Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 5/21/20–
What do you enjoy about acting the most?
I love being able to play all different types of characters with some very similar to who I am and some very unlike who I really am. It’s like Halloween every day going to work.
You play a gangster in Lucky Grandma, have a recurring role as Counselor Josh Wang on Law & Order SVU, and a big-time computer hacker, Del Toro on NBC’s Blindspot. Is there any synergy between these characters?
Yeah there is synergy. All those characters have attitude. They have pent up anger to varying degrees. I imagine them having difficult childhoods that impact who they are as adults. Very different from me in real life.
You’ve done a lot of theater in your career. Tell us about your experience.
I love so many things about theater but I don’t have a chance to do it much. I love the ability to really dig deep into a role and you get so much time to explore a character. There is nothing more exciting than walking on stage in front of a live audience. There is no stopping mid-scene and doing it again. That added pressure can be exhilarating. I also love getting to work and get to know a great team of people so intimately for a few months. It’s like a sleep-away summer camp. For film and TV, most of my projects are only days or a few weeks on set so the relationships are not as close. I’m doing some Zoom Theater performances during this pandemic but eventually I do want to get back on stage in a full production. Right now my TV Film career has been seeing a lot of momentum so it’s hard right now to take a few months off for a play. But if the right role comes by you never know.
You are in Apple TV’s, “Defending Jacob” starring Chris Evans. What was it like working with Chris?
Chris and I don’t have scenes together but we hung out together on set. We’re both originally from Massachusetts a few towns away from each other and we have some mutual friends. He’s so down to earth and we talked a lot about high school sports and theater. He wrestled, I played tennis. One thing we didn’t talk about was Captain America, lol.
Tell us about your new film, “Lucky Grandma.” What intrigued you about this project?
Lucky Grandma is a Dark comedy caper set in NY’s Chinatown directed by the talented Sasie Sealy. It won the AT&T Tribeca $1million Untold stories competition. We premiered last year at Tribeca but our public nationwide virtual theatrical release will be May 22. The movie stars Hollywood Legend Tsai Chin (Joy Luck Club, Casino Royale). An ornery, widowed feisty grandmother who gets mixed up with the local Chinatown gangsters (me!).
What was it like working with Tsai Chin?
Tsai is a force of nature. That actually may be understating it. She’s 86 and just an amazing woman. She had 6 decades in Hollywood. I felt so lucky to be able to act with her. It was a master class in acting every day on set. Also her advice and stories were priceless. Stories about Cary Grant, and Ingrid Bergman and Sean Connery. Many stories that I can’t repeat! Her performance in Lucky Grandma is so good. It’s an Oscar-worthy performance. She’s that good in it.
Tell us a little bit about your character, Little Handsome in Lucky Grandma?
Little Handsome is a small time gangster in NY Chinatown. He’s not that smart, a bit scary and definitely has a few screws loose but that’s what makes him so unpredictable. My partner in crime is the sleazy crook, Pockmark. Pockmark is the smarter and more talkative of the two. They remind of the bad guys in Home Alone.
Why is he called Little handsome?
Originally the casting called for a short handsome guy with spiky hair and a Double eye twitch. I’m 5’11 so 3 out of 4 ain’t bad, lol. In Chinatown everyone has nicknames the names are very direct and unflattering. I imagine my character thinks of himself as “Big” Handsome but it got turned around on him and Little Handsome stuck.
Has COVID-19 affected any of your upcoming projects?
Unfortunately, yes it has. Lucky Grandma was supposed to have a nationwide theatrical debut in August but was changed to a virtual theatrical release. Free Guy, a movie that I’m in starring Ryan Reynolds got its release date moved from July to December. I was also supposed to shoot a cool movie in Atlanta back last month but now I’m not sure when that will restart. All auditions are on hold and productions probably won’t be back until the Fall.
What other projects can we see you in the next few months?
Other than Lucky Grandma, My episodes on Defending Jacob will be coming up in the next few weeks. NOS4A2 starring Zachary Quinto opens on June 21 and the Sound of Metal (starring Riz Ahmed) releases in August.