Nobu Adilman’s Round Up of Short Rounds – Call for Help

Nobu Adilman is an all-around creative guy. Not only is he known for his work on the CBC, or as the host on Food Jammers, he also happens to be a writer, musician, and co-founder of Toronto’s Choir! Choir! Choir!. He’s also served as Reel Asian’s Co-Artistic Programmer in 2002 and has been supporting us as a part of the Advisory ever since.

Nobu Adilman at the 2009 Reel Asian International Film Festival

BUT, did you know he also auditioned to be Indiana Jones’ sidekick, Short Round, in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?


Nobu Adilman, producer/director, as Short Round (source: Short Round Up Website)

Nobu’s new and exciting project, Short Round Upis a documentary that explores the rare experience that he, and several other young Asian boys had: to audition for a film that would be considered one of the most iconic films in Hollywood.

It all started when Spielberg put an open casting call for the role of Short Round, Indiana Jones’ young and feisty sidekick, across the major cities in North America. One of the stops for the casting call happened to be in Toronto where Nobu, among many other young boys, auditioned. In an interview, he recalls entering the room full of potential Short Rounds to be surreal: “..all my height, as in short, and a lot of bowl cuts and my first impression was, ‘Holy s—? Where did you all come from?” In the end, the role went to Jonathan Ke Kwan who later starred in The Goonies and is presently a professional martial arts choreographer for Hong Kong and Hollywood productions. This left an impact on Nobu, wondering had he got the role, where would it take him? To be Steven’s new BFF? To live the glam life in Hollywood? It also allowed him to reflect upon the importance of Short Round, who was one of the only representations of an Asian kid on the same wavelength as the main hero. 

Fast forward to 30+ years, and a chance correspondence between him and Mike Takasaki, the creative behind the design firm Union, who casually noted that he sat beside Adilman at the Short Round audition. After receiving a huge response on Facebook when he posted this story, Nobu realized he had to tell the tale of the shortcomings of Short Round candidates. Thus, came the birth and inception of Nobu’s new project which has been supported by bravoFACTUAL where he will be documenting the search of the young boys who auditioned for the role of “Short Round” and examining the impact of Short Round’s representation as an Asian boy on the big screen.


Nobu is currently looking for people. If you know anybody who auditioned for Short Round’s role, or have any affiliation to the casting and production of the film, please offer your experiences to Nobu in support of making his documentary. We’re all excited to see what he will uncover!

For more information, take a look at his website HERE. Twitter HERE.