PEOPLE

JUL 17, 2009

Member Interview - Byron Mann

  |   By Privy Editor

Occupation: Entertainment

Based in: Los Angeles

Last Education: USC Law School

Starting with the iconic role of "Ryu" in Universal's Street Fighter, Byron Mann has forged an eclectic acting career that has included starring roles alongside Richard Gere in Red Corner; Chow Yun-Fat and Mark Wahlberg in The Corruptor; Jessica Alba in Dark Angel; and Eric Tsang Chi-Wai in the award-winning miniseries Dragon Boys, among many other feature and television projects. He has just completed starring in the action-thriller On the Run for Paramount Pictures, slated for release in 2010. Byron takes a minute to talk to the Privy community about acting and his love for Bangkok and his hometown Hong Kong.

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1.   How did you get into acting?
 

To be honest, I kind of ran out of things to do. When I finished college, I went to law school but soon realized that that wasn't for me. I realized that in real life, 99% of the time lawyers don't give dramatic courtroom speeches like they do on TV! So I had to think fast what I was going to do when I finished law school. Since I was in Los Angeles, it wasn't hard to get into acting. I got myself an agent and just went for it. When I booked my first gig, which was a Citibank commercial, I thought I'd won the lottery.

 

2.   What do you like and dislike about it?
 

The work itself is the most rewarding part of it. At its core, it's really an exploration of what it is to be alive, what is it is to be human. As an actor, you're really part of the process of telling a story. We are always entertained and inspired by an interesting, well-told story. To be a part of that process is very exciting for me.

The downside is that it's a rather volatile line of work. It's definitely not for the faint-hearted. It's up and down, back and forth, and lots of waiting. Even when you're filming on the set, you're still waiting - for the lights to be set up, for your turn to film, etc. This is a profession where it's easy to start but difficult to maintain longevity. Those who can do it are mostly very driven people.

 

3.   We hear that you travel a lot between Vancouver and Los Angeles. Is the Asian American community in Vancouver comparable to that of Los Angeles?
 

One in three people in Vancouver are Asian. That's right, one in three. If you grow up in Vancouver, chances are that no matter where you go for high school, Asians are the distinct majority. Sometimes up to 98% of a high school in metro Vancouver is Asian. It's the reverse of most U.S. cities or suburbs, where to be cool, Asians often have to blend in with the white majority. In Vancouver, white kids tend to blend in with Asians to be seen as cool. Interesting phenomenon.