TAEM Interview with Actor Brian Tee

TAEM- We are always excited to present a popular acting celebrity to all our readers. Actor Brian Tee is well known for his roles both in television and film. Brian, we have many students of the Arts who follow our publication, The Arts and Entertainment Magazine, to obtain guidance for their chosen careers. Please tell us what made you choose acting and what training you had undertaken for this career.

BT- Well, as a child, I always had dreamed of being an actor, but as time went by, I slowly drifted away from those unfiltered and pure dreams you have as a kid. After graduating high school, I attended Cal State Fullerton. With no real direction, I simply took the general classes to get back. BUT, in one of my electives, I chose to take an acting class… “Acting for non-majors” to be exact. I thought… “An easy A!” In my first week of taking the class, it basically changed my life. I found my calling. That light bulb, that spark, like I hit by lightening and from then on I knew I wanted to be an actor. So I dropped out, went to Fullerton JC because they had a better theatre program, in hopes to transfer to a University of California arts school. I never applied myself in the academics so hard… and was fortunate to be accepted into the UC Berkeley Dramatic Arts program. Funny… when filing for my major, I was going through all my transcripts and everything my mom kept of my education… I’m talking kindergarten handprints. Well, I cam across a 3rd grade assignment, “what do you want to be when you grow up,” and to my surprise, I wrote as a 6 year old, that “I want to be an actor and be in TV/Film…” call it fate or destiny… but I always knew.

TAEM- In 2000 you appeared in several popular television series that included ‘The Pretender’, ‘The Invisible Man’, and ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. Tell us about your roles in these productions.

BT- Early in my career, I was fortunate to land some guest-star spots in some hit shows at the time. Though, very green at the time, I felt like I belonged. We all go through frustration, doubts and even despair as a starving actor… what these shows did, was give me the confidence in knowing that “yeah, I could do this and will do this for the rest of my life.”

TAEM- How exciting was this for you to play these parts, and what confidence did you gain in playing them?

BT- I was a kid in a candy store… what I would do for free, I got to do as a job. The roles I played, meant really nothing to the story… but meant everything to me. I had a blast… doing what I love to do. A dream come true.

TAEM- The following year found you in several more television series that included ‘Family Law’, ’18 Wheels of Justice’, and ‘The Chronicle’. Please describe these productions for our readers, and the roles that you performed in them.

BT-in the fallowing years, I worked hard to pursue my career and was fortunate enough to land some more roles. I did everything and anything to be seen. I would drive down to San Diego and back (LA) just to audition and do every student film, indie that I could. It paid off… Family Law, I booked because I did a scene for a student director in the class. And it just so happened that the teacher of the class was a very accomplished TV director. A year later, he remembered me from his class, brought me in and I landed the episode he was directing on Family Law. AND… with The Chronicle and 18 Wheels, both are shot in San Diego and if I didn’t bust my ass to get down there and audition, I would have never gotten them. I think that’s what it takes in this business as an actor… you have to love it, have the drive, motivation and perseverance to go for it and never give up. Because you never know…

TAEM- The next year was a banner year for you, in both television and film. You again appeared in a series, ‘Flipside’, then in the short film ‘Remember Pearl Harbor’. Then a major career change took place when you cast in the films ‘We Were Soldiers’ and ‘Austin Powers in Goldmember’. Please give us the details for these projects and the elation you must of felt by appearing on the silver screen.

BT-I was working hard and live by the rule that hard work pays off… I was doing everything and anything I can to do what I love to do and that was Act. I auditioned for Flipside and Remember Pearl Harbor and landed the roles. But the true turning point was when I booked We Were Soldiers. First let me say it was an honor to play this character. The people us actors portrayed are the true hero’s where as we can only try our best to give them justice and pay homage to their valor. That said, I played “Jimmy Nakayama” a true hero. I was working side by side with the likes of Mel Gibson, Greg Kinnear, Sam Elliott and Barry Pepper. That’s when I knew as a new actor in Hollywood… that I belonged.

TAEM- The next two years saw you once again on television in ‘JAG’, ‘Passions’, ‘Cracking Up’, and ‘Monk’. You even appeared in the television movie ‘Tiger Cruise’. Your major achievement was in the film ‘Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation’. Please tell us about these productions and what it meant for your career.

BT- I took this Job as acting into my career and with it, comes even more work. If you want to survive and live just as a working actor, you better be sure you have your head on straight, that you are continuing to perfect your craft, and that you know you will work harder then you ever have before. With those values ingrained in me, I was able to land the roles you mentioned. “I was a working Actor and acting was my career”

TAEM-   From 2005 through 2011 saw you living an actor’s dream with more than twenty-two credits towards your career. You also appeared in three episodes of ‘Zoey 101’, and thirteen episodes of the popular television series ‘Crash’. You had major roles in ‘Deadlands’ and ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’, as well. Please describe your roles in these projects, and name the other popular television programs that you appeared in during this period.

BT-I pride myself as a character leading man and work hard to starch my talents. The range of the characters I played in this shows you mentioned were a blessing. In Zoey 101, I played the disgruntle Sushi Chef. In Crash, I played an ex gang member gone straight, trying to better his life. In Deadland, I got to really go there and created a character that had a screw loose, limp eye, southern accent and a limp to boot. What a fun one to play. And as for Tokyo Drift, I played “D.K.’ the quintessential bad-guy in a movie of this genre, but I wanted to make him, badder, more arrogant, more hated but yet, appealing because everything was justified in his shoes. That’s what I feel makes great bad-guys… there methods to the madness. I seem to always get comments like, “I hated you in that movie” or “you were such a dick” and I love it! Those are the greatest compliments for me as an actor. The more they dislike my character, the more I know I did a good job.

TAEM- This year you were in the television series ‘Grimm’, but acting was not your only talent. You produced the film ‘Deadland’ in 2009 which wetted your appetite to do more. You not only produced other projects, but wrote for them as well. Please give our readers a sneak-preview of these and tell us when we will be able to see them.

BT- Well, as an artist, I have a lot I want to express. And writing / production is another outlet for it. I’m currently working on several projects but you can catch Deadland on dvd at your local blockbuster of on Netflix. Wedding Palace we home to bring to theaters near the end of this year. And as for Grimm… if you missed the season finale, catch me on NBC.com and keep watching the show next season… you never know what can happen.   (wink wink)

TAEM- Brian, we want to thank you for the time that you spent out of your busy schedule with all the readers of The Arts and Entertainment Magazine . You are a very well-rounded actor, and we are sure that you are a very inspiring celebrity that all our readers can learn from. We wish you sincere luck in all that you do, and hope that you will stay in touch with us so that we can inform our many readers of your future career achievements.

   TAEM