Remember that interview he did with us in 2009? Probably not…Anyhow, here’s what he told us way back then after Avatar: The Last Airbender concluded.
How was your overall experience as being a fighting instructor and consultant for the creators, Mike & Bryan?
Many fans do not realize that we spent almost seven years in the creation and production of the show or that the tireless coordinated works of hundreds of people brought each episode to life. During the course of our efforts I got the chance to learn so many new things, face new challenges and meet some extraordinary individuals. Working with Mike and Bryan was awesome as they are two visionaries who had the talent and courage to create a show that is powerfully unique. Overall this experience for me has been one of the high points in my life and it is safe to say in my humble opinion our work has made this world a better place by exposing people of all ages to concepts of virtue, balance and harmony.
Mike & Bryan dedicated the character Piandao to you. In what ways can you relate to that character?
The character was modeled on my features but Pian Dao in character is nothing like me. It was fun to see an animated version of myself mugging for the camera with some of my quirky expressions. Our Martial Art skills are very similar but I will have to admit I am much better than him LOL
If you had to choose,who’s your favorite character in Avatar: The Last Airbender and why?
Iroh because he taught me patience subtlety and cunning.
The ending of Avatar was like the huge moment of everything! Where everything went down. You must of played a big part in that?
I thought the writers did and amazing job with the four part mini movie. My part was as with every preceding episode to simply help bring movement essences that lent a sense of process and substance to the bendings and martial elements for the animators to reference.
How was that experience, and did you find yourself on the edge of your seat when Zuko asked Ozai, “Where is my mother?”
I had a lot of fun but honestly it was a lot of painstaking, tedious hard work over long hours. I love Gung Fu it’s practice and intent as much as I love the fantasy world we created. There were times that I “had to” produce and perform in the face of injuries, family emergencies and overwhelming personal problems when I wasn’t motivated to put forth the effort. Seven years is a long time but in the end we got it done and done well.
As far as story elements such as Zuko’s mom no it was not much of a surprise because I would read the script so many times before completing each episode. We got the chance to see the last four together in a gigantic theater at Paramount Studios where I screamed, hooted and cried like it was all wonderfully new and unexpected.
I think all us fans want to know what really happened.
Originally it was pitched that the resolution to the question of her fate would be included in the finally but Mike decided to leave that to the imagination of our audience.
We’ve heard you recently went to San Diego Comic Con. How was the whole event and what were the fans like? We’re guessing a lot like us.
Haha. Yes I did. I went there not knowing what to expect since I’d never been to a Con before. I stumbled across the Avatar Cosplay meet up and had an amazingly memorable experience. The costumes were so authentic and the players were so full of enthusiasm that I got swept up in it all and ended up hanging out talking, teaching and just feeling love from everyone there. I guess some of the funniest moments were when I would go up and ask to take a picture with someone and they’d suddenly ask “hey aren’t you?!?” I’d just giggle and say “yea and who are you.”
Have you heard of live-action movie adaption of the show,The Last Airbender directed by M.Night Shyamalan?
I’ve seen it and it looks interesting and I wish them great success. If or after you’ve seen the trailer,what are your thoughts on the movie so far? I’m excited and hopefully we will not be disappointed since all of us fans are waiting in great anticipation.
Have you heard of the Racebending.com Protest? They are very upset with the casting choices for The Last Airbender movie. What are your opinions on the cast for The Last Airbender movie?
I really haven’t paid attention to whom they chose. I do not follow actors or their works so it holds very little interest for me. Hollywood still needs to grow up where the issues of racial stereotypes are concerned so hopefully the controversy surrounding this may help focus the right attention on the problem and incite change.
The Avatar: The Last Airbender show is finished now, so what do you think will be your next step in your career?
I’ve been asked to participate in some projects that you might be familiar with but we’ll see what happens.