Hi Adrian, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I have been good! Don’t really have anything to complain about or trust me I would, just working on my craft and looking to head into pilot season strong this year
Having started your career as a PA – was acting always your first main passion or were you drawn into this world?
My first professional job in the entertainment industry at least on set was as a Pa but I have been doing theatre since childhood, I even have a trophie or two at my parents house still for some outstanding performances, there was a while where I wasn’t sure What I was doing or wanted to do I just knew I wanted to be on set and see movies were made up close and immediately it reignited the passion I have for film and television.
How did your experience on TV has helped you and influenced your work now on movies?
I think honestly in today’s time it’s all the same, tv shows sometimes just feel like way longer movie shoots, especially working on and off for months on a show like Westworld that filmed 6 months plus pick ups/ additional Photog, the thing I Think sets the two apart is the headspace for the character where on tv you know you might have some twists and turns coming your way in upcoming seasons and episodes but with a film a lot of times you know where your characters story starts and finishes, so it’s just different as far as being in the moment and acting.
Let’s talk about Mulan – what was the audition process like?
Honestly I didn’t know I was being casted for Mulan, there was a casting for a project called Phoenix that needed martial arts experienced actors and I actually grew up training at one of the most well known tae Kwon do gyms in America with former Olympic gold medalist steven Lopez in Houston, I didn’t find out I was working on Mulan until I went to my first fittings for the film and was in a make up trailer and saw one of my friends who I already knew was in the films headshots on the wall in a trailer.
I’m guessing you were familiar with the OG animated film?
Of course! As an Asian American there’s a few classic films especially when it comes to Disney that we can call our own and this was definitely a huge one, I think it’s the perfect time for this movie to come out with parasite just winning the best picture Oscar as well as The Farewell winning the spirit awards, I think it’s time to show America that asians can really hold our own weight in cinema and that there is a huge market waiting for more great diverse stories! Above everything representation matters and Mulan is a great reminder of that , not to mention it’s where my love for Eddie Murphy and his acting came from when he stole the show as mushu, honestly I think that’s why he’s not back on this live action, we don’t need Eddie Murphy and his damn good acting outshining everyone.
Was the transition from TV to this big epic movie an easy one?
Yes definitely, I think the difference was really just in the size of some of the rigs and greenscreens and things of that nature on the production side, honestly it was an awesome experience our AD Kevin I had worked with on season 2 of Westworld too, and on Mulan he trained us in Chinese military combat, so a lot of fun new experiences on Mulan as well.
With both remakes being a carbon copy of the original while others going a step forward – on what category would you say this remake falls on?
I think Mulan will elevate the way we look at live action remakes and how you can put new characters into a story as well as being more depth to old characters, i don’t think you can put Mulan in either one category and I might be biased but I think this is going to be Disney’s best live action film yet and I hope the audience agrees.
What was it like to be on this complete Asian starred film?
A dream come true, I can’t think of a more iconic Asian project to work on with a more iconic studio than Disney! I grew up as an Asian kid going to Disney world on vacation in between all the times I was just sitting at home watching Disney movies! To be able to turn on the TV now and see so many more Asian actors on screen makes my heart so happy, knowing that the younger generation will grow up seeing more people that look like themselves on tv and film, it’s so important now for people to realize no matter what your background or culture is we can all find similarities through storytelling and cinema.
What can you tell us about Red Fire Rouran?
I can’t say much honestly, but I will say this, he has a badass sword, and he swings it well! It’s always a fun time getting to play the bad guys.
What was the most challenging aspect of shooting this movie?
Just keeping up with your body after hours of fight training and doing battle scenes, I used epsom salt baths to get rid of soreness almost every night after we wrapped, definitely made me realize you can always be in better shape so hit the gym!
What else is happening next in Adrian Dev’s world?
I have a 6 year old son so the joy of parenting, and just working more on my craft in between filming and auditions, I train at berg studios amongst a few other schools as well, for those unfamiliar Berg is the private coach for Riz Ahmed and Lupita Nyongo as well as some other great actor friends of mine, honestly I live and breathe making movies so if I’m not on set or trying to get on set I’m probably trying to learn a skill that I can use on set and better myself as a human and an actor.
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