A few questions with Leonardo Nam.
• Jerry: The first question I have to ask, is how you got involved with Secret Identities and why it was important for you to do it? As…I know it wasn’t for the money. haha
• Leo: I heard about Secret Identities through Parry Shen. He and I were at an audition together, and we were just catching up. He mentioned that he was working on this amazing project and I loved the point of view the project had. I asked to be a part of it, and it just kinda took off from there. I think it’s important to support new ideas and emerging projects, because, strength is in numbers and I believe that there was a need for a project such as this. I
mean, how amazing is it to be in a comic book plus be a superhero! I think the creators of the projects are the super heroes here. I know how hard it is to put together a project, and one as big as this, is a real testament to their passion.
• Jerry: What will it take for Asians to break through in Hollywood?
• Leo: I think it all starts with the integrity of the writer. It all begins in the writing. If Stephen King writes a book and has an asian central character that becomes a huge hit, then they are going to have to translate that book into a movie with the intention of having a central asian character. The writer must insist on the movie staying true to the book. We need to understand that asians aren’t being underrepresented just because they are out to get “us”. It’s not something they plan behind closed doors. It’s a business and they market and produce the products that the consumer wants. We must put our money where out mouth is. We must support and pay the dollars to go see asian content film. We have to create and demand more asian content.
• Jerry: How did you get into film?
• Leo: I’ve always been interested in story telling. As a kid I would always be the one telling stories. That love translated to another love, which is film and the craft of it. It’s the combination of the two that makes me think I have the best job in the world. I always wanted to story tell and acting is a format which I am able to do that. I moved to NYC with a dream to act and now I’m doing it!
• Jerry: As far as Asians in Hollywood, does art imitate life or vice versa?
Are Asians not portrayed as heroes in Hollywood because we aren’t heroes
in real life or what?
• Leo: I think we are all of the above. We are both heroes and non heroes. We just have to come up with stories and content that reflect that in a commercially viable way. The actor is just a reflection of the writing. If it’s in the writing, then it will most likely end up on the screen.
• Jerry: How political is Hollywood? These days, their blockbusters are car commercials and army recruitment campaigns put together. And Asians seem to be more and more on the villainous side. How do politics and public perception via Hollywood tie together?
• Leo: I don’t think that it’s a very political world in Hollywood. It’s very much just consumer driven. Now that we have a black president, I think you will see that Hollywood will respond accordingly because public perception is changing.
• Jerry: How does being Asian effect your work? Do people only assume you do Asian stories? Do you feel a responsibility to represent Asian people in a certain way?
• Leo: I don’t know how being Asian effects my work. I’ve never been anything else! I don’t think people assume I only do asian films, my work has been, and I hope will continue to be, a broad spectrum of work. The only responsibility I feel is to represent the characters in the projects I’m in
in the most authentic way possible. If that reflects a certain stereotype, well then I can’t help that. I can only be true to the story and character.
• Jerry: I have to ask this….how real is the lifestyle those guys on Entourage are acting out? And if it IS true, please explain…..slowly.
• Leo: Elements of the show are true because everyone in the business knows someone with some aspects of all the characters. I think we have all found ourselves in some of there situations at one time or another.
• Jerry: And finally, are you able to tell us a little bit about what you’re working on now? And the best way we can find out about any of your future works?
• Leo: I just finished a film called “Watching TV with the Red Chinese”, which we hope to get distribution on next year, plus I’ve developed a couple of shows that we are in the process of shopping around.
I have a website www.leonardonam.com which has info on what I’m doing, or you can follow me on twitter under LeoOnTheGo or find me on Facebook!