Filipino Cast Members Shine In International TV Shows

These Filipino actors have landed roles in global mainstream media.

In the realm of entertainment, more and more Filipino actors are receiving worldwide recognition. Here are just some of the latest shows that feature such talents.

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James Bradwell and Martin Sarreal in Bridgerton

Filipino actors James Bradwell and Martin Sarreal play Lord Basilio and Lord Barnell respectively in the latest season of Bridgerton. The regency romance series will be returning with the second part of season three on June 13.

James Bradwell as Lord Basilio
James Bradwell as Lord Basilio | Image via Instagram @jimbobradwell

In an Instagram post, Bradwell mentioned that when he was offered the role, the character had a different name of East Asian heritage. Advocating for his own identity, he reached out to production to suggest a change in the name.

“I was met with an enthusiastic response welcoming and encouraging my input,” he wrote. “I suggested a number of Filipino surnames and Basilio was born! Most importantly to me in this exchange was that I was made to feel like a collaborator on my role, not a beggar at the door as these conversations can sometimes feel in this industry.”

Martin Sarreal as Lord Barnell
Martin Sarreal as Lord Barnell | Image via Instagram @martinsarreal_

Sarreal also made a social media post, saying, “There are now officially TWO Pinoys in the Bridgerton universe. What more can you truly ask for?”

Gordon Cormier in Avatar: The Last Airbender

The live action adaptation of the beloved animated series found its Aang in Gordon Cormier. Getting cast at just 11 years old, the young Filipino-Canadian actor has a lot on his shoulders as the show’s main character.

“It has been such an honour to portray Aang on Netflix’s avatar last Airbender, and even more of an honour to work alongside these incredible actors and actresses who have put up with me over these past few years,” Cormier wrote when the series premiered.

Gordon Cormier as Aang
Gordon Cormier as Aang | Image via Instagram @netflix

Earlier this year in February, Cormier and his co-star Dallas Liu (Prince Zuko) visited the Philippines to promote the show. In an interview with Gud Morning Kapatid, he said that it was his third time in the country.

Liu also mentioned getting to talk to Dante Basco, the Filipino voice actor who played Zuko in the animated series. “He was very supportive in allowing me to pick and choose from different scenes from his portrayal—or even Dev Patel’s portrayal—of Zuko then sort of mix it and make it my own,” he said.

Malia Pyles and Lea Salonga in Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

Proud queer Filipino Malia Pyles plays Minnie “Mouse” Honrada in the latest Pretty Little Liars spin-off. The show follows a new group of teenage girls who also start receiving cryptic messages from a mysterious “A.”

Malia Pyles as Minnie “Mouse” Honrada
Malia Pyles as Minnie “Mouse” Honrada | Image via Instagram @prettylittleliars

In an interview with Teen Vogue, Pyles pays tribute to fellow Filipino Shay Mitchell, who played Emily Fields in the original series. She said that seeing Mitchell play a queer character was a “huge deal” for her and that Mouse is “a way to continue that legacy.”

And who else plays her mom in the series but the Lea Salonga? “Lea Salonga is an absolute legend, and especially in the Filipino community,” Pyles said. “I think Filipinos, we celebrate whenever someone is able to break through into American or mainstream media, because we don’t get that much representation.”

Lea Salonga as Elodie Honrada
Lea Salonga as Elodie Honrada | Image via Instagram @msleasalonga

In true kismet fashion, Salonga is actually related to Mitchell, the daughter of her first cousin Precious Garcia-Mitchell. “I auditioned for a gazillion things over the course of the pandemic, and there was a bunch of stuff that I didn’t get. But isn’t it funny that this is the one I got?” Salonga told Inquirer.

Ginger Gonzaga in She-Hulk and True Lies

In Marvel’s She-Hulk, Ginger Gonzaga plays Nikki Ramos, the title character’s right hand woman. She then became the co-lead of the CBS show True Lies as Helen Tasker, a suburban housewife who has an international spy for a husband.

“I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am,” Gonzaga wrote when her She-Hulk role was announced. “I get to look fierce while being funny! So stoked to join the @marvel/@disney family, and they have been nothing but supportive and kind with next level vibes. I cannot wait!”

Ginger Gonzaga as Nikki Ramos
Ginger Gonzaga as Nikki Ramos | Image via Instagram @gingerthejester

In an interview with ABS-CBN, Gonzaga talked about why starring in these shows mattered so much to her. “The ripple effect that taking this on would have, just by my existence by my casting, I will inevitably get to hire five other Filipinos on a show,” she said.

“When I first started, there was just no diversity and I’m lucky to have been able to work…So it was nice to wake up to kind of like the power of accepting a job like this.”

Banner image via Instagram @maliapyles.

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