22 Asian Actors Who Deserve To Be Romantic Leading Men
1. Daniel Henney
Daniel has made major appearances in productions like South Korea’s Seducing Mr. Perfect and American rom-com Shanghai Calling. He’s also melted several hearts on Korean dramas My Lovely Sam Soon and The Fugitive: Plan B. Also, just look at him. LOOK, AT, HIM.
2. Sendhil Ramamurthy
The son of immigrant Kannadiga-Tamil Indian parents, Sendhil has had several roles on network television series (Heroes, Covert Affairs, Beauty & The Beast). He studied pre-med at Tufts University, but after taking an acting class and dabbling in theater, he made a slight change in his life’s course. And thank god he did.
3. Daniel Dae Kim
As one of the more recognized Asian-American faces on television, Daniel has appeared in everything from CSI, NCIS, and ER, to Seinfeld and Beverly Hills 90210. But his best known roles are in Hawaii Five-O, and for playing Jin-Soo Kwon in Lost.
4. Sam Milby
Sam was born in Ohio, but has cultivated most of his career in the Philippines, starring in the country’s major productions Close To You and Death March, which was screened at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. The loud underrepresentation of Filipinos in American TV/film, and one young, talented heartthrob? We have our answer.
5. James Kyson
The Korean-born American star might be mostly recognized for playing a Japanese character on Heroes, but he’s had a pretty distinguished and dynamic career up to that point: He’s appeared in several feature films, done improv, had a brief stint in a hip hop crew in college, and was voted one of â€œHollywood’s Hottest 25â€ by TV Guide.
6. Godfrey Gao
OK, technically Asian Canadian, but he’s completely won over Americans’ thirsty hearts (just search his name on Tumblr). Besides being cut from the divinity of a man, GODfrey has found huge success in Taiwan, appearing in several Taiwanese dramas and becoming one of the most sought-after models.
7. Aziz Ansari
The jump from actor-comedian to adorkable heartthrob is not a hard one to make, especially if you’re already killing the Hollywood game like Aziz Ansari. After all, pecs and abs come and go, but a fantastic sense of humor and good cuddling are forever. Give this man a pilot already.
8. Takeshi Kaneshiro
The Japanese-Taiwanese actor has had a tremendous career in China and throughout East Asia, playing the lead romantic interest in the internationally renowned wuxia film House of Flying Daggers (right). He’s been called Asia’s Johnny Depp.
9. Raza Jaffrey
Raza is Indian-English, but he’s appeared in several big American productions, including Sex and The City 2 and Spielberg’s 2012 drama Smash. What more could our networks ask for than an attractive and charming BRIT.
10. Utkarsh Ambudkar
Utkarsh is most recently known for playing Mindy’s silly-and-equally-charming brother â€œRishiâ€ on The Mindy Project, but we’ve seen him in Showtime’s House of Lies and briefly in the movie Pitch Perfect. You might not know that he was also formerly a VJ for MTV Desi (a digital MTV platform for South Asian Americans).
11. Dennis Oh
Dennis was born in Savannah, Georgia, but took his talents to South Korea. His swoon-worthy lead role in Korean drama Sweet Spy has attracted him a huge fanbase, where he’s fawned-over by every mom, daughter, and grandma in Asia.
12. Rick Yune
The hunk has an MBA from Wharton, and didn’t seriously pursue acting until he was discovered by a modeling agent while working on Wall Street. Besides becoming the first Asian American to model for Versace and Ralph Lauren Polo, Rick went on to play small roles in CSI, Boston Legal, and Alias.
13. David Lee McInnis
The actor, although originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin, found underground film success in South Korea. He eventually went on to star in big-budget Korean and Korean-American productions Typhoon and A Moment To Remember.
Unrelated and important: Look at his effortless ruggedness. Do you not want to be gawking at that for a whole hour each week?
14. Russell Wong
Russell has made guest and star appearances in a whole range of films, namely Romeo Must Die, China Girl, The Joy Luck Club, 21 Jump Street , What Women Want. Fun fact: he supported himself as a dancer and has been in videos with David Bowie and Donna Summer.
15. George Takei
This veteran Hollywood actor and hilarious human being has been around for years and has yet claim a romantic lead in his oeuvreâ€” but better late than never, right? George could be the perfect choice for a rom-com divorcÃ© dad role who doles out dating wisdom but can’t seem to follow his own advice. Sure, he can play it straight, but if Hollywood can go for gay dads in Modern Family, there’s nothing stopping George.
16. Steven Yeun
The Korean-American actor has held several small TV roles but it wasn’t until landing the part of â€œGlenn Rheeâ€ in The Walking Dead was he properly recognized. And it should only make headway for a solo lead.
17. Ken Leung
Ken has a pretty impressive repertoire in network television, appearing in Law & Order, The Sopranos, The Good Wife, Zero Hour, and most recently notable for his character in Lost.
18. Dev Patel
The world collectively fell in love with his performance in Slumdog Millionaire, but his rÃ©sumÃ© also includes Skins, The Last Airbender, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and Newsroom. Not only is he charmingly multi-talented on-screen, the guy has a black belt in tae kwan do.
19. Tony Leung
Tony Leung Chiu-Wai has starred in big East Asian films (A City of Sadness, Cyclo, Hero), but most famously known for playing journalist/love interest Chow Mo-wan in the steamy 2000 Hong Kong film In The Mood For Love. The role earned him Best Actor at Cannes Film Festival.
20. Ken Watanabe
In the U.S., the Japanese actor has made a name for himself in several huge blockbusters: Letters from Iwo Jima, The Last Samurai (for which he was nominated an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor), Batman Begins, Inception, Godzilla. Ken is one of only eight actors of Asian descent nominated for an Academy Award in an acting category.
21. Harry Shum Jr.
Harry Shum Jr. is now most known for playing â€œMike Changâ€ on Glee, but pre-Glee, he made appearances in dance movies Stomp the Yard, You Got Served, Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D. So he’s got moves, he’s got looks, he’s obviously got acting capabilitiesâ€”hellerrrrrrrrrrr.
22. John Cho
Seducing Mr. Perfect is a South Korean film. A previous version of this post stated otherwise.