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!
It’s April 28th! Which means it’s the Birthday of our incredible, Harry Shum Jr.
In celebration of his Birthday today, we asked some fans on Social-Media awhile ago to send us their wishes for him.
We got a huge response and it was overwhelming!
We want to say a big, THANK YOU to all the fans who took part in this and made sure their love and appreciation for Harry is shown in the video.
Make sure to use the hashtags #HappyBirthdayHarryShumJr. & #Happy BirthdayHarry in your post.
Be on Twitter at 5:00 PM EST to help us all trend #HappyBirthdayHarryShumJr. together!
— Harry Shum Jr. Net (@HarryShumJrNet) April 28, 2017
Fan posts on social-media:
— Bane&Lewis (@baneandlewis) April 28, 2017
— Tracey Lamtoro (@traceymlc18) April 28, 2017
— Tracey Lamtoro (@traceymlc18) April 28, 2017
— cyra ; read pinned🌈 (@magnvsficent) April 27, 2017
Prepare for a full month of appreciation and celebration of our wonderful, Harry Shum Jr. using the hashtag
Throughout April, we will post our favorite thing about Harry according to the schedule below:
- April 1- Favorite Photo
- April 2- Favorite Interview
- April 3- Favorite Dance Video
- April 4- Favorite Character
- April 5- Favorite Quote
- April 6- Favorite Outfit
- April 7- Favorite Magnus Look
- April 8- Favorite Ship (from his projects)
- April 9- Favorite BroShip (from his projects)
- April 10- Favorite Selfie
- April 11- Favorite ShumBara Photo
- April 12- Favorite Gif
- April 13- Favorite BroShip (In real life)
- April 14- Favorite Photo from Event
- April 15- Favorite IG post
- April 16- Favorite Photoshoot
- April 17- Favorite Physical trait
- April 18- Favorite Personality trait
- April 19- Favorite Scene
- April 20- Favorite Tweets
- April 21- Favorite Movie Project
- April 22- Favorite TV Project
- April 23- Favorite Hairstyle
- April 24- Why You Love Harry?
- April 25- Favorite Photo with Charlie
- April 26- Favorite WongFu Short
- April 27- Favorite Glee Performance
- April 28- HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HARRY! (Video info below)
- April 29- Funniest Moment
- April 30- How did Harry Influence You?
On April 28- Harry’s Birthday, we’re going to post a video celebrating the journey Harry has been through in his career until that day, combined with these beautiful moments & memories, we’re going to add Birthday wishes from his fans- YOU!
Send us some nice wishes, a photo or a video or you wishing him a happy birthday, fanarts, and anything else you’d like him to see in this video, add your name, usernames on social media and where you’re from in the world!
DEADLINE- APRIL 22
Twitter (DM)- @harryshumjrnet
Instagram (DM)- @harryshumjrnet
Facebook (DM)- @harryshumjrnet
Photographs by Miko Lim Styled by Juliet Vu Creative director Melvin Chan Words by Zech Pharamond
Harry Shum Jr. straddles a unique divide in his Chinese Parentage-Costa Rican heritage. Plus he’s a bonafide actor who has danced for some of the biggest names in music. Here’s a quick peek into his life these days.
Glee was a phenomenal pop-oddity. By accepting that we’re all square pegs of one sort or another, bumping into round holes until we find the perfect nook, the socially-inclusive TV show won fans of every colour and creed. In a sense, being true to yourself is one of the oldest marketing pitches you can run into.
But when presented with such musical magnificence, punctuated with familliar scenarios of awkward teenhood and self discovery -something most adults still experience- the world could instantly relate. In the middle of those whirlwind seasons, when even my sullen-stoic-father would share a couple of episodes with me, was the wonderful Harry Shum Jr. Standing head and shoulders over most of the cast as the other Asian opposite Jenna Ushkowitz, Shum’s Mike Chang went from cameo king to main cast celebrity by the third season, creating his own bit of history by performing the show’s first solo dance routine in the process.
And the rest, as they resign contentedly, is history.
Born to parents who emigrated from Hong Kong’s urban sprawl to sweaty-groovy-Costa Rica and finally San Francisco when Shum turned five, it’s a little wonder he used to speak Spanish ass a first language, then English and Cntonese. Genial, gracious and engaged, he explained how his uncommon upbringing taught him to see people as they were, minus the racial cataloging.
“Before I came to the United States, I had no idea that there were differences in skin colour and race. I just saw everyone as people. But as I got older, I would hear that I was supposed to be this particular way or follow this stereotype, and things got a little cloudy and confusing. But I think because of the way I started out, my foundation is so multi-cultural, it reminds me to stay open– that you don’t have to fit in or be a type.”
What a way to set the stage for his breakthrough TV show. But he hadn’t always been the typical struggling actor. What started as a teenage dare to join the high-school dance team, turned into a lifelong passion, that last saw him lead-dancing on world tours for J-Lo, Beyoncé, Mariah Carey and Jessica Simpson. He’s also an accomplished choreographer with appearances on Stomp The Yard, You Got Served and the Step Up Series. Serious credentials then, but not mutually exclusive from his acting chops.
“I’m an actor and a dancer. I was an actor before I started dancing but that doesn’t mean I’m one less than the other. I have always viewed dancing as a form of acting, because when a dancer is dancing he should be telling a story through movement. There should be an emotion behind each motion, whether it’s light and happy or heavy and sad. I love all forms of art, so I wouldn’t limit myself to only one title.”
A lucid perspective which has won him another central role on Shadowhunters, a series based on Cassandra Clare’s popular novel The Mortal Instruments plus, a big screen part in gangster epic Revenge Of The Green Dragons, and a lead role in kung fu masterpiece, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2: Sword of Destiny. He describes his first martial arts picture as being emotionally, physically, and mentally demanding. While every role should justly push the envelope, Shum thought the highly-anticipated sequel was the most stringent streching he’s ever endured. But fans of the original balletic action film can rest assured he’s done his homework, and was geared towards honouring the original from day one.
“The first one was incredible. I remember showing my friends because I was so proud that there was this film that had strong characters, great story and the martial arts was out of this world. Yuen Woo-Ping’s a legend in this martial arts world. A lot of people think you’re just making a sequel to make a sequel, but the first film follows a five book series
Here, Shum answeres a couple of quick questions for August Man Malaysia.
What about your career do you love most?
That my parents are proud of me. Everyday, I’m fascinated with how I even got here. Daily, I slap myself three times. First time, is to make sure I’m awake and not dreaming. Second time, is to tell myself to never be a jerk no matter what. And third, is for my younger self that I ever even doubted myself.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in showbiz?
(Silent) I’m not really sure to tell you the truth. (Beat) Man, I hope this whole showbiz thing works out… [Now, I’m paranoid]
Tell us about you GLEE experience i.e share some of the most important things you learned about acting and yourself from working on the series.
I learned to be okay with being scared. The dancing was something I was used to but the spotlight, singing and acting was terrifying to me. I realised that I sometimes work better when I’m terrified because it makes me feel alive. Ryan Murphy does a great job of making you believe you can do anything and I had no room to fall. In a way, it was a boot camp with long hours, vocal-training, dance rehearsals, and going on tours. Everything seems a lot easier having gone through that.
What did you expect from Shadowhunters before signing up and how has that changed?
I didn’t expect to have as much fun as I did. I was excited to play Magnus and work with a new cast but I didn’t have much time to soak it in after I was cast as I was on a plane the next day to start filming. I do have a lot more appreciation for people who wear make-up, paint their nails and the whole get up. I’ve gotten down to 12 minutes with my clean up, I’m pretty proud of that. Magnus, I love that guy.
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TVInsider– Harry Shum Jr. first showed us his moves on Glee, then went on to play sexy eternal soul Magnus Bane on Freeform’s Shadowhunters. Now we’re seeing a more grounded side of the performer in the new YouTube Red series Single By 30. Shum plays Peter, an ordinary guy who has made a pact with his gal pal Joanna (Kina Grannis) to help each other find that special someone.
This is a romantic comedy so things get complicated early on when we find out (perhaps before they do) that the besties also have feelings for each other. How long will it take for them to take that leap beyond friendship?
Single by 30 is full of charm and Shum shows us a gentler side in this role (and, yes, we do get to see some of his fabulous dance moves) but the series lives on the easy chemistry he has with Grannis. Shum filled us in on how it all came together.
What were the origins of the show?
Basically how YouTube really functions is you collaborate with other creators. With this one I reached out to them because I really liked one of the videos that they worked on and put out on their YouTube channel. We got to talking and we got to do little, fun shorts that we created together, and then they had this idea to do this project that was a pilot for New Form and YouTube. They wanted me and Kina lead up the projects and then we shot this 20-minute pilot that did really well, and they decided they wanted to do a full eight-episode, half-hour show. It was really great to be part of something so organic as opposed to, “Here’s a project [where] we thought about you.” I got to be a part of the whole process, which is really an awesome experience.
Since you were involved in the process what was your objective with Peter given characters you’ve played in the past?
It really resonated with me because I was always that nice guy. When I was younger, specifically with women, I never really took a chance and really said what I felt and I think most people in general, when they like someone or they have feelings for someone, they have a hard time expressing them in a certain way. Sometimes when those moments kind of pass you by you bang your head on the wall.
For Peter I think it is that way. He has this idea, this mindset of getting married by the time he’s 30 because his parents are pressuring him and society has that idea of when you hit a certain number you’re supposed to have all of these things. So he is in a way trying to achieve those goals that aren’t really his own. I think we’ve all dealt with that where we always want to try to please everyone else and we lose sight of pleasing ourselves at the end of the day.
It’s always weird when you have two best friends that are attracted to each other, but you also have these walls of one person doesn’t want to get rejected so they never want to bring it up … It’s that fear. But you also have to look at that 12 year gap, 12 years of not knowing what this person has learned, gone through or those things that can’t be summed up in a day or catching up over coffee. So I think there’s those fears that kind of come in the 12 years of whether it be burned by a past relationship and not knowing if that was maybe the right relationship.
I think we definitely discussed that and we don’t want to make it seem like a romantic comedy, they love each other and they’re just having a hard time expressing each other. I think that’s why the pact makes it a lot more complicated. There’s also the motivation of why the pact was two very different things for each of them. For Joanna it’s to do things to be a lot more free, to have this goal that allows her to do more things. For Peter it’s really that he really would be able to marry someone like Joanna and also he has that ticking clock. So there are two very different ideas, and hopefully they come to that same wavelength and we’ll see if they end up together or not.
How was playing Peter after you had spent the last year or so in Magnus Bane’s shoes. They’re so different!
It’s the spice of life. It makes me feel like I’m getting to experience so many different parts of the world without truly traveling. With someone like Magnus Bane, he’s very worldly, he’s seen everything, he’s been through almost everything, he’s felt I think every emotion possible in human existence but still has this quality about him that there’s certain things that he’s still finding new even living for centuries.
But for Peter it’s completely the opposite. He hasn’t really ventured out. He had one girlfriend for seven years but he hasn’t experienced the world, he hasn’t seen a lot of things. He hasn’t traveled like Joanna, who has been all over the world after high school. For me it was really fun to play the polar opposite. In a lot of ways I really related to Peter because there was a time in my life where I didn’t get to do a lot of that, where your mind is completely in a different place as opposed to someone who is a little more worldly and cultured.
Today (August 24) Harry Shum Jr. will be interviewd by BUILD Series and fans get the chance to sit inches away from him!
Join Harry Shum Jr. from 2:00 PM to 2:30 PM (EDT) as he discusses “Single By 30” a romantic comedy show about two high school best friends who made a promise to get married if they’re still single when they’re 30, and now they’ve run into each other 12 years later – and try to honor the pact.
Doors open 30 minutes before showtime. VALID ID REQUIRED FOR ENTRY for security purposes (No age minimum).
AOL BUILD Studio – 770 Broadway 4th Floor , New York, NY 10003, United States – View Map
For those who aren’t able to go, You’ll still be able to watch the livestream of the interview at: build.aol.com
For those interested, Wong Fu Productions will be doing a livestream chat today at 1 PM (PST) on their main Youtube channel, and will be answering your questions regarding “Single By 30”.
According to IMDb these are the Episode titles of the Youtube Red series ‘Single by 30’ Starring Harry Shum Jr. and Kina Grannis.
- Episode 1– Unpacking
- Episode 2– Dot Dot Dot
- Episode 3– Back to the Future
- Episode 4– Burn, Baby, Burn
- Episode 5– Fi-na-lly
- Episode 6– Detour
- Episode 7– Missing Out
- Episode 8– Graduation
For more info about ‘Single By 30’ click here.
Harry Shum Jr. has officially joined Shadowhunters cast and crew in Toronto, Canada this Sunday (July 17th) for season 2 filming. From now on we’ll have a lot of behind the scenes stuff from cast’s social media and we’re sure you all want to know every detail of it while we wait for the next season in 2017.
This will be your ultimate post for minor updates on Harry and Shadowhunters production in Toronto (major news will have special posts).
August 8th: First day of shooting for season 2.
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Executive Producers Philip Wang and Wesley Chan talked more about Single by 30 yesterday (June 09) during the Wong Fu Productions’ Lunch Break 50th episode on Facebook livestream. When asked about the show they told that it’s a 25-minutes show with 8 episodes. Wesley also said that the show will probably be available on Youtube Red at the end of August, but it’s not official yet.
You can watch the livestream HERE. The parts where they talk about Single by 30 and Harry are at 42:00 and 57:50. And since we’ll have to wait a little bit more for the new episodes, you can always watch the pilot HERE and check out the screencaptures.
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