The Jurassic World star on facing ethnic stereotypes and chasing action roles
While actor Brian Tee has made it clear that his dream role is Marvel’s newly-acquired character, Namor, we have the martial arts expert in the spotlight as his blockbuster, Jurassic World, premieres on Indian TV. Talking to us in the midst of his shoot schedule for the NBC show, Chicago Med, the new father (of a 13-month-old baby) tells us that when he is not shooting, he is with his family because, “being a dad is the best thing that’s happened to me”.
An avowed comic fan, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TNMT): Out of the Shadows actor shares that, “As a kid, I was a huge fan of the X-Men and the Jurassic Park series. When I got to be a part of these franchises over the last few years, I felt like my whole life has somehow been about all my childhood dreams coming true.” With a penchant for negative characters—think Norubi Mori, Mariko’s corrupt fiancé in The Wolverine, and Shredder, the antagonist in TNMT—the 39-year-old calls himself a ‘spontaneous actor’ and says, “I love playing the bad guy. There’s so much to it.” Tee essays the role of Hamada, the leader of the security outfit on Isla Nubla in Jurassic World, and agrees that action-drama is his favourite genre. “I was a jock growing up and I loved sports. I had a huge imagination. When you put those two together, it’s incredible and that’s what I’ve tried to do in the films I pick.”
With a Japanese-Korean heritage and 16 years in the industry, Tee is no stranger to typecasting. “Despite my Asian roots, I’ve grown up in America, so the initial struggle was always to tell people that I am American,” says the Chicago-based actor. Conceding that things have changed, he adds, “I am doing Chicago Med now and I am just a doctor. Not Asian or anything else.”
The actor, who has worked with Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan in Jurassic World, laments the fact that he has not watched an Indian film. “I feel like I am missing out on a whole new side of filmmaking that’s making waves around the world,” he rues. Tee points out that Khan’s Hollywood presence (he will be seen in Inferno next) is proof enough of changing perspectives. “You also have Priyanka Chopra, a young lady who’s doing such a good job on Quantico. The industry is starting to be welcoming to talent from other quarters and that’s a great change,” he concludes.
Jurassic World premieres on Sony Pix on October 16
at 1 pm and 9 pm.