FILIPINA actress Toni Gonzaga and Filipino American actor Dante Basco have been cast as the lead stars of an upcoming romantic comedy film set to shoot next summer in New York City.
“Asian Persuasion” will tell the story of an underachiever who comes up with an outlandish plan to avoid alimony obligations to his fashion designer ex-wife, according to Screen Daily.
Basco and Gonzaga will play the roles of Mickey and Avery, respectively, a divorced Asian American couple who lives in New York.
Based on the film’s official Instagram account, Mickey is “an Asian-American who owns a run-down coffee shop in Queens. He was once an aspiring fine-dining chef whose culinary dreams and ambitions were derailed by self-doubt and depression following his parents’ sudden death during his senior year in college.”
He is also “a great dad to his daughter but is generally a slacker in all other aspects of his life.”
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Meanwhile, Avery is “a beautiful and stylish Asian-American who owns a fashion design business in the Lower East Side. She is the opposite of Mickey and is very organized and career-driven. She is responsible and a loving mother.”
Tony Award-winning producer Jhett Tolentino will direct the film based on a script penned by Mike Ang, while Fil-Am record producer Illmind will score the film and write original songs to be performed by Asian American artists.
In a joint statement shared by Screen Daily, Tolentino and Ang said: “As we continue to suffer the proliferation of unconscionable hate crimes against our Asian communities, it is our social and moral responsibility to speak up, stand our ground, and elevate the Asian narrative.”
“We are presented with a pivotal and historical moment – a unique and lasting opportunity to create art that informs, inspires, and unifies rather than divides,” they added.
A Tony award-winning theatrical producer, Tolentino made his film debut as the director, writer and producer of documentary short “Life Is What You Make It” before producing Isabel Sandoval’s “Lingua Franca,” which was nominated earlier this year for the John Cassavetes Award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Gonzaga is a singer, actress and television host who has appeared on popular Philippine shows from “Bubble Gang” to “Eat Bulaga” and several primetime dramas and feature films. Basco is best known for playing the red-mohawked Rufio in Steven Spielberg’s “Hook,” and Zuko in the animated series “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”