of Separation: On Loving a Shorter Chinese Man: “that the greatness of a Chinese man isn’t measured in inches.”

P.S.: For those of you interested, Daniel Wu and Lisa Selesner tied the knot in South Africa, as chronicled in this piece posted by Daniel himself. He wrote, “On April 6th, 2010 Lisa and I were married in a beautiful forest in South Africa.  It was a very very special ceremony. The energy and love that we felt was very intense and amazing. I will never forget that day!”

Photo credits:

Photo of Daniel Wu: By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41619488

Photo of Lisa Selesner: By Crossroads Foundation Photos – https://www.flickr.com/photos/crossroads_foundation/5820591838/in/photostream, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17639702

“Raided” of a Good Role: Daniel Wu in “Tomb Raider” Deserved More in the Movie

When I heard that Daniel Wu of “Into the Badlands” would star with Alicia Vikander in “Tomb Raider,” the latest reboot of the “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” series, the movie immediately became one of my must-see films for 2018. I love a good action movie, especially if the film is reminiscent of the Indiana Jones films that have become personal classics. Add to that the fact that they cast a Chinese-American man opposite the white female lead – and in an action movie, no less. Plus, this is 2018, a year that has witnessed progress in representation with the release of “Black Panther” and the forthcoming film “Crazy Rich Asians.” So I hoped this might be another push from Hollywood to open up better roles to, in this case, Asian male actors.

First, the positive – “Tomb Raider” is great entertainment, especially for anyone looking for a fun movie to while away your summer afternoon or evening. Vikander makes for a terrific Lara Croft. And in the era of #MeToo, where women’s empowerment is taking center stage, it’s refreshing to see a young woman kicking some serious butt and fearlessly embarking on archeological adventures in the style of Indiana Jones. While the film loses a bit of its momentum in its second half, I still found it solidly entertaining and worth the time. My husband and I are both hungry for the sequel.

Daniel Wu, who stars as Lu Ren, is another story.

A Forbes critic called his performance “winning if underused,” which underscores the problem here. Without giving too much away, Wu’s character functions more as a means to a destination than anything else – and once there, he largely faded into the background.

Meanwhile, Daniel Wu is the first leading man in a Lara Croft movie who isn’t her love interest. A writer for Time noted, that, in past movies, “every time any man tries to work up the courage to ask Lara out in the movie, she’s already biking away on to another adventure,” which doesn’t happen here. I’m all for more movies starring women who aren’t defined by their romantic lives. But still, you can’t help but notice the filmmakers made this choice when they cast an Asian man opposite Croft. It’s like business as usual for Hollywood, yet another asexual Asian guy in the movies. In some ways, Daniel Wu’s presence feels like a cheap attempt to appeal to moviegoers in the growing China film market, which overtook the US earlier this year to become No 1 in the world.

Given that the Lara Croft movies never stick with the same leading men, I don’t expect we’ll see Daniel Wu in any sequels. It’s a shame. They could have done so much more with the star of “Into the Badlands,” a brilliant show on AMC (that, incidentally, isn’t getting the promotional attention it deserves).

Here’s wishing that, if the producers want to continue courting the Chinese market with more Asian actors, they might actually allow these Asian leading men to inhabit full-bodied characters that can truly complement Vikander’s Lara Croft.

Have you seen “Tomb Raider“? What did you think of the film?

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