Star Joan Chen who portrays Empress Chabi on Netflix’s period drama “Marco Polo,” recently dished about the Mongol queen’s adaptation to the small screens.
On an interview with Northwest Asian Weekly, the actress shared that, in preparation for filming, show creator John Fusco suggested that she should read “The Secret History of the Mongol Queen.” From the book, she got the insight that queens often serve as advisers to kings, which she used as inspiration on how to create her character.
“Mongols really valued queens as much as kings. In a way, queens had equal power to them. Chabi isn’t on the battlefield, but she’s not shy about offering advice and expressing her opinion,” she explained. She added that when Fusco asked her to become part of the ensemble composed of minority actors, she believed it was her calling since she finds the series “meaningful.”
Moreover, Chen also acknowledged the challenges and specific barriers that Asian female actresses face when they are cast in stereotypical roles in Hollywood. She stated that the episodic television format is an advantage as the characters can develop into three-dimension, complex figures with depth.
“Netflix is being smart because the demographic is changing minorities are big consumers now. If you don’t include diversity in your shows, your business isn’t going to thrive,” she concluded.
The streaming giant has yet to confirm if the series will be renewed for season 3. Rumors are rife that the delay in production may be caused by lead star Benedict Wong’s alleged unavailability. The actor, who plays Emperor Kublai Kan, has been tapped to appear in Marvel’s upcoming movie, “Doctor Strange.”
Some believe that the writers and the production team apparently have to adjust according to his schedule. This is said to mean that Wong may have less exposure in the new installment. If this materializes, another mainstay character is presumed to be highlighted in the follow-up narrative, or there maybe new faces joining the series.
The reports mentioned above should be taken with a grain of salt since there’s still no word from the production team of the series. “Marco Polo” seasons 1 and 2 are currently available for streaming on Netflix.