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As teenagers, kung fu disciples Danny (Alain Uy), Hing (Ron Yuan) and Jim (Mykel Shannon Jenkins) were inseparable. Fast forward 25 years, and each has grown into a washed-up middle-aged man seemingly one kick away from pulling a hamstring—and not at all preoccupied with thoughts of martial arts or childhood best friends. But when their old master is murdered, the trio reunites, soon learning that avenging their sifu will require conquering old grudges (and a dangerous hitman still armed with ample knee cartilage) if they are to honorably defend his legacy.
Tran Quoc Bao | Writer/Director/Editor
Mentored early on by master action director Corey Yuen, Bao was instilled with an approach to action that doesn’t rely solely on spectacle, but also draws on story and character. Screen Anarchy praised his written-and-directed short Bookie for its “flawlessly realized world populated by entirely fleshed out and believable characters, driven by a compelling narrative and brought to sumptuous life.” He has since traveled back to his homeland of Vietnam to work as a feature film editor. His editing credits include Cho Lon, one of Southeast Asia’s highest-budgeted action blockbusters, and Jackpot, a heartfelt comedy selected as Vietnam’s official entry to the 2016 Oscars for Best Foreign Film. Ain’t It Cool News enthusiastically declared Bao as “a director I expect to see big things from.
ALAIN UY | “Danny”
From bringing diverse and dynamic characters to life on screen, to flexing his entrepreneurial spirit through his production company Them Too, multi-hyphenate actor, director, producer, and writer Alain Uy has become “one to watch” in the entertainment industry, and he isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
This year, Alain can be seen starring in Hulu/Marvel’s thriller-drama series “Helstrom” opposite Sydney Lemmon and Tom Austen. The show follows Daimon (Austen) and Ana Helstrom (Lemmon), the son and daughter of a mysterious and powerful serial killer. The siblings have a complicated dynamic as they track down the terrorizing worst of humanity. Alain is a scene stealer as Chris Yen, Ana Helstrom’s confidant, business partner, and right hand man. “Helstrom” is the first series in Marvel Television’s Adventure into Fear franchise, and premiered on October 16, 2020.
On the film front, Alain can next be seen starring in the indie action/comedy feature “The Paper Tigers.” Written, directed, and produced by filmmaker on the rise Bao Tran, “The Paper Tigers” tells the story of three Kung Fu prodigies: Danny (Uy), Hing (Ron Yuan), and Jim (Mykel Shannon Jenkins) who have grown up into washed up, middle aged men who are just one kick away from pulling their hamstrings. When their master is murdered, they must juggle their dead-end jobs, dad duties, and old grudges to avenge his death. “The Paper Tigers” is currently on the national and international festival circuit.
Born in Dagupan City, Philippines, and of Chinese-Filipino decent, Alain moved to Los Angeles at six years old with his parents and four siblings. Growing up, he had an innate love for the arts. Alain trained to be a professional dancer in high school until his dance career was halted when he fractured his hips in a car accident and could not walk for over six months. While in recovery, he began to explore other facets of the entertainment business, which led him to the study abroad program at Oxford University in the UK. There, Alain immersed himself in theatre, and when he returned to the States he began his professional career as an actor. Additional television credits for Alain include: HBO’s “True Detective,” FOX’s “The Passage,” “Grimm,” “Pure Genius,” “The Last Ship,” “Rizzoli & Isles,” and Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show,” to name a few.
Aside from his acting career, Alain is the founder and creative force behind Los Angeles-based production company Them Too. Birthed during the financial crisis of 2008, Alain harnessed his desire to expand his entrepreneurial side while producing and directing, through the company. Since its inception, Them Too has produced content for A list musical acts including: The Chainsmokers, Steve Aoki, Avicii, DeadMau5, and Calvin Harris. Alain has directed new media profiles, live events, and short docs for Pharell Williams, Questlove, Jay Z, Kanye, Drake, Travis Scott, Rev Run and comedian Jo Koy for Comedy Central. Them Too has also created short form commercial narratives for established brands such as Perrier Jouet, Adidas, Levi’s, Stussy, MGM, and Aria. In 2017 Them Too launched into fictional narrative content with the award winning comedy short “Companion,” which won Best Director (Matt Ferrucci) and Best Comedy TV Series at ITVFest. Alain and Them Too currently have a handful of projects in development, in the scripted film/television space.
When he isn’t on set, you can find Alain spending time with his family, learning to skateboard (with his son) or watching his favorite basketball team: The Los Angeles Lakers. He also enjoys spending time playing music (trumpet, piano, and guitar) and dancing, and he continues to take jazz and contemporary classes for fun. He is also a self-proclaimed gamer, his favorite games are NBA2K, Starcraft, World of Warcraft, and League of Legends (which he is determined to be amazing at). Alain is also multilingual, speaking: English, Tagalog, Pangasinan, and Mandarin.
RON YUAN | “Hing”
Ron Yuan just wrapped as one of the ensemble leads in Disney's live adaptation Mulan (2020), directed by Niki Caro. Yuan plays battle-hardened Master Sgt. Qiang, 2nd in command of the Imperial Regiment.
Yuan signed on as series regular Prince Nayan on Netflix's Marco Polo (2014), created by John Fusco. Yuan filmed Roland Emmerich's Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) playing Yeong, the main weapons engineer. Before that, he was in The Accountant (2016), directed by Gavin O'Connor, playing a reluctant Silat Master. He appeared on Jon Bokenkamp's The Blacklist (2013) as Quon Zhang. He was seen in the final season of Sons of Anarchy (2008) as the intense and unpredictable Ryu Tom. Yuan played hard-nosed Lt. Peter Kang in the short-lived CBS series Golden Boy (2013) and had small roles in episodes of Justified (2010) and Castle (2009). Yuan joined Francesca Eastwood and Annie Q. in MDMA (2017).
In Mortal Kombat 11 (2019), he voiced Scorpion. He made his directorial debut with Step Up China (2019). In the ABC/Freeform series Siren (2018), Yuan played Aldon Decker, a military marine biologist who unwittingly falls in love with a predator mermaid. His obsession spirals out of control as he tries to bring her back to his research facility. Yuan designed the fight sequences as well as going behind camera as Action Director for Wild Card (2015), scripted by William Goldman and directed by Simon West. Yuan completed designing and directing the action on the popular action franchise Black & White: The Dawn of Justice (2014). He played characters in story arcs on FOX's Touch (2012) (opposite Kiefer Sutherland) and NBC's Awake (2012) (opposite Jason Isaacs).
He was the voice behind major gaming campaigns (Call of Duty-Black Ops 2, Halo, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Resident Evil, World of Warcraft, Medal of Honor, Army of Two, Guild Wars 2, Deus Ex, Drake's Uncharted, and many more). Yuan's MiniFlix Films with Sony Television (SPE) co-produced three films (Three Bullets, Tea and Remembrance, Lollipops) in which Yuan wrote, produced and directed. Yuan's award-winning work in short film and features has premiered in more than 30 film festivals worldwide, including Toronto, Sundance (Park City, Utah), Tribeca (Manhattan), Athens, Cairo, Seattle, Kansas City (Missouri), Austin (Texas), and Beijing & Macau (China), and Los Angeles, Newport Beach & Comic-Con (all California).
MYKEL SHANNON JENKINS | “Jim”
Mykel Shannon Jenkins, born in Biloxi, Mississippi, to an officer in the United States Air Force, traveled with his family across the United States. With his parents and two siblings, Mykel finally settled in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he graduated from Bonnabel High School and, thereafter, earned a bachelor's degree from Loyola University. While in high school, Mykel was a nationalist in drama and speech & debate. It was at this time that his fire for the dramatic was ignited. After college, while holding down a part-time job as a waiter, Mykel became a household name as the host of New Orleans' WB38 Kids' Club, where for more than four years he served as an on-air personality introducing kids and parents to a world of knowledge. While in New Orleans, Mykel landed many roles, including one that earned him screen time with Tommy Lee Jones and Ashley Judd in Double Jeopardy.
In 2003, led by his faith in Christ, armored with a winning attitude, and empowered by his family, Mykel made his move to Hollywood and immediately began studying his craft at the Beverly Hills Playhouse. Since moving to Hollywood, Mykel has landed leads in many highly regarded television shows, such as : TV ONE'S: Miss Me This Christmas, A Royal Christmas Ball, Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland, The Wrong Mother, StartUp, The Rich and The Ruthless, CSI: Miami, CSI: New York, Born Again Virgin, Hit The Floor, and the CW's new hit drama, Containment. Mykel's film credits include The Last Heist, Teleios, The Masked Saint, Same Kind of Different as Me, and Undisputed III: Redemption, where he brought to life the charismatic and unforgettable American fighter, Turbo.
In 2015, instead of waiting for an opportunity, Mykel created his own by writing, producing, directing and starring in his own films. To date, Mykel has released five features, his fifth being “Two Wolves.” His other works include “The Gods” and “The Chosen Ones.” Mykel is currently writing a script which he will produce, direct and co-star, spotlighting his son in a coming-of-age dramedy about a young boy finding his way through the craziness of life, friendships, and family.
Although Mykel is busy filling many roles as an actor, writer, director and producer, he still dedicates time to playing his favorite roles as father and husband.
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Intro: (00:00:00)Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, My name is Bryan.
And my name is Maggie
And we interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals.
We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.
Maggie: (00:00:23) Welcome to the Asian hustle network podcast. Today we have four special guests with us. Outran the writer, director, and editor of the paper tigers starring Elaine OI, Ron UN Shannon Jenkins. The paper tigers tells the story of three goo prodigies. Danny played by Elaine King, played by Ron and Jim played by Miquel who have grown up into washed up middle aged men who are just one kick away from pooling their hamstrings. When their master is murdered, they must juggle their debt and jobs. Dad duties and old grudges to eventually step mentored early on by master action director quarry UN director bow trend was installed with an approach to action that doesn't rely solely on spectacle, but also draws on story and character. His editing credits include Cholon when a Southeast Asia highest budgeted action, blockbusters and jackpot, a heartfelt comedy selected as Vietnam's official entry to the 2016 Oscars for best foreign film. From bringing diverse and dynamic characters to life on screen to flexing his entrepreneurial spirit through his production company, them to multihyphenate actor, director, producer, and writer. Langley has become one to watch in the entertainment industry and he isn't slowing down anytime soon, Warren and dagger, Penn city, Philippines, and of Chinese Filipino descent. Elaine moved to Los Angeles at six years old with his parents and four siblings growing up. He had an innate love for the arts. Elaine trained to be a professional dancer in high school and was led to a study abroad program at Oxford university in the UK there, Elaine immersed himself in theater. And when he returned to the States, he began his professional career as an actor. Ron ran just wrapped as one of the ensemble leads and Disney's live adaptation, Milan directed by Niki Caro you on plays, battle and master Sergeant Chang. Second in command of the Imperial regiment you on signed on as series regular Prince neon on Netflix is Marco polo created by John Fusco you on cylinder, Roland Emmerich's independence day. Resurgence playing young, the main weapons engineer before that he was in the accountant directed by Gavin. O'Connor playing a reluctant select master. He appeared on John Boken camps, the blacklist as twins. Dang you on played hard-nose Lieutenant Peter King. And the short-lived CBS series, golden boy, and had small roles in episodes of justified and castle yawns award-winning work in short film and features has premiered in more than 30 film festivals worldwide. Miquel Shannon Jenkins born in Biloxi, Mississippi to an officer in the United States air force traveled with his family across the United States. With his parents had two siblings Mikelle finally settled in new Orleans, Louisiana, where he landed many roles, including one that earned him screen time with Tommy Lee Jones and Ashley Judd and double jeopardy since moving to Hollywood Miquel has landed leads in many highly regarded television shows. In 2015, instead of waiting for an opportunity, Miquel created his own by writing, producing, directing, and starring in his own films. Miquel is currently writing a script, which he will produce direct and CoStar spotlighting his son in a coming of age. Dromedy about a young boy finding his way through the craziness of life, friendships and family. Welcome to the show, everyone.
All: (00:03:45) Thank you. Thanks for it. Thank you. Thank you, Asia. And then the house,
Bryan: (00:03:46) have you guys here today and we want to kind of hop into and just let dogs off quickly about the movie, you know, what the inspiration behind it was and what was the filming process? Like? Where did you guys in the movie?
Bao Tran: (00:04:00) Yeah, well, uh, we shot a, this basically all in Seattle. This is where I'm based. Uh, the paper tigers is, um, kind of loosely based and inspired by the history. Uh, that we have in our region. Uh, if you may or may not know Bruce Lee, when he first came to America and he sat down as digs first, uh, in Seattle, he met his wife here and he opened his first come through school and he studied at the university of Washington. Uh, so a lot of his, uh, footprint is definitely felt around the city is also buried here. Of course. Uh, so we all felt that just growing up and understanding, you know, in the martial arts world, we had a lot of us, students are still have schools in actively teaching. So a lot of that is it's kind of imbued in, in our, in our region here. So it was partly just kind of paid for me to that history of Seattle, but also our own martial arts history of, you know, my own growing up in misery region also, and then making the friends that I'd made and also attribute to the friendships that they know that I still have to this day. So that's kind of in a nutshell, the whole kind of a backdrop. I love film and just, um, hopefully it's just kind of reflects also the period of the nineties and also just the friendships that we've made over the times though. Uh, not just a martial arts film, but also a good buddy flick.
Bryan: (00:05:13) Yeah. I love that. And, you know, watching the film, especially at the very beginning, remind me a lot of like a Hong Kong film back in the 1990s where growing up, I was really into martial arts. I was really into that theme and seeing that throughout the entire movie, especially beginning, it was like, Whoa, what a major flashback. And I was wondering what God's inspiration was, you know, And the cast that you have right here. They're absolutely amazing. You know, the three tigers in front of us. I just want to hear about each person here and want to just go in order. So I see Ron first talk about like, Yeah, well, your character inside the movie, you know, who was it like? What was it like playing his character and how to tie back into your own personality and personal experience?
Ron Yuan: (00:05:54) Um, I'm Ron, I play the character of hing, uh, um, it's, uh, one of the comedy release and I was really, really fat, almost 70 pounds over. Um, but, uh, but now, um, I think what drew me to bows wonderful script was, you know, not just the story itself, but as far as the character hang, I felt like. This guy, like use comedy to hide his sadness and his, and his pain from missing his brothers from his guilt, with his seafood. So when I read the script, like it just flowed like butter for me. So, you know, it was, um, a producer, uh, UGI mono who been friends. And he asked me to take a look at the script. I'm like, dude, I'm down. I love it. And, um, and as far as me meeting the rest of the guys, it was like, okay, It felt like, you know, like just after a couple of days we were bros, you know, and we all really, really bonded and we loved like working together on scene. So like the journey, the journey for me as an actor, uh, Is probably one of my best experiences, because about, as a truly, you know, an actress director and also just, he let us play. He let us, because he knew that we were going to be bringing stuff and he just allowed us to breathe and just take chances and stuff. And, and, uh, from. That aspect. It was a wonderful experience.
Bryan: (00:07:24) Yeah. I really reflected like the comic relief and all the jokes are always wondering, like, are you guys really getting hurt behind the scenes? Because we saw you kick a bunch of stuff and, Oh, my leg I'm like, it looks pretty real, man. I'm not sure if he got injured or not.
Ron Yuan: (00:07:51) No. Well though, well, I would make these guys come with me and like go to dink typhoon because I was still trying to gain weight because that will make me feel guilty. And I found them. It's like a Lane's really thin, so you need to be willing that. All right. So even when we were up in Seattle, like as c'mon, so I put extra soy sauce, extra salt on everything, just blow it out. So yeah,
Maggie: (00:08:16) you know, in the movie, in the beginning, when you guys had all reconnected, Elaine and Miquel, didn't really end off on good terms. And Ron, you kind of came in and was like the centerpiece and like the middle man to kind of like bring everyone together. So that was like really refreshing to see.
Ron Yuan: (00:08:31) Yeah, that's one of the things I loved about the screenplay, because you have like these three really great characters independently and they all have baggage. And for them to find the bonding thing that drew them together as kids, you know, it's, I mean, we do that in real life, man. You, you know, even, even until like I see 80 year olds arguing, like, and families and stuff, it's just it's. And so, yeah, I just read true to me from day one.
Bryan: (00:08:59) Yeah, definitely Michela let's hear from your experience. How's it like playing the character, Jim?
Mykel Shannon Jenkins: (00:09:04) Um, uh, soon as I got the script from bow, I read German as like, best, like. Straight up gets me like, uh, most of the time I'm like 40 pages deep in backstory and all that. I'm like this guy's me. So I have to meet Val and tell him, so we didn't do this thing. So, cause it was so the script was so to me it was just, um, I don't think that we, we see enough. We don't see enough in the media or at least films made where men are allowed to care for each other, as deeply as these brothers do. And, uh, to throw it back to the code of honor and, and, and. Decency and what's good. What's good. Was naturally good in everyone was what's the throwback for me. Like I haven't seen that gun in a minute, either just reminding people what's important. And you know, as a brother to see that, that by the last page he's still alive. I was like, Oh, that's a plus, I'm still jokey again. And so, um, I, I was turned off and the second I read it, And then I met about at our audition, went for an hour and a half and I was like, Oh, no one MRC. I love this dude because he just kept giving it. And I was like, we can go all day. Like, I don't want it. I don't ever want this to end. And we did. I freaked out because I read it. I turned to my wife and said, this can be a classic, really not good, because there are a lot of moments that have to be done. Right. I cannot wait to meet these two brothers somewhere. So as soon as I come into this room, it's like, there's some people there's 20 people in there and I'm trying to figure out who the two are and I guess completely wrong. Val is like putting people together to do like Samantha scenes. And I'm like, Oh, she's so luckily I was last and he put those two together. And boy, they start cooking and bowels started working. I'm like, Oh, I have changed my position in my seat. Are we doing that? Oh, call my wife and that little sound like it's going to be bananas. It's going to be classic. And it took me like two days. Normally when I arrive on the set, I keep to myself, especially when I don't know people. And I don't know the environment. I know I've been to Seattle and just so much love from the time I got picked up from the airport. These guys, aren't just, um, probably the first that I've ever worked with it. Weren't like, this is wanting to do what was best for them, for peace. They described it all the time, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I loved that. We wait for each other, they get off the guest the same ride. Like I really have. And extraordinary amount of love for both of these men. I wouldn't, there's nothing I wouldn't do for them. The relationship, um, that we generated through the gift of this project has remained with me for us. And will we make me for the rest of my life? And so the kid on a set and have somebody that I about basically just open it up and I was just like, Suppress ourselves. Like it was a, it was never really done part. Most people try and control the magic and then tell you when it's supposed to happen. And he could totally embarrassment and let the magic happen. And so like, definitely my favorite project, I've been doing this for 37 years and it's just, it's just an experience that I'd go back to all the time. And, um, it reminds me like, There's those moments in life when you're like, yeah, you're doing the thing you want to do your whole life. And you knew it could be done the way this is being put together. People sometimes won't let it happen that way and no credit to saran and lane. And about like, you know, I was African-American there for a minute and like it's surrounded by all this love and people who aren't Meyer. Color. And it's just like crazy for a Southern kid, like myself, certain learning situation. Now it's just like, I'm trying to get people to see which Elaine ride we used to have talks about the similarities between the cultures. It's just crazy. If we ever talked about, we spent so much time talking about differences or similarities are like crazy. Like they really are like my brothers, like I was just like, so, uh, just a magnificent opportunity.
And, uh, I am just like, I just, it is like, it is what it is. Like if you follow me throughout my life and be like, yo, you didn't really have to do, you didn't really have to use that to be free to, to let his story be told because Jim, you wait your whole life to get an opportunity to be here, to be the closest thing you can to yourself. If you know who you are by that time. And Jim is the closest thing I had the opportunity to play with. That's really like who I am the man. I walked this clinic.
Bryan: (00:14:23) I love that. And you know, you guys are gonna make me share its gender, very brotherly tier
Maggie: (00:14:34) But I love that though. I think you bring up a really great point. I think we often idolize the fact that like, men are very hard and like they don't show emotions. You know, I love the fact that. Inside the movie, you guys are not afraid to show emotions and that it's okay for men to show emotions. And, you know, I think that we have to normalize that in society.
Bryan: (00:15:01) Yeah. Yeah. All jokes aside. That is very true. And thanks for showing this other side, you know, that's moderate and working together. And for me in this three tigers, In real life and the movie, you know, you guys are you guys exactly. He's a straight takeover brother. It's a takeover. Yeah. So Elaine, let's hear more about your experience playing Danny, you know, cause you have such a big, impactful role at the very beginning, single father being there for your kid, your seafood, the story sort of revolves around you, your character as Daniel. You want to hear more about that?
Alain Uy: (00:15:37) It's interesting because, you know, I was at a point in my life, um, in 2019 is when we, when we really, I got introduced to the film and the script and reading it. And at that point, uh, my parents just retired and I had a, you know, he was four at the time of a four year old. I have a six-year-old son now, but he was four at the time. And at that point you're sort of in this apex point where you kind of see the end. And then a little bit at the beginning and your, your perspective changes and your priorities change. And that's when things for me, as a, as a person, I really had to kind of look at inward and figure out like, what, what am I really looking for? What, what, what, what, uh, am I still striving for that 20 year old goal? I mean, when I was a 20 year old, is that the same thing or is it changing and. Here comes a script that really reflects on that in terms of how quickly or how slowly our priorities change and how we in many ways, either run away from certain things or we embrace certain things. And you kind of see that in all three tigers, we're where someone stays in the hang character. And someone like, uh, you know, the gym character that sort of adapts because of survival. And then you're left with someone like Danny, who just kind of in some ways ran away. And I thought that to be pretty powerful and really interesting. And you know, it is in the context or in, in the containment that is a martial arts film, but it's still. Uh, a story that we all go through as, as, as people that, you know, we do age, we get older and things change and, and I think that's something that really I gravitated towards. And then after I could talk about, about it and just kind of working it out through the audition process, you start to get a sense of like what his vision is and how you wants to put this together. And, you know, my experience. Uh, in a personal level, you know, playing Danny and kind of breathing life into this character. It was really cathartic in many ways, because it does put you in a situation where it, it makes you think about your what's happening in your real life. And I, and I thought it was beautiful. I think it it's, you know, Danny is, uh, is, is he's trying his best. Um, and sometimes, you know, he kind of gets in the way of himself. It's like, We talked about it in length, uh, during, during filming about like how Danny we'll put, we'll go one step forward and then two steps back. And it's always because of his own kind of, you know, he's, he's mired in his own, uh, you know, crap. Uh, and so I, I was a joy to kind of breathe life into this character and, you know, and just, I, they they've all said it, Val said it, you know, Miquel and Ron have said it, that it was. This was probably the best experience I've ever had, uh, working on a film, um, because of the fact that everybody was passionate about the film. Like, you know, you, you hear the stories from like, uh, you know, UGI and, uh, Allen and, and, and everybody that was producing it. Like you can't help, but get infected by the enthusiasm. And, and what's at stake and, and, and, you know, Balkin, we can talk about like the history of the, how this film came about, but being a part of this journey with everybody and, and seeing it come to fruition is, is beyond exhilarating.
Bryan: (00:19:21) Yeah. Thanks are giving us such an insightful in depth vision into your character and your experience playing him. I kind of want to take the, the, the podcast towards narrative of. Let's talk about representation. You know, referencing is such a big thing in mainstream media, especially for Asian Americans. And, you know, I think the movie coming out the way it is in 2021 is it's probably the best time for the movie come out, to be honest, it's just, it shows, um, The black community in Asia can be a work together and becoming one family. That's extremely important to in-office more so than ever not to get too political. I feel like, I feel like we're sort of pit against each other at the current moment and it's really uncomfortable feeling, you know? And I, I just want to have you guys kind of speak the experience, speaking of representation, not only inside the industry and what you guys currently see right now, but the more, the importance of. Building allyship with people of color. And this entire movie is about people of color, you know, what does it mean for the industry?
Maggie: (00:20:22) Yeah. And just to add on top of that, you know, there is so many things going on with the Asian community and the black community right now, but at the same time, there's so much synergy between the two of them. Right. And like how many kids said there are more similarities between the two communities and there are differences. Right. And we'd love to know like what your take is on the representation
Bryan: (00:20:41) discussion from you guys. So for free, charming, Oh, go ahead. Go ahead.
Bao Tran: (00:20:43) I'll just say something really quickly. I think, I think Miquel really touched on it when we were talking, when he was talking about. Breaking bread on set. I think it's, it's about sharing those stories and, and, you know, it's important to kind of find the similarities and, you know, Mikhail came in there not really knowing about our culture. Um, you know, I'll have him speak on it, but it was, I found it interesting, even the food and, and like not knowing exactly what certain of things are. But by the end of the shoot, we were eating, you know, like we were eating Japanese food and like Korean food. And he was like, yo, I can mess with this. This is amazing. And it's, it's those kinds. He was like, nah, I don't want He reluctant, you know, it was, it was, it was, you know, it was, you know, I've, I've never met anybody. That's never even tasted Asian food. Like it's, it's part of the, you know, the. I don't know the experience here in LA is just that sort of cultural, you know, uh, you know, melting pot. I hate to use that word, use that term, but like, I think for me, you know, when we get to talking and, you know, he understands the plight of the struggles that we've been through, it is very similar and isn't it interesting that we are meant to be pitted against each other and to sort of. You know, we're fighting for scraps. Like that doesn't make any sense to me. So when, when we, when we do start to figure like, Oh, okay, we are moving in the same way, the direction, why can't we all be in the same car? I was supposed to two different cars, both stuck in traffic, let's carpool and get there together and we can share stories. So it's like, I, I thought, you know, in a, in a very. You know, and the micro, the microcosm of the experience of the, the black experience, the Asian American experience, like how it sort of is similar this movie and everything that happened behind the scenes is a microcosm of that experience. And like I said, by the end of that shoe, you know, we, we just became like real brothers and, and really understand each other. And some of the stuff that we've gone through, you know, even raw, uh, even McKeldin explaining his stories about like, Uh, you know, police like in the stuff that he's experienced with police and even Ron talking about his experience with police, you're like, wait, this is kind of the same. Right. So not to put, you know, put a, put a antagonist of this thing towards the police, because, but, but it's still a lot of that sharing the stories and, and understanding that that we're all kind of the same.
Mykel Shannon Jenkins: (00:23:31) Yeah. Yeah. Without question, I'm just going to type on a short. Truth for me. Um, the Asian community, I I've never felt more loving, um, more. And then, I mean, I've never walked into a set where people don't look there. Isn't one person there that looks like me and felt so at home. Like it, it was really, I'm a Southern kid. I've been told all the lights. So, you know, like, This was so education, such an educational experience for me because now I get to come back to my community and educate them. Like they don't really get it. They don't really know. They've never been exposed to it. And. What we do is we don't expose ourselves to situations. So we can say ignorance, as long as you stay ignorant and you can hold onto whatever lie you're choosing to believe in. The problem happens. When the worlds colliding, you realize none of it is true. Like it was like, Every song that came on the radio, these cats are like seeing him like that. Like it's just crazy hazy. Like I was just really, I had to, every night I went on, I called my weapon. I mean, I've just been lied to my whole life. Like, so I just, I'm kind of excited for everyone to see this tomb because what they will see is more than just. Three actors who came together to perform this project. They will see the genuine love and affection that we have for what? I didn't know, the Scott, I never been to Seattle. So I'm hoping, um, that, uh, well, I'm going to have a voice in this whole situation because you're right. When I think about East first and I thought about it, actually, I thought about how poorly blacks are represented, right. But I never really thought about how poorly Asians who ever said it. It's like for the first time in my life, I started to look at how many movies I, Oh yeah, you got one black bird. There are no, like you got your token and you made them the black dude. Like he's not the Mexican dude and he's not Asian. And I was like, wow. So while I was worried about the fact that we would get nothing, are folks actually getting nothing. You know what I mean? So like that, that similarity, that, that, that. That struggle, the truth of it all just to be properly. And then they started telling about us in their cinematic representation and how Asians are portrayed. And I started watching them trash and thinking to myself, wow, this is just completely not true. Like none of it it's like they're, they're, they're some of the most brilliant minded, uh, free, uh, culturally solid people, that amendment, but when you're lost, You don't want to hear that? You know what I mean? I think, um, I'm hoping that, uh, this, this film becomes like that thing that taps some people on the shoulder and there's him to look at beyond, look beyond the meme that beyond the Facebook title. Cause, um, when I speak on it for the rest of my life and I've already started since I came home with all my crews, like. Beautiful like, uh, um, the food is amazing and the people are beautiful. And like, uh, Bruce Lee was about, we all are. Bruce is about like that. He represents a whole cultural light. He wasn't just speaking personally, this is, this is, he's a cultural icon. You have to understand that those principles are what. Is true. Like, I don't know how you get it confused. You love this, but you don't see that. So, so people are tigers dropping right now at this moment. I'm just so I couldn't like God, it's just working it out. He is like, like working it out because everybody knows can try to find a place to pop in. I cannot wait because for the first time Asians are represented properly. Like their love, their honor, their code that's this and that drew me to the movie. Like nothing else. The cult that we all were not following. Is the goal we all have in the streets, the same call, like the honor code, right? Like it's not thinking like this is the same thing. We build everything we build on this. Like it is in here. Like they're going to see the similarities. I'm going to talk about it. They're going to see, they're going to see how easy it is to slide over and, and, and open yourself up for it. And I think when people see things as our job, as artists. To open up the mind and expand the perspective when people see that, like we used to see it is really when this, this talk it, what will you see? It it's real. And a lot of my brothers, they don't go to school. They watch the nigga in school by this to put him in class. That's up David talking about including class here. I cannot, I ain't going to come see some kung-fu now. Cause, you know, we like to see a woman, like, however, they're going to be in there to see some color. Oh, we go to school when it gets them complete. So I'm super excited about it. Super tight. Yeah.
Ron Yuan: (00:28:47) Yeah. I mean, for me, like, uh, it goes back to the script, right? I mean, I got a lot of things to say about this, but for me, if you take away the martial arts. These are three fully fleshed out characters. They're brothers, we all have our problems and this is stuff like, you know, I first came in the business. If there's a martial arts film as like, we either gotta be triad, Yakuza, one dimensional bad guys. So when Miguel was saying is right, like, this is, this is really different for me. When I read Jim was black, it really hit home for me because. Well, when I grew up, I grew up in really racist situations. I was getting the fights, get beat up, you know, a lot when I was really, really young from like first grade, you know, um, just because I was different than class, but later on, it was the black community that embraced me. It was my black brothers that bled for me every time someone said the C word and I bled for them every time someone said the N word. So it was, you know, New York was crazy back then. And I think for me, like it was very touching and like me and lane talked about even with McKell situation, like learning about Asian food. I dealt with that when I was young, because my black brothers, even from the time of third, fourth grade, they would come up like, yo, what the hell is that, man, I need that. I'll just try it, man. Just try it. I tried to like, Oh Dan, you know, it's like one of those things. And when we saw the killer reacting like that, for me, you know, I don't know about, you know, the land, but it was just like, for me, it was just, I felt like. It was going back to my roots and, and, and, and it was a beautiful thing because today what's happening now. I mean, I'm even out here in New York and I was telling the story about paper tigers to my crew here. We're doing an anti-Asian hate video. And, and for me, like paper tigers, you had POC all over in front of camera and behind camera, even within the Asian, like, you know, Southeast Asian to East Asian, to black, to just everyone. And, you know, That's the way life should be, right? That's the way America should be. It's it's black, Brown, yellow, and white, not just white. And unfortunately, because of what we all had to go through, you know, through systemic racism and stuff, a lot of it wasn't touched in our school's education. So a lot of us don't know what happened. Most of my blood was didn't know about the Chinese. I didn't know about the Chinese exclusion act, Japanese starving camps. It was still afterschool. When I researched stuff. So that's like, you know, the innate problem. And for me, we just like on this video and what paper tigers just showed by just being paper tigers. It's solidarity, man. And it's P we can't do this alone. Like we have, we are, you know, the face of America and, you know, I'm sorry, but those races just have to deal with it, you know, and just, Hmm. Yeah. And it's like, it's, it's very, it's very, it's very, you know, I have to say we've been speaking, you know, a lot of panels and me, I've been speaking a lot of anti hate panels, but I can't tell you how many black brothers and sisters have come out and say, yo. We're here for you. I'm here for you. You know, and, and I know, you know, certain, certain news stations want to push the agenda of black and Brown hate and yellow, all that stuff. But we have to be smarter than that. We have to know, like reach out to your friends, reach out to your, you know, to our black friends and Brown friends and say, Hey, you know, it's like Asian Americans aren't blamed for COVID, you know, like let's really take the research and all that stuff, but. But for me, it's about us coming together as one, because we've all gone through this kind of stuff. And, and, and you know, some of the stuff it's just, it has to do with not direct racism, but it can be low education, low income kind of stuff. So there's stuff that we, as a society, you have to break down specifically and not group it as one particular thing. And for all of us, I think just what paper tigers represents. It represents that kind of solidarity that I grew up with. So that's, you know, that's what I have to say about it.
Bryan: (00:33:05) I love that. I love that wrong.
Mykel Shannon Jenkins: (00:33:08) And just so y'all know, like, y'all need somebody to ride with you, you know that right.
Ron Yuan: (00:33:19) I mean, it's like, yeah, there was mornings when we talked about this, right. Like morning static. We would have, we would take turns like on our iPhone playing, you know, Lincoln up to the blue screen. And that's when we kept was just like, wait, what? Like, yo go all black. This is like music crazy though, that we love man on, like for me, I grew up on R and B and hip hop. And, and so, yeah, so we were, we were like, y'all remember this one, remember this one? Like we were like, Oh, so it was just a beautiful thing to start off. Right. At the beginning of the day, we start off with that energy. We had crew like dancing to the music, all that stuff. So we was, it was love. It was a lot of luck.
Bryan: (00:33:59) Thanks for sharing that, Ron. And if you guys ever host a sequel, uh, paper tigers too. I know, I know Rhonda only, I know Ron's only a year older than me, but I want to play a younger Ron for a bit. I'm just messing around, but I do want to focus the conversation back in bow for a bit. It's about like, as you're creating satisfying lights. As you creating the script and you were directing everyone and casting everyone was, uh, what was the ultimate vision and dream that you had hopes for paper tigers that was some of the mission statement and the goals and objectives that he wants to accomplish throughout each iteration with the movie.
Maggie: (00:34:46) And what did you kind of hope that viewers would kind of get out of the SML?
Bao Tran: (00:34:52) Yeah. I mean, yeah, this kind of ties back to kind of what we're talking about, this whole representation, that's kind of a very broad term, and obviously you can go a lot of different places with it. I think that what we want to do at the end of the day, I was just wanting to have friends on screen, you know, uh, and the martial arts wasn't vehicle and kind of a reflection of, of, like I said, my history, um, because I think at the end of the day, you know, people are gonna. Relate to that more than say martial arts and martial arts is kind of that vehicle. So I think that's, you know, and it's purest distillation, it's kind of like that. And we wanted to have a fun movie. You know, we had looked at Shaun of the dead as being an example for zombie movies. That's what we want to do for comfort moves or martial arts movies, just to have that freshness, but also loving, uh, to the genre. So it's not like a completely deconstruction or anything like that. Um, but just going back to, you know, we were talking about like, when we. You know, I had the script that basically reflects, you know, my upbringing and my crowd, my crew of Kung Fu siblings. And they were very diverse. And, uh, going back to Bruce, you know, when he first taught here in Seattle, when he was teaching non-Chinese, that was an issue. Um, and even that was a problem, you know, in that period with the elders. Uh, um, so I think back on that, when, when, when we actually had to start to go pushing the film and we had thought around kind of LA and Hollywood traditionally, Um, all, all the kind of traditional water bottle tour and just getting all, you know, and then there was interest, but, uh, they wanted to change the race of the characters. They wanted to change the leads to whites and just kinda make it a more marketable or anything. But it just felt like, you know, that's something that we didn't want to do. It changed what we had set out to make. Um, and, and it just felt like it was changing. You know what we are. You know, the whole fiber of the movie. Uh, so, you know, we kind of went on our way and kind of did it without the support of the studios. But to me, that's kind of like the two fold of it in the same way that Bruce was told like, Oh, you can't teach non-Chinese people in the same way. You can't have people of color starting in your movie. It just felt that same type of exclusion. And in a lot of ways that, you know, it felt like the, the battles that we were all fighting are kind of the same. Um, and I. And it wasn't, it's like, we're not activists. I would say, like, we kind of like put into this role. I, we just wanted to tell the story and I think that's what we always have to kind of go back to and just focus on what the purpose of the story is, as opposed to kind of push an agenda. And people are gonna feel that if it's an agenda or anything, but. Your story is honestly, to your experience, that's the most important, because I think people want to go on a journey with a movie and, um, be able to, um, kind of see the world the way the filmmakers see it or the artists see it. And I think that's a really important thing because I think with representation, maybe we were in a phase where we had a thing called, you know, rep sweats, where we had the like portray it correctly, or almost like we're on pins and needles watching a so-called. Uh, Asian Americans. So, but it's not necessarily written or produced by Asian-Americans. The world is kind of like checking if the fact details are right or it's seeing if the things are a little off. So there's also like representation police, maybe for example, there an example, like, you know, when we kind of look at characters with their shoes in the house, you got Asian American characters and the shoes in the house and it feels false Right. And you find out like, Oh, it's like white writers or white directors that are, that have made that. That's just something that that's a little detailed that they, they don't pick up on. But I I'd like to think that we're moving into kind of a more, uh, open world. We're not, we don't have to be that nervous watching on pins and needles anymore because we're, we're creating it and we're centered in the story and creating it. Uh, there have been some notes, like, for example, like there's a scene with Ron or hanging Danny in the house and we have him wearing shoes. And I remember on the day I, I told like you guys are going to wear shoes here. And that was an intentional choice, but, you know, we had some, some people were like, well, they're not wearing shoes in the house. That's not accurate, but that little race that we're centered here, we're telling the story. And we're trying to tell a story about these characters because Danny and are exactly the types of guys that would wear shoes in the house at this point in the story. Right. So, you know, I hope we can kind of like get beyond like that nervousness about getting the details. Right. And then also getting to the point, what's the story being told. You know, who are the, you know, that we can actually, you know, use these things through to express these things in the story and, and convey those things. And beyond just kind of like checking the box, if things are right or things are, you know, and because I think that's coming from a position of fear versus the position of kind of creativity.
Bryan: (00:39:24) Yeah..
Mykel Shannon Jenkins: (0039:29) The one thing on bows behalf, and this is something to, to reaffirm for anyone. Uh, you know, who's African-American um, and listening to me now, um, this is the kind of respect that it was because they, they have been misrepresented and because it was so important for him to, to have a real representation onscreen, he wasn't trying to tell me how to be black. He wasn't trying to tell me how to react to certain things. He wasn't trying to put me in, you know, he, he knows I ride black light. And the best thing to do is to, is to figure out what works with the piece that needs to be, what, who we really are. And, and you see how it turned out. Like it was just like, I don't think I've ever been given that freedom because I was checking boxes too. Like I get it. I know exactly. Cause I get it from everybody. I know that ain't real, anybody black do that. So like I was a little nervous and then I just saw how like, He just wanted to tool. So like he wanted it to be honestly represented. And here's the beauty of that. You have to have a compassion for being misrepresented to allow someone else the right to represent themselves. And that is just a small piece of what black community doesn't understand. Like they get it grow. You don't have to separate. The Hey and figure out who's getting it worse. They get it, they get it on all levels and they want the same thing. I don't understand what the difficulty is. It's like if we all in a dark room and he turned the lights out and we all just started talking about. You wouldn't know who was Asian and who was black. Like, it's just not an issue. It's a non issue. Oh, he has really big biceps September where they might be hitting by a little bit of a dip sauce, but they're there.
Bryan: (00:41:40) I don't think that this interview really captures like all of like the Jason and the pressure that you went through, you know, like staying so focused on the goal and making sure this movie about people of color highlighting people of minority racer, that's highly political in this world that we're in is not giving you enough light on, you know, so hats off to you for staying so strong. Cause that does affect. The politics and the movie, and it does affect the marketing. It does affect the funding, you know? So shout out to you and all the credit and all the flour goes to you, man.
Bao Tran: (00:42:14) Well, you know what, uh, it's, it's funny. Like I thank you. And I appreciate it. It's it's it always, it felt like we knew we were going to have those notes from Hollywood, but it's in a lot of ways, it was, it wasn't a hard decision to just go and keep telling your story. It was going to be harder to do. But I think as artists, you know, we have a very different. Good BS meter. And if something feels false in the story, like it just doesn't sit, right? Like you always want to like, be truthful with your work. So that was just kind of like one part of the whole cloth of just trying to find what was honest about these characters and, and keep chasing that. Because I think once you have that as your true North, you know, all the things about the money and funding and the politics of it all, it goes away because, uh, the, I think the work will stand on its own. If you kind of keep holding to. And what's true.
Bryan: (00:43:05) Yeah, totally. I appreciate that though. And, and I know we're short on time, so we're going to go fun far around her pigs. There was one funny scene or a memorable scene you guys had during this movie as you're acting, acting through.
Alain Uy: (00:43:18) Honestly, there's, there's so many, it's hard to just this, you know, the minute Matt page came on set. I think it just changed the dynamic of everything and just having him, having, watching Ron and him just go at it in the funeral thing. I think that was, that was that Matt's first day. It was right. That was fire. Like I want the producers to put out just to the extra stuff went down. Cause it's hilarious. So anytime Matt was on set, I thought it was. Just the funniest funniest day. Moments
Bryan: (00:44:01) and Matt, did I get jealous as Blaine Carter?
Maggie: (00:44:03) That's a really good character. You guys
Mykel Shannon Jenkins: (00:44:09) for me, it was the, it was, it was massive again in that, in that, in that, in that dungeon when we're like looking for him and it's like, Oh yeah, you can hear it. The other master can, and he's hitting that heavy bag. Yep. Didn't know what Raul was doing. So I was really listening, looking, and listening, and then we hear it. And in my mind, I know, cool as shit, when you, when you, you know, you see it, it's like, Oh, this is some, as soon as I heard it, I was like, ah, so yeah, that was, for me, it was, it was that it was that underground, that hose there out the alleyway. And he's taken out the bike, like watching these two guys. Get themselves into some, they wish they hadn't was through me.
Bryan: (00:45:01) Yeah. Awesome. What about you, Ron?
Ron Yuan: (00:45:04) Oh, man. There's a lot of funny stuff. I mean, I feel like I'm always cracking jokes regardless. Right. But with the guys, like there was so many, uh, tender, funny moments. Um, but yeah, it was go back to the, uh, the funeral scene. Cause I was thinking just to be a great, like, this is definitely, you know, yo mama snaps, you know, section, you know, so it's like. So I thought back to, and this is with love to, um, the white brothers I've befriended and also met since I was a little kid that got into martial arts. I'm sure about probably can attest to this, but, um, and you know, they come in to school wearing the Kung Fu slippers and start talking with the shot brothers accent almost because. They wanted Pete Asian so bad. I'm just like, yo bro. They're like, Oh yes, Ron, how are you? I'm like, this is like doing, I will just go on. So I used to get with crap, but I used to like, and I use that with Matt. Like I just, I just, and plus the fact that I've built up this history that I just, he just really irritated me. Like I can move up, just hating this dude, you know? And for me. It worked well on the funeral stand. I think it caught Matt off guard at the beginning, but then he got into flow. When he got into a flow, we both just, the snaps just went left and right. And it was like, and we were trying not to crack up because we heard the crew cracking up every day. I mean, Elaine you remember, right? Oh man, sorry, sorry. Second AC, all the way down. Everyone's just cracking up. It was so much fun. And Matt brought his a game and then with the, I would say the tea scene because it was all three of us with Matt and it just, even with Matt, man, it felt like, I mean, I know there's supposed to be this. But it felt like with the four of us, it was still a brotherhood. It was just three guys that would really irritated with the lawyer guy. So I love that. Like, when I read the script, you know, and bow wrote like this stuff and just like, dude, just speak Chinese, man. I mean just speak English. This is like, cause I said those very things, you know, to friends. So, so yeah, but you know, so those two scenes stand out to me as far as the. Like comedy and stuff, but every scene was really joyous. I mean, there's also like when, when you cut the action, we were all just clouded.
Bryan: (00:47:41) Yeah. You really feel the chemistry like during the movie and you know, especially as you guys are talking now, it's like, I feel he has a lot of fun on set.
Maggie: (00:47:48) I feel like I'm watching you guys as you are in the movie because of the brotherhood and the bonding.
Bryan: (00:47:53) Yeah. I can't wait to you guys look like. Really fun people at the party with us. So we'll set up some time for us as fibers. Now, what about you? What was your favorite scene?
Bao Tran: (00:48:04) Uh, yeah. You know, it's, it's, again, it's hard to say. I think it's, there's so many moments that basically kind of encapsulate. No, the pattern and the rhythm of every day on the shoot, because it's like, yeah, it's really hard shooting. It's like, make no bones about it. It was really tough. We put them through the ringer and a lot of challenges, but everyone kind of like went with it, really chill and just kind of believed in it and locked in. And, uh, even though it was hard, we all, you know, had a good sense of humor about it. And I think that was really important. I, you know, maybe after the movie and everyone sees, uh, you know, so it's not too spoiler-y I can post up some stuff, but I was, you know, there's I took a lot of videos of these guys singing. They were sitting, you know, waiting between takes. So, you know, the rigging whites. So, you know, these guys are just sitting there listening to music, just like Ron was saying, and just singing and rapping along with everything. And they would just, it would just be in the zone and then the cut on that. And then, you know, once when it rolls, there's no. Like sense of like, Oh, now we're performing. Like they were already in that vibe and they were already, you know, uh, you know, uh, enjoying each other's company in that sense. So it just has that flow. And so it never felt like it ever ended as far as like, from, from action to cut, you know, and everyone was already in that, in that same mode.
Ron Yuan: (00:49:19) Yeah. I just want to say guys to put it out there. I don't know what is putting out, but I can't sing, so please forgive me.
Bao Tran: (00:49:28) We got it all. Yeah. Like you were saying during lunchtime, you know, they'd be sitting. You know, world debates about best of basketball, hip hop, whatever. And I'd be walking by and just hearing them just really go at it. It's a bird. Is it magic? Because the Jordan, you know, and all this stuff, whatever it was like, I just heard it all. It was just fun seeing that it never turned off. And I think I was like the beautiful thing in that stuff.
Ron Yuan: (00:49:54) I didn't say this to Miguel yet, but I won. Yeah, John Moran was the Williamson restaurant. That was most of the founders. They heated. That was a very heated debate, very heated debate as to who would the rookie of the year was going to be King right now, though. Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. This is, this was our day here.
Bryan: (00:50:46) Yeah. So we are coming up the end of the time. Then we have one final question. How can you find out more about the movie? Where can we view the movie? How can we support you guys know this is a big step, you know, this is, we want to be there for you guys at every step of the way and really amplify the voices. So how can our listeners reach out to you guys or find a movie or, or support in any way?
Bao Tran: (00:51:06) Yes, sir. Well, we'll be on, uh, on theaters in theaters and on digital coming May 7th. So you can go to the paper, tigers, movie.com or just Google, uh, and then you'll be able to follow us on social media, but, uh, we'll be in select theaters. On May 7th, uh, across the country, of course, depending on however comfortable you feel about going out. Uh, we'd love to have you there because we worked really hard on that, on getting good picture and sound. So it's, it's really a crowd movie, and I think that's an experience we would love for you to have, if not, we also have streaming options. We'll be all on all the standard, uh, Amazon, Google, uh, iTunes and virtual cinemas as well. And so yeah, you just go to the site. Uh, there'll be all these options that you can check through and check your little local listings. Of course. So May 7th is when it drops come out, support us. It's an indie film. So opening weekend is really important for us to kind of build our momentum into the next, uh, following weekends, we don't have, you know, a big studio support, so everything is super plucky and grassroots. So if you like it, share the word, tell your friends and, uh, That's good. Enjoy
Ron Yuan: (00:52:12) and theaters. It looks and sounds great in theaters.
Maggie: (00:52:17) I would definitely leave all of that in the show notes. So all our viewers can know about it.
Bryan: (00:52:23) Leave all your Instagram handles inside of the show notes as well. Yeah, and we really appreciate you guys being on the podcast today.
Maggie: (00:52:30) Thank you so much for sharing your stories and you know, talking about the movie.
We really appreciate it, guys.
Bao Tran: (00:52:37) Thanks for having us
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