The next Q&A ends with well-labeled spoilers from the American Born Chinese language season finale.
For his function as a robust pop struggling to rein in a rebellious son (performed by Jimmy Liu), Wu obtained to discover a contemporary tackle the Monkey King of lore, whereas additionally relishing the chance to in the end work with longtime buddy (and lately minted Oscar winner) Michelle Yeoh.
TVLine spoke with Wu in regards to the, um, hairier elements of his function, what made the battle scenes particular, the burden carried by Oscar winner Ke Huy Quan’s character, and extra. (Once more, any finale spoilers are on the finish, and are well-marked.)
TVLINE | What excited you most about this chance?
A few issues. One is doing one thing that my daughter may watch and be pleased with. Like, [Into the] Badlands is unquestionably not one thing a 9-year-old can watch, and even my earlier stuff she’s probably not fascinated about watching. This was one thing that she was enthusiastic about and may very well be pleased with and brag about to her mates. For many of my life, that didn’t matter to me, however now it sort of does. I’m making an attempt to impress my daughter! In order that was a part of it.
After which working with Michelle [Yeoh, as the goddess Gaunyin] positively was one of many causes to be part of it, as a result of we had recognized one another for thus lengthy and tried to work collectively quite a lot of instances and this was lastly a chance for us to try this.
Additionally, it is a very totally different kind of Monkey King than most individuals are used to from Journey to the West. To see him in a extra subdued, sort of regal, fatherly sort of perspective, as somebody who’s stressed as a father, made it extra actual for me and extra fascinating. It was a take that I’ve by no means seen earlier than.
TVLINE | How did you and Michelle first meet?
In our days in Hong Kong. Clearly my profession began there, and she or he began in Hong Kong as nicely. Since 2000 we’ve recognized one another, and there have been like two or three tasks that we virtually labored on collectively. And we run into one another on a regular basis at, like, movie occasions and the Hong Kong Movie Awards, these sorts of issues. However we by no means actually labored collectively till this.
TVLINE | Earlier than we get to the vital stuff, I’ve obtained to ask in regards to the hair and make-up. At its worst, how lengthy did it take? At its greatest, how quick did it take?
So, there’s, like, three seems to be, proper? The complete monkey look that has the armor and the golden hair and all that stuff, that’s within the opening scene of the primary episode, that takes about three hours. And about 45 minutes to an hour to take off. And the least imposing work is the human-form Monkey King the place he’s simply mainly obtained lengthy hair and a beard. That takes about 45 minutes to an hour.
TVLINE | What’s your go-to strategy to move the time for these three hours? Podcasts? Music?
Go to sleep. [Laughs] Normally. Through the years I’ve discovered to go to sleep wherever, anytime if you get an opportunity. So, yeah, my blissful place is simply to shut my eyes and fall asleep after which get up reworked.
TVLINE | I can’t be the primary individual to inform you that the golden-haired Monkey King provides Dr. Zaius-from-Planet of the Apes vibes, proper?
Oh, sure. Particularly with the sort of angles that they shot me at in that first episode.
TVLINE | What did you discover most fascinating about your character’s journey?
Effectively, I believe he’s obtained an fascinating narrative in that he’s coping with one thing mythological, which is that this struggle in Heaven that was attributable to the Bull Demon who now desires vengeance. He misplaced energy to Monkey King, who wasn’t even making an attempt to go for that function, however then Monkey King through the years has taken on that duty, fairly critically, and turn into a protector of Heaven. However on prime of coping with the duty and weight of all of that, he’s additionally obtained to be a dad, proper? He’s obtained to lift his son. However then his son will get this cockamamie concept that there’s this Fourth Scroll, and that it’s going to save lots of Heaven, however to try this he’s going to steal his dad’s employees. So, the dad’s coping with a son who’s performing loads like he did when he was little, and when he realizes that — or when Guanyin factors that out to him — he realizes, “OK, ought to I let him?” And that may be a very real-world choice.
TVLINE | You’ve obtained to let youngsters make errors now and again.
Sure, sure. I believe there’s an inclination these days to sort of helicopter your kids, to guard them an excessive amount of. And as as outcome, they don’t actually know the best way to cope with any sort of adversity, as a result of they’ve been air-bagged their complete life. It’s important to allow them to fall down and stand up, fall down and stand up and ultimately study their means by life. Monkey King is coping with that sort of state of affairs together with his son, however with stakes which might be a lot greater.
WARNING: Spoilers for the American Born Chinese language season finale observe….
WARNING: Spoilers for the American Born Chinese language season finale observe.
TVLINE | Your character’s trying fairly spry within the finale, exhibiting up on the soccer subject after being left for almost useless after his conflict with Bull Demon. I assume Mrs. Wang’s magic natural treatment powder did the job?
It paid off, sure! The inexperienced powder paid off.
TVLINE | I, and apparently a couple of others, did surprise at instances if that inexperienced powder — which appeared to show up in each episode! — was going to one way or the other be the Fourth Scroll.
Yeah, yeah. However it was stunning what the Fourth Scroll truly was in the long run. That was a cool reveal, I believe.
TVLINE | Oh, the reveal was nice, the best way your character obtained to trace at it and tee up his son to say it out loud to Jin. I assume that transferring ahead, we’re left to surprise why Jin is the Fourth Scroll and what led to all of that…?
Sure, and it may very well be associated to the legacy of these jade pendants. There’s perhaps some household legacy there that we will discover in Season 2, if we’re fortunate sufficient to do it.
TVLINE | What are you listening to about Season 2? Any buzz? Any discuss on numbers or streaming efficiency?
I believe it’s early in the meanwhile, however I do know there’s some sort of actions in the direction of it. However with the author’s strike, all the pieces’s on pause, so no readability on that but.
TVLINE | Do you suppose that in a doable Season 2, Ke Huy Quan’s actor character would play some kind of bigger function?
Oh, that’d be cool if he did, as a result of I believed it was an amazingly highly effective gadget to make use of him to play that character. In some methods it’s very meta in that it’s reflective of his [own] life and his profession, but in addition of the character as nicely. I believe that’s why it appeared so heartfelt and earnest.
TVLINE | And I do know that subplot was modified loads from the e book.
Yeah, the e book is a very totally different model of that — and it’s virtually even extra cringey. However the adaptation that Kelvin Yu did was wonderful when it comes to taking that storyline and making it apropos to immediately, whereas sustaining the essence of what that character is about.
TVLINE | It appeared like a bigger level of Jamie’s story was to say that as a lot as you’re watching and having fun with this American Born Chinese language sequence, you need to understand that previous portrayals of Asian characters in Western media have usually been horrible. And that we’ve come a far means, however have additional to go.
It’s additionally fascinating as a result of it reveals you the psyche of what it’s prefer to be a type of actors, as a result of nobody actually is aware of what that feeling is like. There’s a few actors from that period like that, and one which we cite on a regular basis as Asian-People is Lengthy Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles, performed by Gedde Watanabe. It’s like, we hate that character, however on the identical time you possibly can’t hate the actor. It’s not his fault, he was making an attempt to get work at the moment and that’s what was accessible. It’s that double-edged sword of “If I take this work on, what does it imply to a complete technology of Asian-American males, being emasculated like that on-screen?
I do know that affected me loads rising up, and I do know it affected lots of people in my enterprise, but in addition folks exterior of all of it, too. He’s enjoying a personality, he’s enjoying a task, and he’s making an attempt to make a residing at this, however once more, he’s hurting the picture of our tradition, and our folks in some methods. So it’s fascinating by this Freddy Wong character to see what it’s like for the actor to play a task like that.
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