“You can say representation matters, but what quality are those opportunities?”
Alain Uy has kept busy during quarantine with an endless schedule of virtual meetings. In addition to simultaneously doing press for Tran Quoc Bao’s Paper Tigers and Marvel’s entry series for their Adventure Into Fear franchise with Hulu, Helstrom; Alain is the Founder and creative force behind Los Angeles based production company, Them Too. Quick to adjust to technical difficulties, Alain seems to have evaluated every room in his house for the best wifi connection.
Alain’s passion for performing started with dancing, but a nearly fatal car accident redirected his passion for acting. “I couldn’t walk for six months. There is always a silver lining in any experience. What came out of that accident was a thirst for another way to exercise my creative juices.” After watching Liam Neeson as Oscar Wilde in the play The Judas Kiss in London, Alain started taking acting classes. “When I came back to America, I told my parents I was going to be an actor.”
In Paper Tigers Alain plays Danny, your everyday guy struggling to balance his career and raise his son while solving a murder mystery with his two best friends, Hing and Jim. In his nearly 20 year career as an actor, Danny was “the first specifically Asian character I played that was well-rounded. This story presented something beyond just being Asian. You can say representation matters, but what quality are those opportunities? Do the roles affect the story in a meaningful way?”
Tran Quoc Bao’s feature debut gives an in-depth perspective on the lives of multiple Asian American male characters and their struggles with, “regret and understanding that you can’t run away from your past. It’s about passions that you had and held so dearly when you were younger and asks if you still feel the same about them when you grow older.”
Paper Tigers not only gives audiences a window into the Asian American experience, but the production immersed Mykel Shannon Jenkins (Jim) into Asian American culture for the first time. “The one thing I will cherish the most from filming is the relationship I built with Mykel. We exchanged stories that opened up each other’s eyes. He grew up in Texas and admitted to us that he had never had any Asian food and would never venture out. We went out together and he ate sushi, Korean and Filipino food for the first time. What I will always take away until the end of time are the bridges you build by sharing stories.”
In Helstrom, Alain plays Chris Yen- Ana Helstrom’s closest friend and business partner who partakes in vigilante justice. Helstrom is Marvel’s entry series into their next potential billion-dollar franchise, focusing on the horror genre. Alain was able to, “cross Marvel off” his checklist of projects he’d always wanted to be a part of and work with actors he’s admired for years. “I’m a big fan of my cast. I watched all their work. I will never forget the moment I got the call I was cast. I was filming Paper Tigers when it happened.” Alain looks forward to another season of Helstrom. “I don’t want to give anything away. There are a lot of surprises to come. I’m hopeful and very excited about where this could go.”
Alain’s abundance of optimism has undoubtedly contributed to his success as an actor. “It’s been so hard. Struggle is not unique for any creative person. There are extra walls to break through as an Asian actor. I just keep thinking… I’ve gone this far, if I stop now I will never know what’s around the corner.”
For a list of screenings of Paper Tigers click here. Season 1 of Helstrom is available now on Hulu.
Photos provided by Persona PR