« WTF with Marc Maron Podcast

Episode 1414 - Hong Chau

2023-03-02 | 🔗
Hong Chau owes her acting career to social anxiety and a fear of performing in public. It was the desire to overcome those obstacles that led her to improv and acting classes. Hong and Marc talk about the dangerous journey her family undertook to get from Vietnam to America, her upbringing in New Orleans, the controversy around her performance in Downsizing, and her Oscar nominated performance in The Whale.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
A guy. All right. Let's do this! How are you what the fuckers, what the fuck buddies, what the plot nics how's it going what's happening, we're not going forever god dammit Not gonna live forever. I would want to live forever. It seems, tiring, exhausting more about me in a second. I do want to take a second to say that, hong chow? is on the show now an actress, she's final, oscar nominee prior to the words being given out a march twelve she's, not many for best supporting actress for thee whale. She's, also been in inherent vice downsizing. The watchman series homecoming and the menu. I think someone is has been three me say a couple: people saying dicey: driveways I do not, but I've seen it.
for these, and I enjoyed talking to her It was a different kind of conversation, I'm not sure I've ever seen, can do some one who was on a bow in her mothers stomach being shot at as they escaped vietnam. And her father was shot and survived? This is a first for that type of interview. I've been going to the gmo a usual, I used to take up the mountain, but I don't even know what's left it at trail at this point, this rain, he's been amazing. No complaining about the reigning los angeles. I've got a shut, some fuckin. But down man people. I go right. This rain, I'm like it's amazing better than higher shut up better and fire keep your your whole shut. Stop complaining. The reservoirs or up. I can't do my my dream. chunk any more work There is, of course, scientists are like, while you know
take it easy, we're not the woods by reservoir I know about lake mead, you know, I've heard it about aiding turn up. Their lately A couple of other ones are doing pretty well, which is good news, makes me less freaked out for what while but I can go in the gym, because it's been raining and it's I'd forgotten what gym culture is like not just so much culture but just by going everyday, you don't know anything. the jim, but you see them every day that you, a lot of them. The trainers people were regulars, and I know very few people. and I spent a lot of time in the treadmill. But so amount to Jim every day, I'm on the treadmill and I'm looking out over the expanse. of the gym. And down asia these people every day and all you can do- is a sort of look at him and speculate I'll know what other people do. I mean I'm listening to music, a mine and my own business, but you're. Looking at these people, you're
can a more gao. You see what they where every day, you're wondering about their lives, and I am not in a fancy area. There's no big! It's not like! at a scene I mean there are some people dress up in here. You start to notice, like oh there's that lady again there here's the weirdest thing is the gym manager and it's not bad, but I mean I think the woman who runs the Jim is always walking around in literally six inch heels, which is, I don't know I'm not martini distracting it's just odd jim retire. I am not complaining but does she work out you or is this Did she do what are literally essentials of different kinds, and I noticed that not fetish way or not a purview way. I'm just noticing things, I'm noticing certain trainers. I noticed when they get haircuts any I have to wonder about people's lives and you can speculate about people's wives, and you know you see there, people there and you're like wow this guy he's working hard, Lp Lp is able to
to get rid of some of that or you know, This weighty is like she must be a professional. weight of some kind Guy with that, you know. after a certain age, you shouldn't really be grow in those kind of beards. You know I mean it's like you can't break. beard and your fifties, or maybe that's the only two. You can break them. None the less I just sit around making of lives are wondering what people are like. Without ever. talking to them in your seeing them working out fairly winnable, if you, if you you got me, careful, though, when you're at the jim that you're not just like locked in a one or two, people in germany, look over even for a second you're. You have to look at because you ve been busy- building a life for them in your head. And an oddly no real, celebrity presence my jim, it's not odd. I don't live in that part of town, but bobby kind of volley workshops by Jim and
like you know- and I am just sitting there working people in my holy shit that I bet you that I've been in some pretty big movies, Did you that guy? has worked with Robert near that's what I think that guy did he's runners. I hate areas where you do how you doin you're right, you're right. Bobby gonna values like taking a trip to new york, so I always enjoy seeing with gm, because that means I can go to new york for ten minutes. We have again? I know this is not named dropping. Look, I I'll see my real iter at the Jim, the guy who saw me this house Chris, he's one the guys. It yes said, take this, whether now make no. No, I'm not going to do this, whether with you we should be nothing but grateful that it's fucking raining nothing but grateful. Ok, so hunch I was here. As I said before final, oscar nominee that we're talking to she's nominate.
best supporting actress at the oscars for, performance in the whale and I had a nice conversation with her I saw coming attraction for this. Tell you right now: it's really changed my life, just the trailer like I don't know, I really sort of identified her as the tour that she is like I'd seen a couple, the movies like years ago, but there's something if the trail haven't seen the movie yet and it's killing me cause. I want it and I want to see it. I want to talk to her. but just a trailer it in it nailed something so specific. There's like oh, my god who the fuck is this racist director? I watched over movies in like a week and I and I'd see and that's a bleak weak right, sir.
I know you don't work, you're, not gonna, walk away from wendy and loose love. You good! That's not gonna, walk away from first cow, with a happy feeling. Well I don't know why I laugh during first, of course, there's funny and all the time, but the but the reign of the relationship and then the now its soul king with her. What are you play? I play a character name. Now who is friend and sort of competing artist will come at what What's your medium, I do large installation, art, thou, big, see work. I do the painter four years so there which me about it? Not another movie, but I'm excited about. It is that there is a cell, importance too. full of artist that is necessary in order for them to go on believing yeah and- and I
I think that, just in the trailer mike- oh my god, she now that in there's something painfully hilarious about it, I think, you're going to love showing up mark. I think this is this. Is my movie it's your movie and did you were you aware of that? When you were doing it? No, I actually don't. Know a lot about there were. There were a couple of things in the script that I had to have explained to me. I am, I I shouted Michel, said gray. That's the art. whose work I pretend his mind in the movie and their work some little thing then there that were so specific to artists ya, coming up in what was important to them that I wasn't aware of, and I had to have it explained to Me- and I thought all case so in those instances I tried to find what the equivalent would be with, ding, oh yeah, and what you find
I get it all of those little small milestones that mean nothing to other people, but is such a big deal when you're coming up here and you're just trying to collect those little me? No badges and stickers, re and yeah. You can really get worked up about that stuff so stuff, so europe at all then place for a installation artist as these, because my action did stuff like that she's very, she does on site on like and and but she's also painter, but I remember those things in those are those where things that they only happen. Uk happen in order to give photo our communication or else they don't exist in the world right yeah It's really strange something that michel us gray pointed out was how much instagram has changed. these four ardors oddity in terms of because self promotion, so important, now to to your own survival and- and- and it's sort of
facts how she thing about an hour, because she can already start picturing how it's gonna look on instagram, right she hates that she starts thinking that way right it yeah, but you know I think that the problem for us all is right. I mean I don't, I think like starting to get old enough to not give a shit about certain things. Are you? not now just age, but you reach a certain level of comfort in your career, where you feel I guess ober like you there, but even with that their there's always that horrible party you they once more now yeah, I mean you, hopefully see you kill that that side of you is a slow death for me. I think it's now happening overnight, but like it the other have that's, but what, when you are researching this thing like what were the analogies you found in your own career, as as these points of like what do you remember about the first thing
I gave you the idea of it you're going in the right direction that I was going in the right direction. The first reward. The first piece was like a commercial. Was it like? What have I done away out how you Jim you're acting career. for me. I think the play that I did called John. Actually, the only play I've done but I was sort of ready to give up on film tv on what I had done. I had inherent vice and I had done a couple. A tv shows you know. So I have a little bit. I any bigger yang any bakers play, and it's dumb to do that new york in new york. Yeah. Did I see you in that? I dunno I dunno you're telling me what's that one about and it's about a couple who to a bed and breakfast in. Ah,
Oh my god, you need the original cast yeah, oh my god! That was grave thinking. Yeah dude. I agree. I agree with you, but she's mary annie yeah, but he fell after that you weren't sure. No, it was that now that give that experience that made me that revived my interest in enjoy in in acting and and the it's in general. You know, because when you do like pilot idea or whatever what is alone like you know it there is no number I mean, like you, you D, think that, like what am I doing here, how do you like? What am I doing? This is so down When even want to be here, I don't I don't even enjoy this I'd write. I don't actually want this job. We offer, because you read those lines and you're like this- is what has to come out of my mouth like what is that, like I've worked hard to develop a crafter, my own personality- and I gotta say this yeah- to get this job
feeling familiar? Yet it is it is it you know, but year train to think like? Oh, you should want to be on a tv schreyer on saying horrible or to have done things in your hands, did you do some of that kind of work? I did a couple of little small parts. Tv shows then it wasn't satisfying, and then I thought I am, I feel like I've just sort of in my whole life over to this or the pursuit of yours, and I dont really y know what yeah, exactly I would add is that I want a yak job yeah his John, I feel like I can go, get a better job than that exactly, but I feel like That's interesting because I've been talking about theatre lately. Because I don't think I've damn damn theatre. Since my college, oh and in like you, I'm no genius actor but the women I know about doing you stand up
the idea of theatre. We have this continuity, where you once you get on stage, you're gonna go all the way through yes, anyway, stay in it and engage with that. There's gotta be great, it is it's terrifying to, but But do you feel that when you do stand up? No, you don't know fear anymore. Any now makes you fearful now in terms of performing. We stand up stairs. About anything would not really would stand up, I was following somebody else where you vermont at a club where it's just one after the other kind of thing, everyone's doing the same time it it's not fear thing, but if somebody like just kills before me and my rat fuck, now I'm going to have to go reset them and upset them for thirty seconds and but but fear no like If I get fear it's when I have to do stand, for a reason, that's compromising. Somehow I get
Again. I am part of an award show or something that makes me nervous. I guess it's not just me go out there and ripping we're doing what I'm gonna do, but I got found last weekend. I was excited If I have the stuff he's a good idea once you know I can't get out of all of 'em he's the guy that can be like come on. Do it make me okay make me will have made my job easier. but when did you like because I know you ve been around for a while, but you where'd, you come from I grew up in louisiana, mostly the anna Norland, really yeah, yeah early life with their work, it's and I'm not completely stupid. I did some reading, but my parents, I am vietnamese. My parents left vietnam by boat in seventy nine, with a with the the whole the boat people. They were one of the people, one of the boat people yeah. They we saw the out during the middle of the night
So that was after so what what why now people are so confused are right, but the war ended in seventy five, and why are they still so? There was under seventy nine because of the government was too you know just because you say the war's over doesn't mean that it over for the people who live there. Yeah, because the people that we were fighting for last year, so you know people are still. I guess getting harassed and and just it was just tough for people who weren't on the right side of things right, and so my parents left, and my older brother was five at the time my mom with six months pregnant with me on the boat on the bow. How do I get rid of what was the escape? Why did you hear the story? Oh oh yeah, this is like those family reason I hear over and over and over again eight, it's pretty crazy, swam away. My dad was shy as they were, leaving like about an inch away from his heart.
yeah he's resulting my brother. He had just passed my brother to my mom to get on the bow and like thing, the guards who were yeah watching their the dogs shot him. And you still got on the boat. He was bleeding on it for three days what they got by pirates twice a year in the EU have picture, picturing, six, a woman pregnant six months pregnant with a five year old child in her husband's lying there bleeding for three days in the chest want from its not just sort of like you went out guy thing: yeah hurry! How did it? How do you not breed out he's a tough guy tough mother fucker you store on. He is Hughes yeah. He still had. The bullet too, is pretty long. When I remember him doing it always got the souvenir yeah the little starburst bursting scar on his chest, our canning, so so there
in the boat and they and pirates rob them as, and so they cause they. You know people knew that there were all these people escaping said they were looking for and they had all of their belongings and money. So they knew that so delivery easy targets. So weird oh go. They kind of lost. see for a while, and I guess a japanese fishing boat found them and took them to shore. Otherwise they could have been a very perished and they say hmm? Can you imagine being how you with the ocean? I looking at the ocean. We were not really. I am not a good swimmer. Dont really take motion very well know, and also just the idea that I can swim. Emotion, I'm not good at, but I don't know what's underneath me, the the the massive nature of the ocean is terrifying. It is terrifying they're, just out their floating these your parents, so you picked up by japanese bo
and taken to where too short to the draft to the refugee camp in thailand, or should they didn't get that far far. As that I mean- and maybe I don't know my join in kiev, vietnam in thailand or pre their next to each other bright but they got out no. What the actual route was ok over how, but they were safe yeah. They got to two thereafter he camp and they stayed there for a few months. My mom gave birth to me there The lad got taken care of his his will am I wrong in thinking that boat people actually showed up in florida taxes or somewhere? I am, I think just an influx of that's where the refugees, here, they kind of
not spread out all over the world? Actually, I have some relatives who ended up in australia, and I know some people ended up in germany. I it was really always, but in terms of the u s, I think there were some cities that the? U S, government designated as like underwear opulent. It is like texas yeah. I know, there's a sprinkling unlike minnesota than Louisiana were interested here. Are you ready think its local governments decide that, because I can Minnesota there's a huge somali popular because they're just would like more taken yeah What happened in new orleans or digit was that of choice. So I know there is a small vietnamese population around. I dunno. What, if, if smiles right, where it's a good sized vietnamese refugees and immigrants in new Orleans east. yet, when I was in a group and albuquerque there was some, there remember had befriended a group of them in high school an aim by me over for dinner was very exciting. To date. None of them spoke any rule english and I somehow brought a case of beer over and
of them got sick I felt very bad. You know brought beer over, but by the it's my memory of my experience with few Jesus, I'm trying to be nice and then to them are throwing up in india happened were I think it depends on the person. Might my dad could could handle area if he was a drinker back back and back in the old, oh yeah yeah. I guess it is person to person window, so they show up in and you're just a baby and when you get to new orleans, yeah, I was probably a few months old. I don't know exactly how old, probably like three months old, so your whole childhood in new orleans kind of x ray. I am we will then up in new orleans, because my dad had heard that his friends, Father had gone their first priority there, and so he wrote a letter. I dont know
organization. I think we may be through the churchill who whatever group was for charity, stating the refugees somehow the letter got to him in new orleans and he vouched for my my dad occur in, and you know us, and so we, went and lived with him first. I think that steer until we got our own apartment wow. What amazing story here What would you what was your experience like in terms of first generation what was their experience with Eric and how that translate to you was your pressure. I mean I don't know what they are. I I feel little trepidation answering this question because I don't want it to seem like that's unique to only asian people are chosen or asian emigrants, all immigrants. I've got you. I think it's all a utterance and I think,
parents just worked so hard. I think they just didn't want us to work hard as they did or have to do the types of jobs that they do, what they do When we first came over the the father of his friend who unstayed with he was a butcher butcher. Isn't my parents had a coffee shop in inside on when they were gonna ruin air? So my dad by butchering is not it's funny to a mad trying to imagine my dad helping the sky slaughter animals, removing the restaurant racket right yeah, but that doesn't mean I running off. He shot in indian, a butcher you telling on yeah handling carcasses are by was specifically for the vietnamese community that he was butchering arena is others a specific type of like because butcher It is a real community thing liking of their important here that they have The community needs so they were actually killing the animals as well.
I didn't really get into the details, but my dad's kind of like a smaller man, so just like the idea of him to write a book like funny dairy and what your mom do and my ma my she just did everything she worked at a fast, dream that would take out crab meet, see the food factory that either that would parity. crime is on the line: food yeah, yeah yeah with the hairnet and goths, and all that- and I remember, being sick one time and and sitting in the in the break room you like to go, do that they worked in kitchen rest, iranians and one is dad worked in the warehouse over supermarket dislike loading, stuff job yeah, yeah discharge and what was a. What was the experience growing up there as vietnamese people do? Did you
oh alienated, or preserve we were in a pocket of just vietnamese people, so I didn't feel it. I didn't feel weird it's funny, because your norman's historically is melting pot, culture, but like I don't know that always means everybody's embraced, do you know anything yeah I what we did go. in baton rouge. For a couple of years, when I was younger and that's a little bit more white than new Orleans says, or at least at least the part of new orleans I was in because in new Orleans east, it's like black, in vietnamese there's, there is not really a tunnel white people who have their ends in a you'd have go. Uptown right right. white, namely the white neighbourhood, but bad militias but yeah rouge was whistle but more white that were l issue is the end of them. All you want is water. Now we were
they're. My parents, I think, brought us their cause. They found a restaurant. There is that they were trying to to run behalf in a restaurant is really difficult. Surely was you know in a strip mall and they ran a chinese restaurant, because the chinese food visa is popular and vietnamese food had not become popular yet a reality of your fear, not happy at right. People were not hip to vietnamese food, yet so they had a chinese restaurant in dumb, dad didn't last for very long rivers, magical burden. It wasn't there. Poyser knows aeroplanes a year. They did. Everything ran the front. My dad blake rim the front of the house I refer to my mom. Are you are growing up? Is going the restaurant yeah go there after school, we had a. We lived in the little apartment complex across the street. There is like a field in here: you'd walk across it to go to the to the little strip. Mall sweden in the back table haven't food
it's like hanging out in the front. Both the tables after the customers laugh would have ended. They just can get people folding napkins. this really hard. We would just ten difficult customer people just given m grief. I remember one time this guy tried to or threatened to sue them cause. He said he choked ana fishbone that it was just hard hard. it's a rough business. So what would your brother end up doing my own? I have two brothers, I even older brother and the younger brother, the older brother. He they both actually live, like with my parents and just kind of help them do do stuff, my my older there's a little bit of a jack. while tree master, none of the type of geyser super smart, just hasn't really good right, down here maybe that'll happen, but he's ok.
Younger brothers are near his great everybody's in taxes. Ah, yes, for now yeah. So when do you start Break away and decide that you're gonna, be you know, tourists. Well, I went to college from nor when I went to college and I went to boston to go to college Boston, universe, Boston, university. The did beauty I did great! I didn't know that yeah I graduated eighty six at a great eighty, six. Eighty six, I was two thousand. We so what program it actually work programme? We Who is in the college of communications that reach europe come here that's where the EU can do others there, the film in their air, yet it I studied film production. I almost dropped out after my first year that what I said
It was not. I think I when I visited the campus in the spring time, and it was like a really nice day and I once I was actually there, the winner was pretty brutal. My first winner, there are several, your camp is its associated and it was so big. It was so you there there's no claude or any now where what doors worry we weren't hours were in town, so I was at a nightmare. And the kids were a kind of strange. What is well what my last few years of high school and I had gone to like a public boarding school, so I felt, like I had gone to college two years early. Writing that you're used to that part of yeah like that, going away from elite home and living in a dorm was new to me right and again It was a nude everybody else, because who is this? freshman year as everyone like you know, who's gonna make it
for what reason they're not going to make it because all of a sudden people didn't realize they had mental health problems they didn't realize they didn't know how to be away from their parents or like it's just emotional insanity, yeah and in warren towers. There's like two: what is there's two towers of freshmen, mostly and you eat. In the same building I used to eat a warren towers. I remember- and it's just like insane just weary and now that you're we're talking about this. I just remembered somebody at the the hall here and eating disorder and would leave a garbage bags of vomit around or you're all that car stuff. There's a girl, ah two doors, and for me would constantly asked to borrow money from me, but, like two hundred dollars are at times, yo carry ok because her dad and esteem factory in korea enlightened. It was like not a big deal for pets device to ask to borrow do under dollars. You know I didn't you. I do dolly's again. Why that's. Those are good examples. Then there's always the one guy that sort of like
evan him. He left after the first semester he just one doing well those kind of people. Mental issues is crazy. yeah I I went there. I started as a software. I went to a small college the first year because with their terrible in high school transfer we have, because when I applied to be first the first time they want to put me in CBS college, a basic studies or the as they the colouring book school when I was there which was sort of like hey, ok a boy in high school you can be, this programme. Until we can integrate you and say your first year of colleges and Albuquerque Noah's in it was in milton massachusetts, curry college in thy transferred to be u sophomore year I pretty excited about. I lived over. I have neither fishermen dorm thing now. Aren't you go there? I completed well yeah where'd you move after warrant hours, I lived off campus. It wasn't with any college students. They re, like all older people, area yeah. It was
A strange assortment of all roommates you're, sorry about that, It's always going to be a little interesting, like one of them has been there for twenty years and has just watched a flow of come on. You know he ass. I entered the room and, like one of those big old victorian, was it debate. with this all depressing sparing was guy now that I'm thinking about it yeah that was not a great time and did you come out what was a degree in communications info film production film production, so Where do you go after that I moved to new york after that ends and my first job ended up being at pbs, but not doing thing created. Now. How is that possible like what you do? I worked in the accounting had any in new york by I felt like all. Maybe this is a foot in the door you somehow this can turn into something,
but it didn't did you know production it off, go on? No, no, not at all I mean during that time. I would try to get like a little unpaid internships, doing student firms or whatever hiring out on people's independent films that are shooting on the weekends worker or I remember being like appear just picking up. jobs and setting a random things like you know, I didn't you any big movies now there, student vans again lie you people yeah, like really, random things, and so, where is this, does not sound like in either so sorry, you, but I mean I mean how is your mental state acted like you after college, yet pbs in accounting like where? What shifts wednesday moment where you like, I'm gonna, do this thing I don't know I was just floating view really long time for a really long time. Some
during all of that, I did end up taking improv class of where I don't know if it was and why you are those like adult education classes like after after work, it might have been in vain underscores nor you here and I think, was n Y yeah, but like now like, and why you and why europe is one of those extension or girdle extension by forthwith rights. Already there were the other grown ups, you yeah, you know what they want to do right now and then I found this other woman. She was just teaching she's doing like her own separate schoolboy. She was like a ground ling, melbury four issues like in new york on school for embroidered. emprise- and I was therefore you should really great nice was very encouraging. I mean I was. I never felt like. I was good at improv and I never enjoyed it but like she as a teacher was like very positive and and just encouraging, and you are working with other people
here I mean it was. You know, did you know, I'm no mark, I did not but he forced yourself auroras myself to go very interrelated. I recognize that I had a problem that could not continue into adulthood and not be able to talk to people or look them in the eye and talk to them.
So. This was sort of like this was your way of throwing yourself into the fire. Yes, it was actor eyes just because I had also taken public speaking classes or through you really get an essay I did. I am I I recognized. I had a problem and I I tried to fix it. I said that I think I did there. I dunno if it's still around something called toastmasters. Oh yes, I did. I did that that I remember that that is a public speaking thing right, yeah wow, so you were like plagued by this for bad. Was it a minor problem? I've gotta I gotta handle get a handle on this. Did too it is a gun, for it I dont know what I mean. I I'm nervous coming here today and fine now,
anywhere, humanely! I that is going to be a problem. You know! Clearly you can you can act, the I think But so how do you get from this person paralyzed with fear to acting Those who improv and then I started going on auditions sort of as occur This is another effort to overcome europe, social anxiety, disorder, yeah go on audition. Wake called caught like casting calls yeah like things that I would fine crag backstage backstage no cured in vienna village, fully the earth anything, thinking back on it. It was kind of maybe even a little dangerous. I remember show
many than some guy random guys apartment like so many random people's apartments in brooklyn. Why did you ever have a situation where I get out of here? I would now just get started. I think I'm going, yeah. I remember there is a scam. I doing a short film based on like his ex girlfriend, who also in aviation and he showed me a picture of your and it was like she was naked with like advantages on her nipples half act. I get out before he gets a tape out. I gotta get out before he offers me the role of take a boy, I was also doing extra work back and being a bet, a background actor.
ongoing law in order. That was that was, and you know what the right now is, that wasn't enough. Where is very its yeah yours, fascinating about that? Is there some people to do it, that love it? They come up with a system that were then they take care of themselves and their know how to deal with. Like the weirdo end. You know they bring Do they know how to keep ourselves in bed and hydrated because some of them like being on set either, I mean whatever their expectation, is that I haven't done extensive interviews with background, but there's definitely people that do a lot of it because they enjoy it. Around the environment? Yeah I mean I too who enjoy being on your that around all of the business, but it's a little exe. Sitting in a different way to be sure of a background. We're not treated very well you're. Not at all. You are my first sag job here.
I got hound, by the lady at craft service, because she thought I was a background actor who was hanging out here in the crash, right when there was a year time area of the true after right here I did have a speaking and so she was just giving me like a dirty look the whole time in lake margin in the back room. Yes, yes, yeah with the with there were no small bags of ships, but I mean that that happens like things like that happened to me still like, even though in I could be like number two on the call she had an people still think you do you throw at fits about it or just you, listen. Politely, SAM I'm number, two on the coffee. no. I don't even say that I guess it's very weird situation where you don't really want to
you know. Do you know you? You try to write a letter to you, I don't be. I pull rank or such early sure at in the old man. I think I just give them like a look like You sure you should know you're working wainwright and would rightly call seed and do your homework and anti. You know I am indeed If I were a background actor, I don't think you should talk to me like who the fuck you up occupied making. I make sausage wraps over here and walking around a look what's going on so when do you get like was a tv work first, they first real jobs when, until I got to allay, I think, okay, non union and background work was okay, and that was actually one of the reasons I was afraid to come to. L a was because the the rule was that you had to book a law and order before you could go to l a you had have a credit rules that don't know that's what people
would say little for the assumption is like anybody can book on those. Eventually they can. You can't be an actor and how you doing those procedure uneasy at the new york, anger and transfer to allay and tell you fucked up one a co star all on on alone or in one of them. One of the live with europe he's a man to show business? So you did but did you, but I didn't, local law and order isn't so I I was a little. I felt a little uneasy coming here to l a and did you what what made you decide to move. Did you have representation? Did you have anything out here or did you? I did have an agent in new york yeah, who I we spoke to, but I I told them I was interested in going out to play, and so I was surprised that they offered to set up a meeting with their l a it's office, so
Fortunately it was in the youth department. I was like thirty one thing. I think that fat fat fat- I was- I was going out. I'm nickelodeon auditions jam no I mean it was something that was also not very helpful. Ok, so what was the first thing the trauma that we got the dignity than do. Did you you know yet. I was my first career ro yank I mean I had books. I think some custar algae were right, but for me was like my first thing. I was a recurring- are ends. the terrain- and I knew I was a fan of the wire- and I was silent- a guy right he's in tat very intense, any new? You came from new Orleans right. I don't I was already in L- and I made an audition tape. I thought for sure they would just do a local higher because
We like to hire real people right, but you are real new orleans, but I am real so that worked out in my favor, so I ended up flying back and forth from l a to new orleans, where you folks still there at that point, yeah yeah, my parents are like you should never have left, look work in town will everywhere we shot with literally right down the street. From where I grew up. I mean there. One of the restaurants we shot in was with restaurant that I would two on the weekends with my parents, while they're like what you can move in, and everyone will be together again there so did that. Get you attention now. I thought it would. I thought it would get me out of the youth department, but now the agency, but no, I think a couple
here's later I booked inherent vice. That was my first movie role and I thought that would get me somewhere in a way like a madame. Was it way into runner? Yes, I was a misuse. Yes, semesters chick planet, the check when I was working with Kosovo. When I talk about them as energy, he actually brought you up only mentioned you that he was excited about some of some the people. There was a good working with him, yeah fantastic. I had much fun and paul. So great. I got to stop unlike the first day of shooting india. My role, was pretty small, but I had a couple of little poppins here and there and I would be on the schedule buddy. You know something would play it and where I get pushed back, so I would hang out onset pretty much every day and I also watch every one come in now. Right, that's an education, oh yeah, great, actors in the oh, so so many great actors, crazy, so crazy. You can't pay for that kind of experience it with me,
that's the only way the you sort to get comfortable is by being around that actually seeing people that you think are see mortal just be regular. People did like when, when working it's done with the signor just over, there are certain the guy. Yeah. I it so funny me that he has this reputation for being an odd ball, but I felt like he's he was so sweet, Yeah is very sweet, peaches, quiet and makes you an oddball. If you don't, engage in the faint but on the other hand, josh brow and is, can be more charming. Yeah he's right he's a real talker yeah, did you hang out with, I said was my first measure I tried to you, know yeah be respectfully act forever yeah he. He was also really like nice and always impressed by people who can just like shoot the shit before
I take and then jump right into it, and these really intense he has that ability. It's amazing, just amazing he's a great technical actor too. I was watching him doing something in front of a green screen and oh yeah he's he was like so on the money I dont know how he he did it, but he like watch something on that he had to like match the the movement precisely to state, and I do it looked at it. It amazes me- and you know it's just like this thing- that you'd be I notice in the movie, but but he nailed, he saw me sitting there getting a watch it. I was all you know it also roland that was really cool that I noticed he was shooting see, and there was a day player who I think was so nervous to beyond set his lake. a their align the already badly, and Josh rolling had been like word perfect, lecturing after take after taken, then all of a sudden like he started fucking up
and I think it was to make the other person feel you no less arabella. Oh really, yeah. Did it work, I yeah it did well, that's sweet yeah! Isn't that nice yeah really great, I wonder that their powers, still on the business. Probably here it's half it's a tough racketeers. Big. It's right. That movie is pretty all over the place. It's kind of a great journey that thing wild. Join a nuisance in it. He asked so then you do the odd movie where add movie downside here all odd way. Downsizing like I didn't. I cannot figure out. Oh really, okay, here my side, yeah, yeah. I mean it, you know it was. It was interesting, but, like I couldn't I understand, like you, saw it when it came out or like do now. I saw when it came out because I'm a fan of the alexander payne, and was movies, unlike what the fuck is, he doing this
honey. I shrunk the kids years ago and here, like whatever, but I I don't know if I understood what was what are you, I have to do better, but his interesting yeah? Did you like that over? I love that movie yeah, I loved I loved it. When I just read the script, so funny, I'm maybe you should again, maybe maybe it's my first reaction, the device of it I got some sometimes sometimes as an audience member. You do the movie a disservice by jumping ahead and in thinking You know where it should go or guide you. I just couldn't get past the little this the little people view every effort, summaries of my it really do you out, or the word me out of my. What are we doing? Why don't we? because you, MIKE almost like a disney thing. do you like you know? I did like there'd been movies like that before, but they were always so debris. Comedies that you deliver kid.
And there was just something about the device. I think that is interesting, because most people are, I remember, a lot of the complaints being that there wasn't enough of that of the little people yeah. How interesting that I gotta watch you get more of that, I'm not doing it I'm doing a disservice. Did you work with and wait she's funny. She is really But then you got a lot of flak for their movie yeah yeah. I got a lot of black for that movie. Unfortunately, whose is it bummer. What did you take it? Why they pick on actors and we like you it's what you were just doing. Your job. I know it's. My first day grow leave me alone. I know Andrey is getting it now. You know rice bro, for this yeah. It's like you just makes all thing toxic. Got nothing to do with you really moment, What we were they saying exactly. What
we we premier at the venice film festival yeah. I think wine critic said that it was a mass peace used. The m word right. In a couple of days later we were out the telluride phone festival in colorado and- and I dont know if there was like wasn't a masterpiece anymore, I don't know all the land. It was like a piece of dog yeah, that's like I don't know what happened in the space of a few days but yeah. people were really upset about my accident. Once we got to the? U S, people are really upset about my accent in the movie and just my characters place within. So I really you know just because they decided that you weren't, representing near loathing than your own experience as a kind of representation they wanted to see
but who this wasn't the vietnamese community? No, no, I think might have. one or two asian critics early on who had said that they didn't like the movie, and I think that sort of gave the green white for white critics, so pile on and and point to them and say like look this, this asian person didn't like it so clearly the movie's racist, which it's not accused of being a stereo type, yeah yeah and that my performance was a caricature gina. All of that steps are you, like known people like you, portraying though I grew up, Here's what's funny so so you know that the studio and the the p appear they all there. Scrambling. They know that this is like happening and down, but there are
they want me to be aware, but also not like be for mixed by another. I don't just take the hit, and so they china flowed out like. Maybe we could invite your parents to be made but invite your your family to the premier and let them talk on camera yeah, three everybody out- and I was like I now at this. I know what you're trying to do- and I just didn't feel like I needed to show my bona fides in that way. I didn't have to you, know jerk my family out and have them join some sort of media circus. Just to you know, shut up the people who had a problem with the movie and yeah Susie came a bummer. I think that that whole experiences colored how I feel about the whole conversation, representation and and interests
recognition and words and and stuff like that, really because its that was some? That was an instance where it by Something really groundbreaking had happened words. It was that character, adding to be the female leader of a movie and getting to be the romantic lead and and learning so much about her, even though you know she doesn't show up and told an hour into the movie by she sort of like takes takes over the movie after after that point and dumb I cannot wish people could have acknowledged that that was like a really amazing thing for that type of character to be in a big studio movie. That hadn't really happened before me, but just sort of glossed over. That is, if, like it's something that happens, all the time in accused accuse you of being yeah. Well it also.
personally offensive because it was just like oh wait a minute. So if you're, accusing the movies or that characters being racist or a caricature than you're, saying that I like, participate, in that end, I approved it. I represented I'm tab, dancing view for these people for what you're inside that was the part that, like rubbed me You know that really they forced you into a position right like I was just this little puppet who riding manipulated and really have any sort of active participation in this. Like I didn't have a clear head and was making choices, I never followed an actor who was making choices. Basically, during that whole, they give you no agency re as as, as they say, and I can say, agency at birth. For being, you know they just assume that you're playing along with with a false representation, yeah cause. I was like so hungry for whatever
my god he's so that part irked me, aren't you going forward. I was Disappoint did not that anybody owes me an easier, but I felt like all this could have I think, because I saw how the asian communities stepped up for everything after downsizing that came up and I was like wow, I really the the cold shoulder asian curious here for infrastructure use yeah, I could a used your help, guys yeah, I didn't feel like anybody. Really Kennedy stepped up and said late hour, claimed me, india and I still feel that way. It's odd because I'm I was talking to keep quiet. from everything everywhere else and and he I saw him at a hotel. We are saying the same hotel and I am. I normally never go up to people and say hello, but I did cause. He seemed like I really sweet ass, a guy
and and and so he was like. Oh I'm, going to this asian award show like layer. Am I going to see you there and I was like no, I wasn't invited and he was like why there must be a mistake like I. We got to talk to somebody and correct this and I was like no key. I think we should just leave it alone. I think I know what's happening really. Did you talk to somebody now? I just like you, she just leave it alone, it's fine but what was happening? What are you was how he and I don't know. I think people have a certain idea about me. Maybe I dunno I'm not sure about vietnamese people I'm not me. I think her, I'm just not there girl maybe and hung but that's so weird eat, I mean you're, I that's that's fucked up, You know, because I am aid almost seems like is it? Is it Are you the wrong kind of asian I dont know my
like how are you any different? Then, like any of what I mean I've done I've done stuff. I even did a movie called driveways erected by andrew on whose asian american queer director you know that my I got nominated for an anti spirit award and understood at least I didn't. I didn't hear anything from the asian folk, so I don't know that's weird to me. I wonder if it is is sort of like is there. Do you know other vietnamese actors that are being iced. I don't know I try not to keep ok hurry, I'm accurate a matter that you know we're position, but it just say I know we're, because maybe this is like an in house error. Family conversation in a measure with with you, ok brought bed, but then I feel like I'm not in the family, so I couldn't even have the family conversation I wanted to.
It's a little weird and that's a horrible moment that you had to go through with him like. I was in him because he just assumed wow and like I had never. That's recognised or invited so by the union in your knees, huge movies, it's crazy. While I'm gonna call some people, others are going to make some cause yeah. But how are you like it How are you? Are you reacting? How are you in gauging with this whole process, at your end with it with this nomination? I dont know what I mean. Are you going you dressing up and doing the stuff? Oh yeah yeah there is that what you mean yeah, I'm dressing up, I'm doing this stuff, it's it's pretty wild, because I'm at a kid two years. and after I gave birth, I heard two pairs of pants in two pairs of shorts and for short
from patagonia and that's all I've been wearing for like the past two years. So all of a sudden I have to get Harry make up in and where all these dresses and the island form heels if I moments its work, but you know I'm I'm still trying to figure out how to make it fun. Ah you, dont innately play the game? Well,. I wish I knew I wish. I knew that I doubt I mean I like watching other people who, do it? Why all like? That's fascinating! Three? Are you I'd? Do? Are you in a competitive spirit? You care. Do is another thing that kind of, dont know how to reconcile. I dont like watching a movie, especially during this time we are supposed to like fill out of I let her whatever I don't like. I dont like
king o. This person was better than that person right. You know when your movie, I just want to enjoy the movie the performance, because I know how much it to that end, whether it turns out well, as you hope bit does, doesn't negate the amount of work in, and I have the the optimism you bring into something right and also I get this role in the whale the one you're nominee for is is viewed in play up any. Of ethnicity, really no, but I still feel like she was very specifically asian timor yeah, I'm with it.
because it's me again but yeah that that role was not written for an asian person. It was a play originally and all of the production. Did you see the play? No, I didn't and that's the sad thing about living in l a is that you. Miss alot of theaters, that's drew on in new york, but in all of the state, it's productions. The character had been played by white actress. End, even when I was up for the part, the other names. the other actresses that an agent told me was in the running day they weren't asian. So but I thought you did a great job with thinking. I liked a movie and it was painful you and I talk to bringing about it. Now is heavy man who's in heavy conversation, he's heavy character as a person well he's extremely thoughtful and philosophical you're. So
yeah and in in right now you little heavy. yeah, but it's not. I like that too. Sometimes I struggle with the very you know like cheer oh yeah yeah, I know, but we got indices stuff in august. I was brought up with a certain amount of food aware because my mother eating disorder, so Like you, I found it affected me in an odd way like when I The movie and when I talk to him about you, know the name, of of the condition he resigned, because when I watch the movie I didn't get hung up on that yeah, You know I really got very quickly into the sort of emotional content of of the characters so, and it was interesting to me like I wasn't marvelling at the other condition, but I was sort of engaged with with the emotional interaction and your character. In the twisted. The end was
totally worked on me, yeah. I know this movies very sort of divisive, so either people love it or they hate. But I thought wondering the god me about the film was that your characters demonic, enabling yeah Monica. I haven't heard that but yeah enabling yeah she's any enable area, but doing there are points. There was an anger, two doors you would. There was a defensive as to where you would stop other p, from stepping in to help this because you know you, you knew him better than anybody else and you knew in your heart There was nothing going to change it. I love that you saw that because I think most people think that she is. She was sweet or something- and I would add that always struck me- do not range do not represented at all, as I go. I mean that that is something you're not engaging with the movie fibre
I mean I like tonight, you know nougat nobody and we have to judge critics by, but the but like right, and they get go unlike what the fuck is up with this person because you don't find out your backstory or his really until the third act, right, like. I knew right away, unlike what. Why doesn't someone stop this woman from feeding him your. What is her problem, how it and then And then the weird kind of emotional conflicted nets Of your relationship with him, he had no, I I found it to be starving and deep and and new Now you pleaded. I mean how did you approach that character. I know it's a weird question, but I mean yeah. I guess the demand enabling was not foreign. How really? How shall I mean? I am I've been witness to the house that
of relationship in my life and your family and my family, and yet that part did not I didn't really have to struggle. Where did you get it right? When I read it, I got it immediately, yeah and and also that that wanting to box out other people and wanting to be the only person in her life or that's. Where had that sort of. connection and in that relationship and control in some ways. Rollin and there's like something a little bit selfish. In that totally, totally I mean yeah. I mean that your car and its he's weird thing right the other, were there was one moment there that I kind of remember where there is that sort of them denying afeared and then the reward the giving of like that whole,
We are in danger of life. We know now. Ok, here you know it it's heavy and he was sort of like it in such a hard shadow, state yeah that their relationship was sort of understood, yeah yeah, Did that set get. Heavy emotionally at times it was a pretty serious sat it was serious for all sorts of reasons. You know one being covered cause. It was the first movie that I did after the rise started back up so vaccines, weren't elbowing rise covert, was pre are you sure you're, so there? that we didn't do a lot of socializing the moment they yelled god. We would put our masks a wild and mean that raises takes years. I shot a movie I shot to us. We in that same situation where everybody everyone asked all circles of employment are
mass and the only time you not masters after action so kind of the It makes the emotional intensity of things very immediate and you almost crave the interaction on some level that you don't even understand. I mean we, you know we didn't really socialize. I mean that was pretty small to begin with or anytime. You talk for too long to somebody. It could be just like the set dresser. You know, and the eighty would come over and be like you need to you- need to separate and yeah and not stand so close it pretty serious and then in our work I always try to be really aware of other people's energy, and not taking up too much more energy shows assembly. So I didn't want to come. Brendan with a bunch of you now asinine nine quest, for I like whenever just to take up,
face and he's got a certain parties, the yeah yeah, the others. Here I just I just don't need that I mean I just I felt his energy was like enough for me. You know, like he's such a a, I feel, like my words, are failing me because he's the I it's it's hard to do I have the feeling that you have around him like. I, u can be silent next year and it fill its fulfil here. I can see that I imagine Michael who pointed out the teenager. Tiresome gains current safety sink was his daughter. the funny thing about them, both time and say, is that even though I'm to them. I feel like they ve been acting for longer than I have like ties been on cameras, since he was three months old and I think safety as started when she was like further, both pretty great yeah and then Samantha Morton comes in with dead monologue and you like, like vows
It was all very heavy, but I was very. I found it very satisfying assigned to be on that setting just be so focused and serious about this. You know him has SAM hunter, the the writer with your was there with us, so it felt like working on a play becoming the playwright. The writer was there, which normally that does happen and also limited set right in an area which is limited its way play or mafia wow and the was good he's great. I dont know what the general opinion of him is out there that enhance guy or whatever. I think he's too soon. Approachable and easy to talk to you I don't know, did you I mean I know he went to harvard and all about his super intelligent by ass, though direct he's gotta be gotta work. You know on our very first day meaning he am. I don't know if you'd be in bed
it's about me sharing the story, but he he took us out side, we took our masks off and we held hands in a circle. Jam, he gave a little speech and thank the sulphur being there sweet that's a nice, and then he do that again at the rabbit. Hoddan. Yes, I just felt like it was like very I yeah yeah review, an emotional spiritual, bonding moment. Yeah, I walk. Also, I found this out later, but normally his parents come to sat and hang out, but because of kovar they did last time and but less intrusive. Both of his parents passed recently obvious dedicated to the oh, really they pass close to each other smiled when that happens and the menu I didn't see it yet. Okay, that's fine!
But how has that one don't follow the trend? You don't need to be up to date with what everybody else is talking about. I know I'll get to it. I almost almost watched it this morning, but I figured like how Am I gonna learn about her from seeing the one movie. How is it going to change? The conversation is not right. How is that, without a part I have a Yes, and no, I feel like it's an it's strange, like a lot of people, have seen that movie and it for movies and twenty twenty one, and it was kind of crazy because I have just given birth and was expect to just be at home. We're daughter, ass
the whale and then I did kelly's movie showing up their afterwards and I did the menu and it was. It was kind of crazy because I dont think of myself as is enjoying horror anything culture related to that. It's the movie that I dont know if I necessarily severally with seek out to watch but exactly That's where that's my experience, my experience, my girlfriend and a horror, fanatics outlook and and and but I am a you got. It takes a minute for me to get around to that. She didn't take me that cronan bird kids movie that one? He I tried to process it, but I get impatient with horror, fantasy and like where we going with this what's happening. We get enclosure. I don't love thrillers. You like make me anxious, but watch it Ok, so you'll have it either. But your
say that, like the meat, the the genre, I'm saying you don't find yourself in a lot of harm. I mean I it's too. it wasn't as gory right as as I was imagining. It could be wrong, but I wanted work on it to work with mark mylar. He did succession, it's great. It's a good experience. Yeah he's really great can't wait for the succession at the third new season can't wait for it. Yeah yeah same, I think I spent most of the time on site trying to like get stories from I really try to get them to tell you the details. Yeah he's like pretty actually he's a he's, pretty open, oh, you know you know. What's going on, What are you doing with the organs? And I'm sorry I didn't mean to say that you said nothing. What are you doing with your goes from us? What is there that guy's I've interviewed him
yeah yeah and his movies are like daunting, but amazing sort of fascinated with him did you did you feel like he gave you any concrete answers about under yeah and we actually yeah, you know, ended up having dinner, I was, he was an english. Was it you must have an english grain because I'm turning member, I could cause we we socialized afterwards and was kind of nice, but here I mean concrete is those guys you're gonna gang. I you do as those guys Well they don't. I don't think they necessarily. No. I don't think they have the answers you want there there possessed by some and they commit to. It is eight, is this one can out there what what's it called and its cod? and here the done it's done, We shouted a new orleans, actually yeah you understand what you're doing really.
Not necessary. At this point You know you just want to work with the people really was it you explain, but the script was funny like I read the script in earth, jesse Clemens as in the movie and here and we its. I guess I can say that soldier, three short story ochre hand, we play different characters in each one. All the same actors play different character that sounds like an engaging the creative process. Yes, and so it's an estonian and jesse clemens and Willem Dafoe market quality, Joe Alan in me, while you don't get cast some that some heavy actors, man. right. I asked a I feel like so what we were asking each other. So what you think about the script, because you know where you you're all trying to see what the other person things along
things together and I said I was going to try to re, read the script and figure out what the themes connecting the three stories were. But then I just can't gave up and he was like yeah same fucked up, sweet or get excited about the exciting to see what happens for you at the party where they give away the toy And why not? Where will this outrage to the m? to the asian, oh dear yeah. What is that organization called? No? No well. What is that? What was don't know? Oh yeah, no great talking to you as That was a good conversation right and somebody invite her to a party again
on chow is nominated for best supporting actress at the oscars for her performance in the whale also, the menu streaming on. Hbo max hang out, for well yeah If you ve been following the different series we ve been doing on the full marin. You ve heard us talk about the days of mourning sedition, my old radio show on air america. This week we ve got and passion one of my old producers and now a podcast host in its own right. We to sit around and talk about food. A lot and now Dan has turn that into a career as the I see you invented doing to it That's a very exciting. It's like its is in twenty five hundred stores around america. How much do you make money off that yeah yeah? I mean not. It's still like less that I made from the pile cast by the residuals our great good there yet, but there as I get it's cool. It's gets more than I expected to make sure, but it's like it's now establish what to call the style of us. It's called cast
italian gasket alien who manufactures the main. The the the original one is made by a company called Valine S. F, o g l. I and I there are several companies manufacturing your pasta, so there's a version at trader joe's and it's like. America does know my name or anything on it, but that's there. is not made by slovenia is not the same, but it's like half your design good, yet same concept, same design, gluten reversion made from chickpeas me by bonds that it's a whole foods nationwide miss it is beyond the name. Did you get credit on one allowing yeah I? Yet what? on the package, yet it is going on forkful logo and artwork for awhile ago, like designed by dan patch. Basically, ah so it's exciting yeah, I mean any more pasta designs and I launched two new shapes actually, which I did these two new, as I didn't invent here or obscure italian shapes, and I teamed up with fellini to produce them they're, not there they're difficult, if not impossible, to find in america, which one of those called
one is called vesuvius like vesuvius here and one is called cuatro teeny or to hear or passion in the latest instalment of good morning geniuses. The oral history of mourning sedition subscribed to the full marin just click on. In the episode description or go to w e F, pod dot com and click on w e, F, plus brendan in this will be back tomorrow on the full marin, for the Friday show with Guest Aubrey Edwards, a classically train, ballet dancers, turned referee and, of course, form and subscribers get every episode ad free next week here on the I cast on Monday. We have comedian ronnie Chang and on thursday, director Bobby fairly here we go. This is real song.
I boomer lives. Monkey in the fonda carries.
Transcript generated on 2023-03-03.