Michelle Ang plays the lead character “Emily” in the film My Wedding and Other Secrets. We asked her about the film, her acting career and upcoming projects.
My Wedding and Other Secrets will be screened on March 11th @ 1:45PM, March 15th @ 8:45PM, and March 17th @ 2:00PM at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit their website at SFIAAFF
1. After success working in both the New Zealand and Australian film industries, why did you decide to relocate your acting career to New York City?
I really wanted to challenge myself. I was fortunate enough to be one of the more high profile Asian actresses in that part of the world, but I wanted to strive for more competitive industries, where perhaps, there were more interesting parts.
2. You were in Martin Lawrence’s latest “Big Momma’s” film “Like Father, Like Son.” Was this your first Hollywood film that you have actually worked on in the USA? What was your role in the film?
It was the second actually. The first was “The Beaver” which was directed by Jodie Foster. I had a small part only, but being directed by Jodie was such an unreal experience. THAT’S when it really hit home that I was working in the film industry in the USA!
“Big Momma’s” was the first large studio film I was involved in. We shot it in Atlanta Georgia, my first time in the South. I played a fun character called “Mia” who is hyper emotional drama school student with low self esteem. Big Momma shows her how to own her confidence, and teaches her to be a sassy, together lady.
3. “My Wedding and Other Secrets” which is doing the film festival circuit now, is one of those rare opportunities for an Asian actress to have a lead role in an English language film. How did you become involved in the project and what can you tell us about the film? Will you be at the screening in NYC for the Asian American International Film Festival!?
I had the pleasure of already knowing Roseanne Liang (the director, and also the character whom Emily is based off) from another short film project. I had also seen her documentary about the same topic. Living in New York at the time, I had to self tape my audition, which required me to rearrange a friend’s tiny living room to accommodate lights and tripods etc. It paid off though, as I booked the part! I flew back to NZ for rehearsals and we filmed over the New Zealand summer. It was one of the most challenging projects I have ever undertaken. The fact that I was playing a character based off the director’s real life experiences was daunting. I wanted to be as truthful and realistic as possible. Additionally, it was also an incredible resource for me to have Roseanne there. I’d find myself studying her mannerisms, her stance, her quirks. I felt like I got to understand her a bit and she was so generous as a director, letting me ask her really personal questions about her life and experiences. It also was confronting for me as a first generation Chinese New Zealander too. I looked into my own life experiences and learned to appreciate them for what they are.
I’m super excited about the screening in New York! I don’t think any of my NYC friends have seen my work, so I’m trying to round them up to come and share in this project that I am so proud to be a part of.
4. You were in the short film “The Potential Wives of NORMAN MAO” which has been getting lots of attention having been screened at the L.A. Asian Pacific Film Festival and it will be screening next week at HollyShorts Film Festival. Do you think short films are having more of an impact on an actors career then they used to? What can you tell us about the film?
I am not sure how much of an impact short films have on an actor’s career, but they are a different art form whose ideas are often punchy and intense and you can commit yourself to a project that only takes a few days to film. This film was a quirky little take on the tough times of a hopeless son who disappoints his parents because he is not an eligible bachelor. A marriage consultant is enlisted to help. She finds 3 unlikely matches. There was no script for this film, we just got to improv and create our own hyper real caricatures of who these women were. I had such a bad flu on the day I was filming though— I’d eaten a ton of cold pills to just stay alert!
5. You just finished filming the TV movie “Underemployed.” What is the film about and is there a release date? What other projects are in the works for you?
“Underemployed” is an MTV Pilot. They are in the process of testing it on audiences, and hopefully it will get picked up to Series. Fingers crossed! It’s about 5 best friends in Chicago who have all graduated College and are out in achieve their dreams. My character “Sofia” is sure she is going to be a famous novelist until reality comes crashing down. It’s a funny, realistic portrayal of what it’s like to chase your dreams. The Director worked on “The Flight of the Conchords” and “Bored to Death” (two of my fav comedies) and I feel like it has a great quirky brand of humor. So until I hear about whether we go to series, I haven’t been able to commit to any other projects!