This article has been edited for length and clarity by XFINITY.
The actor best known for playing a lead role in Wayne Wang’s “Chan is Missing” passed away on November 8, 2017, at 99 years old. Wood Moy began his career in entertainment in theater, acting in plays such as Maxine Hong King’s “The Woman Warrior” and was the first to join playwright Frank Chin’s Asian American Theatre Training Program at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.
Moy plays Jo, a cab driver, in “Chan is Missing.” The film, which premiered in San Francisco at the precursor to CAAMFest in 1982, is considered the first independent Asian American feature film to receive wide distribution and acclaim. It is included in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry for being “”culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The film was shot on location in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
“Wood’s contribution to that film was so important,” said Stephen Gong, the Center for Asian American Media’s Executive Director, who was a program officer at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) when the NEA funded the film. Gong is interviewed in one of the videos on the DVD version of the film. “It needed to have that connection to the previous generation. He was an older actor, but he was cool.”
Moy was one of only a handful of Asian American actors in the film; the rest were non-professionals. Gong notes that Moy’s performance in the film made it fun, delightful and yet poignant. “He delivers both in character and also making us aware of the conceptual nature of the film.” Moy also does the majority of the voiceover narration in the film. “His voice is carried throughout the film and he really ties it all together.”
CAAM is working with director Wang on a project with the support of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.
This article is a crosspost from the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. CAAM does this by funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting works in film, television and digital media.
For more Asian and Asian-American content, go to XFINITY Asia.