Russell Wong realizes his role as Jian-Wa Chang, the kung-fu crazy, violin-virtuoso good guy at the heart of the new TV series "Vanishing Son," is a groundbreaking one.
He's on the leading edge of Asian-American men entering dramatic roles on a weekly series in the United States. But, as much as anything else, he sees "Vanishing Son" (7 p.m. Sundays, WGN-Ch. 9), as black-belt revenge for David Carradine's white-guy-as-Asian-mystic on "Kung Fu."
Taking a morning break from the San Diego set, the New York-based Wong, who turns 32 in March, sits at a small table in a favorite, would-be-chic Santa Monica coffeehouse. Dressed for morning cold instead of martial conflict, he's hardly at all like the characters through which most Americans know him: the bullying, brutish husband in "The Joy Luck Club" and the rock-'em, sock-'em hero of "Vanishing Son" TV movies/series prequels that aired last year.