Sunday, October 11, 2009
Actor Aaron Yoo was presented with the PAAFF Rising Star Award and sat down to be interviewed by Nydia Han. Yoo's ease of conversation and relaxed posture belies his young persona. His love for the craft of acting is evident along with a healthy confidence in his talent and sense of belonging in the industry.
He's working and writing a lot now, but the lean early years trying to go from uncompensated thesbian to working movie actor was anything but easy. He tells a funny story of trying desperately to get fired from a desk job, so he could live off of unemployment and pursue acting full-time, but his boss was just too nice to fire him, so he eventually had to quit. Fortunately his parents (Minister Father, hence Biblical name of Aaron) although never encouraging of his acting ambitions never allowed him to starve.
When asked about possible leading man roles in the future, he responded that he felt he and a few other Asian American actors are opening the doors, but that these things have a timeline and that if he or one his peers do not become the next, I'm paraphrasing, Asian American Brad Pitt, then he feels strongly that we'll see it among the next generation of actors coming up. He also mentions matinee idol Sessue Hayakawa who won an Oscar for The Bridge on the River Kwai in comment that an Asian actor was already there, but it's been such a long time in between.
One of Yoo's favorite movies because of the horrid, racist depiction is that of Mickey Rooney in Breakfast At Tiffany's. He's thought that they should do, not a remake, but like Star Wars, a redigitalization of Breakfast at Tiffany's with an Asian actor in the Rooney part. Actually, Yoo is far from taking on stereotypical Asian roles, the characters he's played in The Wackness, Disturbia and 21 have all been written for Caucasian males.
He was asked if he got nervous about being on set with big named actors like Kevin Spacey, and for the most part he said, he tends to relate to them from his character to their character and not as celebrities, so that's not normally a problem. He's actually more impressed by the fact that when Method Man sees him, he's greeted with "My Dog". And that his confession to Kyra Sedgwick over dinner about how much he wants to win an Oscar, was met with her assent of still really wanting to win one too!
Aaron took to instruction on counting cards for his role in 21 and came up with the idea for his character to always be chewing gum. One of the mistakes new card counters make is mouthing the numbers while their counting, which dealers are trained to look for, so the gum chewing masks the lip movement. When asked if he had any stories to tell about shooting in Las Vegas, he replied, I have a lot of crazy Vegas stories, but my parents are in the audience.
So I suppose that means what happens in Vegas really does stay in Vegas.