KCRRLIVES BLOG: REVENGE OF THE GREEN DRAGONS CAST INTERVIEW
For this week’s blog, I’m going to answer these interview questions given to my by Jenny Nulf, Editorial Manager for GotchaMovies.com, Q1Media.com
Here’s the link to the full interview with other cast members.
What made you want to make a movie that explores immigration in the US.?
I don’t want to write an essay here, but here’s a shorter answer. The immigration story isn’t specific to any race, but we haven’t really seen much about it from the perspective of the Asian immigrant. The Asian immigrant is one of the stereotypical representations of Asians, and here, we can see a story from that perspective that explores it more. We have also seen Asian gangs before too, and again, it’s another representation, but in the case from their point of view. It’s their story, and it’s an American story, in American history, an Asian American story that we don’t often see or hear about from this point of view. We all have the need to belong. And growing up, even in CT, myself, as an immigrant I felt that need. Many immigrants come to America for their children’s future, but they sometime end up being here, just working to full-fill the promise of a better life and future. They end up working so much, in some cases, they aren’t really raising their children, cause they’re just struggling to provide for them. The children in some cases feel ignored, and alone in a new world full of people who they don’t feel they relate to. Growing up in America, one can feel like they don’t belong as an American or in my case as a Chinese. Identity issues arise and they feel “different.” It’s only natural that we search for those we can identify with. With so many “lost” children in a community, some with absent families, they tend to turn to eachother and become eachother’s family and support to survive in this world, and though, right now, it’s oversimplifying, I feel that’s one place gangs culture thrives and begin at.
Anyhow, I won’t go on and on, but you get the point. It’s another American immigration story that I feel is worth representing. In America, when we think immigration issues, we think about Mexicans mostly, but clearly there’s more.
What was your favorite scene to film?
I can’t think of a favorite scene to film, but I can say, though my character is very violent, this film was the most fun I’ve every had filming anything so far. I attribute that mostly to the freedom I was given to create my character, as he isn’t very defined in the script, or in the source material for the film, which was the New Yorker article. I always wanted to play a really crazy all out character who you could be scared of cause he seemed so crazy, ha ha. I got to do that, and being able to just let go, and go wherever my mind took me in the context of the script and scenes was incredibly fun, despite the horrific violence.
What was the most difficult scene to film?
I’ve said this before in interviews that the violence you see on screen felt a lot different when we were actually shooting it. There’s a slight detachment while doing some scenes that seem really violent. There is obviously a sense that it’s not real, that we’re all actors playing a role, and there’s all these other crew members with cameras and lights all around us, and we do take after take, and cutting up the scene which later on will be put together, with cuts, music, and sound effects, giving the audience the full effect of the scene. So, though the scenes are very violent, they don’t seem as bad when filming them. I remember worrying that the violence wouldn’t come across as violent enough! People can play at being physically violent, and even have fun and doesn’t have to be about power. With all that consideration. The rape scene in the film I would say was the most difficult, cause though it’s fake, it has to come off convincingly real. Not that the other violence didn’t, but sexual violence to me seems a lot more personal, and invasive, even given what I said earlier. Rape isn’t someone people would play at for fun. Any violence, for that matter, when played at for fun, BUT is coming from the power fantasy is saying a lot about those doing it. Even if you have a rape fantasy, as the rapist, psychologically there’s obviously something wrong, something that they are using the power of sexual dominance and degradation to compensate and punish for some past pain and emotional need. And as the one being raped, it’s still steeped in fear, and for some, psychological trauma and drama, that they may be recreating to punish themselves for, something that happened in the past. Ok, getting way too deep into all of this.
How was it researching the roles played?
There wasn’t much research for my role to be done. Chicken Wing in this film, doesn’t have a character arc. He doesn’t change from who he was in the beginning at the end. He’s basically the same from beginning to end. Even with the source material, the New Yorker article, there wasn’t too much there regarding Chicken Wing, but I did can get a sense for a particular characteristic, and dynamic between himself and the other gang members, but there wasn’t much in the film that allowed for the expression of that sense, the story told in the film isn’t about him, and it isn’t the story that was being told, so he was more of an blank slate, given the action and words of the script, but really didn’t have much else to do with the REAL Chicken Wing outside of the surface similarities of being Asian, in the Green Dragons, and violence.
So besides what’s on the surface. I saw a little bit of Andrew Lau’s Young and Dangerous, and also, Training Day with Denzel Washington,.. BUT, none of that stuff really informed how I played my character in the end, ha ha, mostly because I wasn’t working on playing Chicken Wing at the time, and when I was offered that role,… I had no idea, at first how I was going to play him, until the first day on set, and it all just came out. Like I said, I was given this freedom, and I always wanted to play a character that was dangerously crazy, and wild, YET, was a happy and fun guy who enjoys what he does. I ended up channeling some characteristics that I’ve picked up along the way from characters and feelings of other films, and of friends in my past, or others who really spoke to the rawness and wild abandon I wanted to portray.
If you could play a role outside of your own, which would you play?
It would have to be ANY of the other roles, even the female ones ha ha really. But realistically, probably I Chung, Sonny or Steven. With I Chung, I could’ve explored the character I was creating in Chicken Wing, but have more breathing room to show more sides of the character. With Sonny and Steven, there would be more character and emotional moments to explore.
I’m just auditioning, looking for what’s next. In the meantime, I’ve just shot a Royal Caribbean commercial, working on a few web-series, writing with Jaysen Headley, who’s new book A Love Story For Witches, I edited, shooting our weekly YouTube show, First Impressions, where we give our initial thoughts on comic books, TV shows, films, and video games [carlkaholi on YouTube], writing a weekly blog, http://www.kcrrlives.wordpress.com, and just doing more and more to be fully self-expressed, creating content, being my best and fulfilling my potential!