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Scene Stealer

GS: Ten years ago you said that your favorite role was Eat a Bowl of Tea. What would it be now?
RW: As far as experiences go, Joy Luck Club was special. I also liked working on Romeo Must Die. I guess those two movies. But the first year of Vanishing Son was special because I liked working with John Nicolella. He passed away a few yars ago. I learned a lot from him. He gave a lot to making the first year of Vanishing Son work. Russell Wong

GS: What specifically did you learn from him?
RW: The work ethic. He would give his best all of the time, 20 hours a day, every day. He was a big bear of a guy and he had been around. He knew what good photography is, he knew the story, he knew the script, he knew the shot, he knew the character. He would just give every thing he had every day. Most people couldn't take it because he would grind them. He was always giving, so he expected everyone else to give.

GS: In terms of acting, have there been any teachers or role model you followed in learning your craft?
RW: Every time I watch a movie, I see a good actor, like Philip Seymour Hoffman. He's a great actor. I watch his work and go, “Wow!”. Chinese films. A lot of great Corean films now.

GS: There seems to be a spiking of interest in translating Corean films into American films.
RW: Yes. I've also been going back and forth to Beijing the last four years trying to find material over there that can have that crossover appeal. I'm actually going there tomorow.

GS: So you're now moving beyond acting to try to create your own vehicle?
RW: Yeah.

GS: Who are you working with in doing that?
RW: My wife [Flora Cheong-leen]. She's very connected with Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing.

GS: How did you meet?
RW: I had known Flora for 17 years at that time I went over to shoot [The Lost Empire (2001)] in Singapore. I just dropped her a line and she came out to Singapore the next day.

GS: When did you propose?
RW: A year later. We got married last week.


GS: Is this your first marriage?
RW: Yes.

GS: You had had a daughter from an early relationship. Are you still close to her?
RW: Oh yeah. She was in my wedding [bridesmaid]. Eja lives with her mom, but because we lived close by, I spent maybe a weekend, two weekends every month, and we split the holidays.

GS: You're also close to your own mother, aren't you?
RW: Sure. My mom and my dad live here in LA.

GS: Is your mother still in Santa Monica?
RW: No, she's in the Valley now.

GS: Your dad used to live in New York.
RW: He came out here. I have two brothers out here.

GS: Were you responsible for your dad moving out west?
RW: No, My dad's lucky. He has so many kids and we're all over the place.

GS: But he's not back together with your mother?
RW: No.

GS: You have five brothers and a sister. Are you close to all of them?
RW: We're all pretty close although we're all spread out now.

GS: Who are you closest to?
RW: I'd say my oldest brother Steve. PAGE 6

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“I've also been going back and forth to Beijing the last four years trying to find material over there that can have that crossover appeal.”