Up Close With Osric Chau
Exclusive Interview with Osric Chau (Kevin from Supernatural)
Osric and I have known each other since High School and it is amazing to watch him evolve and grow as an actor over the years. It was a pleasure connecting with him for the exclusive KENTON magazine editorial and everyone at KENTON magazine wish him all the best! Watch out for his next debut – Fun Size, the movie launching in October 2012. He is also the latest addition to the Supernatural TV series (as Kevin).
Osric Chau is born and raised in Vancouver. He has played major roles in films such as Kungfu Killer, 2012, What Women Want (China) and Fun Size. He’s had the opportunity to work with a large pool of talent from all sorts of backgrounds, from John Cusack and Roland Emmerich on 2012, to Andy Lau and Gong Li on China’s What Women Want to Victoria Justice, Johnny Knoxville and Josh Schwartz (Creator of the OC) on Fun Size . Osric currently bounces between Beijing, Vancouver and LA.
KENTON magazine: When did you begin acting? How did you get started?
Osric Chau: It started with my mom I guess. She put me in acting classes when I was eight. My dad started this company translating English and Chinese text and he had an actor client ask him to do a translation but the show never happened so she offered acting classes instead. There was an audition for kids and there weren’t very many eight-year-old asian actors out there so naturally she asked my mom to bring me. I ended up as a runner up. I remember it as a play date. After the audition, my teacher introduced me to her agent, Andrew Ooi, and he’s been representing me ever since.
All throughout elementary and high school though, I was a terrible actor. Looking back I can’t stress just how terrible I was. And I can’t thank my agents enough for putting up with me all those years and not dropping me. Acting was not a focus for me and it took a long time for me to even understand the concept of acting and I’ll admit I’m still figuring it out. It wasn’t until high school when my girlfriend at the time, who was an amazing actor, had me audition for the school plays and we ended up playing the leads in the “Crucible”. That was when I got my first real taste of what it was to be a performer. What I attribute the most in my development as an actor though was being President of Student Council in High School, once I got comfortable with public speaking, everything else didn’t seem so scary.
At that time I was still pushing to be a stunt guy but I looked young. All the opportunities I saw were for big rough asian guys but I still looked like a kid. I trained in Wushu (Chinese performance martial art) for 10 years and it was something that I was extremely passionate about. When I was training in Beijing, I had some friends who had their own stunt team and I asked them for some help on a 30 second demo that my agents requested of me. And I think I exceeded their expectations. I think everyone expects all asian actors to have Kung Fu on their resume, but for me I took it to another level. Martial arts was what I identified myself with for a very long time. My agents sent that tape everywhere and I got a role starring alongside David Carradine (Kung Fu Killer) for Spike TV. After that, I kept picking up bigger and better roles and everything just snowballed. Everything changed after that — although I still enjoy doing my own stunts, my passion turned to acting once I started to learn of its intricacies.
I’ll be thankful that acting was never something I could quit. I quit a lot of different things in my life, music, cadets, sports, but the only exit for acting was my agents dropping me but they stuck with me. One thing that agents look for is someone that is helping himself or herself, constantly improving. I didn’t ever show them that or make them any money for years so I can’t thank them enough for their time and patience for me to get my stuff together. I used to wait on them to give me something to do, but It was always up to me, I know that now.
KENTON: Thank you for sharing that. You mentioned that you started a lot of different activities and quit. What makes you think you won’t get sick of acting? What is your favorite part about acting and why?
Osric: Acting evolves with you and the challenges change with you as well. I never know what to really expect and sometimes I’m prepared for the wrong things. It’s a constant surprise. It’s an art and a business that I’m still trying to figure out and a process I enjoy very much. I wasn’t the best student, and about the only part of school I liked was working with people on projects. That’s what it feels like when I’m working on a film. Acting is only one aspect of many in filmmaking, it’s the collaboration of experts in so many different fields and that is what keeps things interesting. I would consider filmmaking my biggest hobby
KENTON: What is your most memorable scene? Do you have one that sticks out in your mind from previous films?
Osric: It was from Kung Fu Killer – well, there are two actually. In Kung Fu Killer, I was still really green and because I was able to do my own stunts and stuff so they set this one shot up where I was to run through this field fighting 5 guys and leading to a longer fight with a sixth. The last fight happened in a mud pitt because it started to rain before we started, I lost both my contacts, I was bleeding in several places from the sand and then I finally found my girl and… it was one of those moments where I first felt like I was actually in character. I remember being in the mud and feeling the realness of everything that was happening in the scene. I will probably never forget that one. I can’t even talk about the other one yet since the movie hasn’t come out so let’s just stick to this one – when Fun Size comes out, we can talk about it. There are some really fun scenes in that one!
KENTON: Haha. I’ll have to ask you more about it when it comes out. I can’t wait to see it! What skills would you like to develop in the next few years?
Osric: Um… skills to develop. There are so many! At the moment, I’m writing a lot. I’d really like to finish a script and as I learn more about the production side, I’d like to eventually produce. I want to be the one that can take all the pieces (people and resources) and put them together and be able to run a show, creative side and logistical side. I want to do it all. I also want to go back into music in terms of learning an instrument, whether its guitar, piano and get it back. I have very faint memories of playing and I can still read music a bit but I’d like to be able to play it.
KENTON: If you had to pick and had the choice, who would you really like to work with?
Osric: Uh David Fincher – Director of Fight Club, Social Network, etc. and Morgan Freeman because I’m a fan of Morgan Freeman. Tom Hanks just because, if I had any idol, it would be Tom Hanks. I like where he is. He seems like the type of guy that people would recognize but people won’t swarm him and just a cool dude in general.
KENTON: What about movie or film? What movie/film would you really want to work on?
Osric: I don’t know. I like not knowing. I get a script from my agent, I take a read. Is the story a good story? I look at my character, what kind of arc does he have? Can I imagine myself playing it? Is he a monk? No, I’m joking although I’m okay with not playing another monk. I’ve been told that I have a very monk like head. I don’t know what that means. Anyone would if they shaved it. I like to play characters I haven’t played before. It’s about trying new things and broadening your range and skillset.
KENTON: Where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years?
Osric: I want to have started producing and I want to be in development of a script that I will direct myself in 5-10 years. I still want to be acting but I’d like to really explore the other side of the camera. I think it will be a good experience to create work for people as well.
KENTON: What is the one thing you cannot live without?
Osric: I think it is my work. I’m a very low maintenance guy because I’m constantly travelling. I mean I could say my laptop or phone but honestly that’s only because of my work. And even then I could go to an internet cafe and check my emails if I had to. I don’t really need much. A creative outlet would define it.
KENTON: Who should KENTON magazine interview next?
Osric: Archie Kao because he’s awesome. Same manager and my best friend in LA.