He’s a regular on the international circuit, a legacy character from Supernatural, a feature film artist who made his debut in Kung Fu Killer after being discovered through his martial arts skills which he began at just 13.
We had a chat with Osric Chau while he is in town for this weekend’s Oz Comic Con tour in Brisbane and next week in Sydney. “Oz Comic Con is such a great way to connect with fans” he said. With events globally, it is the pop-culture pilgrimate that reels in some of the most passionate fans of artwork illustrators, movie, television fans in a cosplay pan-pop spectacle of the production houses of the hour – from HBO, to Warner Bros, and more recently, Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.
As former castmates formally announced the final season of Supernatural, the trailer was dropped last week giving fans a preview of “the final chapter” wrapping up the story of Sam and Dean in a contant battle of saving the world from evil for 15 seasons.
Osric seemed to be in a sense of denial when we asked him about it and it hasn’t quite hit him. It’s quite an accomplishment, many notable prime time shows barely make a production run half that time and it was this show where Chau was able to fully develop and hone his craft.
Charming the Supernatural audience for four years as Kevin Tran, the Prophet of God, he’s continued to carry his audience with him across from other projects and feature films he has appeared in – What Women Want, The Man with the Iron Fists and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.
“It’s a smaller social media platform” describes Chau, which consolidates all the channels in he is on (eg. YouTube, Instagram, Twitter) into tabs that subscribers can view easily while also accessing a private feed just for them. “It’s a fan club” that he can participate in, where “they put daily blogs and journals, record our highs and lows”.
“Osric is one of those celebrities that really identifies with his fans and that’s why this mobile app platform is going to work so well for him,” said Shamik Talukder, GM of escapex. “We put the control back in the creator’s hands, enable them to freely reach out to their fans and actually own their own custom platform. We are thrilled to collaborate with Osric in this new exciting journey that he is undertaking.”
Osric has always been open about advocating a collective action in the industry to lift the profile of asian representation in the media and touched briefly on his experiences in the roles and projects that have come his way throughout his career.
“There use to be a real scarcity in the roles that came my way,” describing the thought process in assessing a role as he feels a responsibility in how it affects the general perception of the asian community. “Is is an offence character – do you take it or do you not. There’s a few sides to all of it. We’re finally past that point I think, with more well written thought out characters.”
When asked if his view on this extends to roles behind the camera, “it helps to be in the culture, it’s helpful to have that diversity of ideas and talent in the creative process” he says. He praises the work of Universal Pictures’ Abominable which was set in China and written by Jill Cullton who relied on the consulting of local knowledge to tap into the authenticity of the culture.
“As artists, we owe it to ourselves to find our voice, tell the story without having to focus on the ticket sales, finding that balance of sustainability and commercial viability” says Chau. His most recent project filmed in the Philippines touches on the nuances of lost culture with expats or second generation asians born overseas for example. Empty by Design explores this idea. It was well received at its debut, closing the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival earlier this year. This marked a turning point for Osric in the direction he plans to take his film making career.
“When I left Vancouver from the airport, I hadn’t left yet and missed my parents” Osric said, when asked what kind of stories he would like to tell. He’s left home before but he hints at something different this time around having more of an appreciation for his parents, their influence on his acting and vision for film making. He spoke about a trip he took with his mum to her native Malaysia and seeing “how badass [his] mum was” and seeing her in her home turf. “English is not her first language, to see her switching between 6 languages” navigating the city and asserting herself with the locals “she was on fire”. There can sometimes be a disconnect between the cultural differences in families particularly with the first generation children of foreign parents which is quite interesting and there seems to be a potential and truth to the kind of story that’s waiting to be told based on this hint.
Osric is currently involved in ten various film projects and is also an advocate of Independent Film Festivals. “If you go to film festivals, you are going to see films that are never going to get a chance to because alot of them never get distribution”. His respect for this part of the film industry aligns with the truth and authenticity that drives the work he tries to put out there. “I was at Sundance Festival watching four to five films everyday and what struck me was the amazing energy from everyone.”
Osric described the pride and excitement he saw in the filmmakers of some of the films he went to see at Sundance just for showing up. “In some places, film makers can spend two, three, or give years on a film which will end up getting screened to four to five people and I would encourage people to go to your local festival to support these guys. It’s also a great way to bring the community together”.
Osric Chau appears at Brisbane Oz Comic Con 21-22 September and Sydney Oz Comic Con 28-29 September.
Cover Image: Markus Wissmann
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