“Fresh Off the Boat” star Constance Wu was compelled to challenge her range as an actor with the role of a risk-seeking journalist in the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series “The Terminal List.”
“The Terminal List,” based on the novel of the same name by Jack Carr and directed by Antoine Fuqua and Ellen Kuras, follows the story of former Navy SEAL officer James Reece, portrayed by Chris Pratt, who investigates the circumstances surrounding the ambush of his former platoon during a covert mission.
The action thriller series stars Wu, who portrays Katie Buranek, a war correspondent who leaves her desk at a prestigious news outlet to speak truth to power by pursuing high-impact stories on her own terms. Reece and Buranek become allies while bringing to light the conspiracy Reece is fighting against.
Wu, who is known for her roles in “Fresh Off the Boat,” “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Hustlers,” has become an icon in Hollywood’s Asian representation for many. However, Wu says the title leaves her uncomfortable, as she expresses her aversion to the idea of being ranked.
“I don’t see myself as an icon, and I generally don’t like to rank people,” Wu tells NextShark. “Gloria Steinem has this great quote about feminism where she says, ‘We are linked, not ranked.’ I think we need to lean into that idea to have a sense of community and solidarity and to lift everybody up.”
“Everybody is a human of value and worth that can bring something to the world. I like to think of everybody in that way, and I like to think of me as linked or equal rather than ranked,” she adds. “Any type of thing that has to do with ranking somebody, it makes me uncomfortable because it’s very redundant to the human experience. We’re all just going through it and learning and processing and it’s not so final as, ‘You’re an icon and you’re not.’”
“I’m always seeking a project that is completely different from what I did before,” Wu says. “I like to challenge myself. I really felt like this genre and this character was so wildly different from playing a stripper in ‘Hustlers’ that it was exactly what I wanted to do.”
While Wu’s latest part differs from her previous roles as an actor, her character’s decision to put herself on the front lines of conflict reflects her preferred method of activism on the ground. Wu, who is not fond of social media, spoke out against critics who may view her lack of a social media presence as silence on anti-Asian hate since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need to understand that there are methods of activism that don’t require social media. One of the ways we need to have solidarity as Asian Americans is by not judging each other’s personal methods of activism,” Wu says. “I still very much remain engaged, just not via social media. I like to be on the ground. I don’t like to tweet about voting. I like to go to events to talk to people. To be more actively involved on the ground is just more intuitive to me as a ‘90s kid.”
“The Terminal List” is set to be released on Amazon Prime Video on July 1.