Article by Tatiana Ho
Photo by Shuo chen
On October 9, actors Daniel Wu and Aramis Knight, along with Director Stephen Fung, held a conference at AMC’s Theater office. While the television show “Into the Badlands” is action packed and dramatic, it makes history by having a main Asian actor on television in forty years.
The interview began with Aramis Knight, a young and experienced actor who has been seen on productions such as The Dark Knight, Ender’s Game, and Rendition. The 16 year old half Asian actor was excited to speak on the project, answering questions in a confident and fluid manner. Knight’s demeanor showed his authentic passion for acting, proving that age does not always go hand in hand with maturity.
In Episode two we see the bad sides between The Widow and Quinn, if you had to choose between both sides who would you think would be the lesser evil?
I guess I’d say the Widow, Although she is portrayed as as the antagonist, I guess her ideas on feminism and giving everybody in her territory on what they do and some say on how she run things makes her a lesser evil. Because Quinn is sort of, more of a dictator rather than running some sort of government.
Is there anything you wish you could change or could’ve done better while filming the show?
Yeah definitely, going into ADR and running some of the lines, I wonder how I ever got casted. Some of them were horrific, maybe just to me and not to someone who is a viewer. They were horrific, and I got to change some things. I think going into the second season, I think Iw ill feel much more grounded with the character. And, you know, you can tell when someone understands a character and I think I totally understood MK. But going into the series, it wasn’t so natural. Through the first three, I would say, just because it was a completely new character. So, I think four, five and six, and hopefully season two I will be set in.
It seems like your and Daniel’s character are becoming really character close as the show progresses. How was it working with Daniel offset, and was there anything that frightened you going in, knowing that is is such a big figure?
I mean, definitely is skill of martial arts intimidated me in the beginning because I knew I needed to get somewhere in the ballpark of him. Working with Daniel, I mean, it was great because we developed such a close relationship offset. He has definitely become somewhat of a father figure to me, just like he is a father figure to MK.
Next for the interview was Daniel Wu and Stephen Fung. Stephen Fung is a very respected director filming movies such as Tai Chi 0, House of Fury, and Tai Chi Hero. Daniel Wu is also a well respected actor in asia, featured in Warcraft, New Story Police, and That Demon Within. Wi is also a producer for the series Into the Badlands.
This is one of the shows that has Asians characters as main leads and strays away from them being geeky or goofy, how do you think this affects the stereotype in America as a whole watching a show like this?
I don’t want to put too much thought into that because the main goal of the show is to change the view of Asian Male Masculinity throughout the world, but obviously if you have a cool show with a cool character it’s going to change. And there’s a sexuality to him, he has a woman, he actually kisses her. Which is like Romeo Must Die, there was a scene where Jet Lee was suppose to kiss Aaliyah and audiences were repulsed by an Asian guy kissed a Black girl and that happens in the show. I mean, times have changed, people have changed and, you know, it’s a different era from what it was even just ten years ago. So, I’m not here to change how people think, I’m just here to make a coola** show and if that changes people’s perceptions that’s a bonus.
How do you feel about working on television as opposed to movies?
You know, honestly it didn’t feel any different. because as you know, television has become more cinematic. SInce Sopranos, you know, tv has changed so much. And so it didn’t really feel that different. Plus our film and cinematographer all came from cinema. So other than the time crunch it didn’t feel that much different to me.
Your character Sunny actually goes through a few traumatic experiences as seen in the first two episodes, how did you get to that point where you could make the scenes a little more realistic for the viewer?
Well for example, Sunny has 404 tattoos on his back. Each mark represents a kill that he’s done. What they made me do was David had me do this exercise before we started was that I actually had to draw out each mark and think of ways to kill people. So, I got really dark. The metaphor is on his back, it made me realize that that is the load he’s going be carrying for the rest of his life. And of course the training for the show, I haven’t done martial arts for about six years because of torn ACL and other injuries. I had to fight twelve hours a day for four months. And I spent about six months training on my own getting into it.
Daniel Wu and Aramis Knight, who are both new to the television aspect of film both show their passion for the industry through articulate speech. The training leading up to the first season of Into the Badlands is a testament to the dedication and hard work that is put into the series. Daniel’s charismatic nature instantly drew the attention of the room as he spoke about his new series.
To check out the trailer for Into the Badlands look at, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KyHy4KRvIc. Into the Badlands premieres Sunday 9/8c on AMC. For more information, check out: http://www.amc.com/shows/into-the-badlands