I think it’s crazy that I even have fans! I’m just this shy asshole from Costa Rica who doesn’t know much about anything and now people are interested in what I have to say.
In celebration of our Fansite’s 1-year-anniversary, we’re bringing to you our EXCLUSIVE interview with the one and only (and the person this site is all about)- Harry Shum Jr.!
From the early stages of his career in the Step Up movies to hit series such as Fox‘s Glee and Freeform‘s Shadowhunters, Harry Shum Jr. stole our hearts from the first second he showed up on screen.
As the dancy High School Student Mike Chang or the Warrior Wei Fang in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny to a complete transformation turning into the magical High Warlock of Brooklyn, Magnus Bane..
We fell in love with them all, and the person behind all of these characters just made us fall deeper as he (Harry Shum Jr.) showed us his enormous care for each character he plays, his kindness and love towards his fans, the beauty in every dance move he makes and his big BIG heart.
As such big fans of him, it’s a pleasure to have gotten the chance to interview him. We asked him questions about his career that we were interested to know more about, and he gave us the perfect answers.
- We’d like to start the interview asking, how are you doing?
HSJ: I just consumed a large ca phe su da so I am WIRED.
- We know you’re currently working on the second half of season 2 of ‘Shadowhunters‘.
How has filming been? How’s it like working with the cast?
HSJ: Just wrapped the season and its a lot heavier in terms of subject matter compared to 2A. All the characters deal with some sort inner turmoil that they must confront and overcome. I think the fans will enjoy the journey. The cast is really great to work with. They all individually bring a different energy that allows the show to be unique and offer something that no other show does. It’s been fun to see the growth in not only the characters but the actors as well.
- Do you feel more connected to your character, Magnus, now that you’ve been playing him for 2 years?
And what is your favorite thing about him?
HSJ: Without getting too much into “actor talk” I have enjoyed and learned a lot over the span of two seasons getting to know Magnus. He has taught me that no matter how much you know or been alive for, you’re still a work in progress. I think in season one, we were introduced to a jaded and hardened Magnus. He was set in his ways and not much could change his mind. Season two, we find him opening his heart and mind to a once unthinkable relationship (Alec). It has given him a new perspective and insight to the world he was already so familiar with. I do love his sass which the writers have been bringing back. It’s been great to see a vulnerable side of him but his defense mechanism of making a joke out of dire situations was always fun to play.
- How do you feel about the impact that Malec have had on the LGBTQ+ community? And did you ever expect the show and the Malec storyline to become so popular?
HSJ: I think it’s incredible that the Magnus and Alec relationship has made an impact on not only the community but also outside of it. I usually root for the underdog story and to me this is one of them. The LGBTQ+ communities support has been amazing and what makes all the hard work worth it is hearing all the fan stories on how affected they are by these two characters.
- Obviously, you were on ‘Glee’ for 6 years. Do you sometimes miss Mike Chang? What are some of your favorite memories from set?
HSJ: Those 6 years were very special to me and I contribute a lot of my growth as an artist during that time. I have Mike Chang locked up in my basement so I see him occasionally on a full moon. He’s doing well, I think. My favorite memories on set were the breaks in between scenes. We would constantly try and entertain each other on a daily basis.
- You happened to also be in the opening show of the Glee tour with the LXD! Would you go back to working on the LXD series if you had the chance?
HSJ: In a heartbeat.
- Last year your film ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny’ premiered. How was it like working on a movie you’ve already been a big fan of? And how was it like working with big talents such as Donnie Yen and Michelle Yeoh?
HSJ: I grew up watching Donnie and Michelle in HK movies and it was a bit surreal working with them. Their stories and advice on Eastern filmmaking and techniques for on camera fight sequences was invaluable. Yuen Woo Ping is a legend that has shaped the way martial arts has been captured on film. Also, it was a bit intimidating working with a 70 year young man that can kick my ass with one swift kick. I had the best time learning from him. I will carry that experience with me through the rest of my career.
- Last year, you worked on ‘Single By 30’ with WongFu Productions. The show was so fun to watch and we’re sad it won’t come back for a second season. It ended on a bittersweet note, that left us all wondering what is going to happen with Peter and Joanna. Do you have any theories on how their story continues?
HSJ: I think that Peter and Joanna still had a lot of growing to do together and individually. I would call them late bloomers that needed life to kick them in the ass a little more. Is it for their own good or for our viewing pleasure? I think both.
- This series was especially great for showcasing two Asian leads in a modern romantic comedy. How do you feel about the development of the Asian Community in the industry today, and what do you think Hollywood especially needs to change when it comes to Asian representation on TV and Film?
HSJ: Stories that come from real experiences from Asian-American writers/directors/actors. If that doesn’t happen then it’ll just continue to go down the road of what one thinks it should look like from a perspective of an outsider that will never equate to true empathy and full understanding of those experiences. That’s not to say that only Asian-Americans can tell those stories but we do need to strike a balance and it’s been lopsided since the birth of Hollywood. It’s not only tiring to see the same stereotypes but incredibly boring. The natural progression as the world becomes more connected is the need for more authentic stories told by an authentic voice in front AND behind the camera. It’s been encouraging to see how vocal audiences around the world have been over problematic castings and having some kind of impact on casting choices in the future. I have seen a spike in representation on tv and film but it’s just the beginning of the work that needs to be done.
- You’re coming from an immigrant family, your parents are from China but you were born in Costa Rica. How does it feel to be in such a culturally diverse family?
HSJ: I thank my parents all the time for exposing me to cultures that are nothing like my reflection. I was late to being exposed to the American culture and was in a constant culture shock for a good part of my adolescence. That shock was great because it taught me to realize that there is good and bad to every culture and not to put a label on a community by an individuals actions or beliefs.
- You’ve been a dancer for years! A part from being in the popular dance movies ‘Step Up’, you were a backup dancer for Beyoncé, Maria Carey and more. Can we expect to see any more dancing from you in the future?
HSJ: I’ll be dancing in my bathroom in a few hours while brushing my teeth.
- We know you recently talked about finishing your first script! Will we hear more about this? And are you planning to write more in the future or even try to direct?
HSJ: Writing is hard like all things that you’re new to. I have many stories I want to tell and I hope that I can share with the world in the near future.
- You’ve been married for awhile now to a talented, lovely lady, Shelby. How’s it like to be a married man?
HSJ: One of the best decisions that I have ever made.
- As you know, we are big fans of you. Do you have any celebrity that you look up to and that has influenced you in some kind of way?
HSJ: I have several for different reasons. JGL for his ability to jump into any medium and perform at a high caliber without compromising who he is. Matt Damon for his sustainability in this very weird weird business. The Rock for being a larger than life movie star with a heart of gold.
- Do you have any crazy fan story you can tell us?
HSJ: I think it’s crazy that I even have fans! I’m just this shy asshole from Costa Rica who doesn’t know much about anything and now people are interested in what I have to say. I’m very thankful to all the fans all around the world for accepting me into their lives. Here’s to more crazy adventures!
Thank you for reading and we hope you liked the interview! Share your thoughts with us in the comments or on our social media accounts!
Congratulations to Harry Shum Jr., Wong Fu Productions, New Form Digital, and all the cast and crew members of ‘Single By 30‘ for having the series recognized as a honoree in this year’s The Webby Awards for Drama: Long Form or Series.
— New Form (@NewFormDigital) April 4, 2017
We’ve been watching ‘Single By 30′ every Wednesday since the two first episodes were available to watch on Wong Fu Productions’ YouTube channel, while the first episode was free, the second episode and on were part of YouTube Red Originals and were available for purchase.
While watching the show, we couldn’t help but falling in love with the story, the characters, the writing, the music and the production overall. And as it’s Wong Fu Productions’ biggest project that they’ve ever worked on- all that while being in the YouTube industy for over 10 years, we can say they have done an incredible job with the series and took great care of it.
Now that the first season of the series has ended, it’s all in YouTube’s hands. So, will there be a second season or not?
So here are reasons, why we LOVED ‘Single By 30’ and why there should be a second season:
“For Single by 30, it was important for us to cast a diverse group of actors to reflect the culture of Los Angeles, where the story is set […]”
-Wesley Chan, Wong Fu Productions [x]
The cast of ‘Single by 30’ is diverse. Yes, that’s already all I need to know about a show to make me want to watch it.
It’s not so often that you see Asians in the lead, so getting a few billboards around LA was a pretty big deal. It matters. Representation matters.
“To have two Asian American Romantic leads front center on a billboard in LA, that’s really awesome and it just says so much about how a lot of things are changing these days and we’re glad that we can put it out there.”
-Phil Wang, Wong Fu Productions [x]
Since Harry Shum Jr‘s show Single By 30 first season is completed, now it’s time for some behind the scenes videos. Wong Fu Productions posted today (October 8th) on their official Youtube channel the bloopers. Watch now:
In case you haven’t watched the episodes yet or want to binge watch it again with your friends, click here.
Episode 8 of ‘Single by 30‘ is out on Youtube Red. You can purchase and watch it right now. If you haven’t watched the past 7 episodes click here. This is the season finale of the show and it’s still unknown if Youtube will pick up Single by 30 for a second season.
Single At 30 | Single by 30 | Ep 8
Joanna’s 30th birthday is fast approaching. Mark tries to infuse some drama back into the relationship with Chloe while Peter looks to make a major life change.
Share your thoughts about the season finale with us on the comments below or Twitter. We’d love to hear your opinion on the show now we’ve watched the entire season.
Episode 7 of ‘Single by 30‘ is out on Youtube Red. You can purchase and watch it right now. If you haven’t watched the first 6 episodes click here. Last episode next Wednesday.
Moving In and Moving On | Single by 30 | Ep 7
Peter and Joanna pause when it comes time to define their relationship. Mark and Chloe move in together and immediately wonder if they made a huge mistake.
Episode 6 of ‘Single by 30‘ is out on Youtube Red. You can purchase and watch it right now. If you haven’t watched the first 5 episodes click here. New episodes every Wednesdays.
First, First Date | Single by 30 | Ep 6
To combat her cold feet, Joanna and Peter go on a “first date.” Mark has to meet Lisa, who has never approved of any of Chloe’s boyfriends.
Harry Shum Jr. joined Single By 30 producer Philip Wang this Wednesday (September 14) in Toronto at Nespresso Festival Central Lounge to talk about the show LIVE with ET Canada. If you missed the livestream on Facebook, you can watch it and see some HQ photos below:
Home > Events > 2016 > ET Canada’s Nespresso Festival Central Lounge
Episode 5 of ‘Single by 30‘ is out on Youtube Red. You can purchase and watch it right now. If you haven’t watched the first 4 episodes click here. New episodes every Wednesdays.
All My Life | Single by 30 | Ep 5
At her ex’s wedding, Joanna has an epiphany about Peter, while he takes full advantage of his status as “the single guy at a wedding.”
kore.com- An age-old pact between young friends on the cusp of adulthood – of the “If we’re both single by the time we turn 30, let’s get married to each other” variety – turns all too real for two millennials in “Single By 30,” an eight-episode rom-com by Wong Fu Productions.
Harry Shum Jr. plays Peter, the leading man, as he navigates the Los Angeles dating scene and as he rekindles his friendship with Kina Grannis’ Joanna, who as the series begins is back in town and in the midst of her own quarter-life crisis. The pair lead a cast of YouTube stars that includes Eric Ochoa and Anna Akana, fitting choices given the show’s home on YouTube Red, and its status as one of the video giant’s first experiments in original content creation on par with Netflix, Amazon or Hulu.
“It’s been great to hear how people are really relating to this story, or even talking about how they’ve also made pacts themselves in high school and are reliving it through the series,” Shum, who is currently filming for another series, “Shadowhunters,” in Toronto, said. As it turns out, the actor sees a lot of himself in Peter, in both background and in life perspective.
“[Like Peter] I also had that idea of, you have to be married at a certain age and the pressures of finding a girlfriend and thinking about when you’re going to have babies for your parents,” Shum said. “What I really relate to Peter is, he has this idea that he needs to get over, of what his life should be as opposed to what his life could be. That was a revelation for me when I realized that I live for myself in my own life.”
It didn’t take much to sell Shum on the the series – he’s been a close collaborator of Wong Fu’s Phil Wang and Wesley Chan for years, having starred in a handful of the duo’s shorts. What he’s appreciated about them over the years, he said, is the role they play in giving a voice to Asians in the industry.
Some of that has to do with Asian talents taking it upon themselves to begin a dialogue with showrunners and writers about diversity, Shum said, while some has to do with Asians creating their own platforms instead of lamenting the lack of one, in particular with the availability and growing influence of online vehicles like YouTube.