Yoson An is a Chinese-born New Zealand actor and filmmaker with an impressive resume. For international films, he was featured in Mortal Engines as Major Chen, Ghost Bride as Jason, Plane as Samuel Dele, and, of course, the Disney Live-Action Mulan as the beloved Chen Honghui. With regards to television series, An played Charlie Fung in Dead Lucky. These amazing credits aside, he has also been active in filmmaking and is involved in behind-the-scenes productions. Here, An talks to us about his experiences in the entertainment industry, his filmmaking interests and his upcoming short film JOHN.
1. When and how did you discover your passion for acting and filmmaking?
It all started in a high school musical, where I played yurtle the turtle in Dr Seuss' Seussical. I then started acting in student films during college (university) and the passion began to grow from there.
2. Having been on both sides of the camera, as actor and as a director/producer, how do the two experiences differ, or are they similar in some sort of way?
They're very different but at the same time, quite similar. Both creative and instinctive but uses a very different part of you.
3. You were casted as Chen Honghui in the amazing live-action adaptation of Mulan in 2020. How do you prepare for your roles and did you watch Mulan the animated version as a child?
Mulan was one of my favorite films as a kid. So being to be a part of the live-action adaption was truly a dream come true.
I usually like to break down the story journey of my character and really dive deep into their backstory to make them as relatable to me as possible. It's all about getting specific with my character's objectives with each scene. On top of that, I would work out what mannerisms my character would have. For Mulan, I went to extensive physical and martial arts training four months prior to filming to prepare for the role.
4. Plane, featuring Gerard Butler, Mike Colter amongst many other stars was recently released in theatres. How has that filming experience been?
It was so much fun! Gerry's awesome to work with, we had lots of laughs together. Everyone was super lovely and I've made many friends from the film - we still hang out together every once in a while.
Puerto Rico's a beautiful country, but because I was flying from New Zealand at the time, the weather season was the complete opposite. Going from winter to summer took a minute to adapt (it was really hot in the beginning).
5. Have you seen Hollywood become more inclusive over the years?
6. The upcoming short film JOHN is written and directed by you. Can you share with us a little insight to this exciting project?
Logline: Trapped in the limbo of purgatory, John's only path to freedom is a choice between a curtain and a kite.
John was something I wrote when the world was shut down in 2020. The first draft of the script came to me within an hour, and I thought it would be something fun to shoot with a group of friends together to keep our creative energies alive in 2020. I'm excited to share the film on social media once the festival rounds are finished.
7. What inspired you to create this piece?
I remember having played the video game Journey, and was in utter awe of how unique and beautiful the experience was. The vast landscape of the game inspired me to start the short film that way; opening the film at the vast Bonneville salt flats, as well as to experiment with a style of filmmaking I've never done before.
8. Are there any other upcoming projects you can share with us to look out for?
Lionsgate's Shadow Force will be out later this year, as well as Creamerie season 2!