At the beginning of this year, America met Arthur Chu. As a contestant on the long-running game show, Jeopardy!, he was, rather unexpectedly, the target of social media backlash, allegedly for his style of play. Since then, it’s become abundantly clear that Arthur’s game strategy could not have been the only factor in his notoriety. So why is it, when there have been other players in Jeopardy!’s history that have also used the “Forrest Bounce,” that Mr. Chu gets the heat? This is the question Scott Drucker wanted to explore when he decided to make a documentary featuring this unlikely game show star.
Arthur Chu’s public presence, particularly his success in becoming an internet mainstay rather than squandering his 15 minutes of fame, are what inspired Scott Drucker and Yu Gu, two independent film makers, to take a deeper look at the person behind the “Jeopardy! Villian.”
Arthur, outside of his game show career, has been able to twist the stereotypes people throw on him and open them up to further scrutiny. From writing about Ferguson and the Isla Vista shooting to Gamergate, Arthur has broached a wide range of subjects with equal parts fearlessness and tenderness, and it is just this nuance that makes him so interesting.
So, Scott and Yu are on a mission to create a documentary to share Arthur’s story. I spoke to them from across the Pacific, while they were in the midst of a grant-writing frenzy. What struck me, besides the fact that they were adorably accidentally match-y, was their desire to showcase Arthur as a full person with many facets. The two have been able to film with him as he prepares for his next big event, Jeopardy!’s Tournament of Champions, and told me a bit about what they have discovered so far.
“Throughout this process of filming with Arthur at the tournament and at different speaking engagements, we’ve really kind of found all these other layers of him, and he’s really such a multidimensional person; it’s been really rewarding in that sense,” says Yu. He is not just a Jeopardy! contestant, a nerd, an Asian American, a Taiwanese American, an aspiring actor, or a blogger. He is multidimensional in all those roles. And sometimes we, as people of color, have a lot riding on how we are represented in the media. Scott and Yu’s documentary could be a promising way of seeing our humanity through the eyes of Arthur Chu. Their dedication to showing him in all his colors is promising, and I look forward to their work. You can catch them live-tweeting with Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man (using the hashtag #champchu) when Arthur returns to Jeopardy! for the Tournament of Champions on November 11th.
We’re excited to see not only a fellow Taiwanese American, but a fellow human being with a story and a stance, on the big screen.
photos courtesy of arthurchufilm.com