Having done ‘M. Butterfly,’ I’m conscious of the choices women make with their clothes and makeup on screen.
I feel more and more like ‘myself’ these days. Before becoming a father, I can remember a low-level feeling of somehow not quite being myself.
I remain on ‘SVU’ because it is an incredible opportunity.
Television shows and movies that are all white, I can’t watch them. They totally alienate me.
I’ve always had tremendous support from my parents. I think there’s a myth that gay people have lousy relationships with their parents.
Maybe there are logical reasons for a gay person not to have a great relationship with their parents – not because there’s a parent who made him gay, but just because it may be difficult to understand everything.
I used to say that I didn’t want anything to do with e-mail. It seemed really impersonal, complicated and weird. I had no idea what an amazing way it is to reach people.
I’m a strong nonbeliever in the Christmas letter where you don’t really read it because it’s just full of kind of meaningless information. It doesn’t really resonate to the person reading it, but it means so much to the person that wrote it.
Asian people are very practical and come from a conservative world. The parents want their kids to be doctors and lawyers. There are casting calls for Asian children, but once the parents find out the children might miss school, they’re opposed to it.
I realize it’s a cliche almost, that coming out of the closet is a very healthy and empowering thing to do, but for me, it really has been a truly wonderful thing.
I have a hard time watching films and not thinking how I would play any part, whether it’s a man or a woman.
Writing is an incredibly creatively empowering experience for me. It is the place where nobody tries to control what I’m doing.
As an actor, I have casting issues. I’m a minority. I don’t have trouble making a living, but as far as being on the food chain of the pecking order of actors, I’m not at the top of it. With the jobs that I do, there are always control issues with directors and producers.
I had studied the violin to a certain amount of success. At some point, I realized that I didn’t really like the violin. I was only doing it because I could, and I was good at it, and everyone was encouraging me. But I didn’t have a great love for it.
Playing the priest on ‘Oz’ was a fantastic experience. I was very lucky.
In television, a sitcom is probably the closest thing to what it’s like working in the theater.
If I were to limit myself to the opportunities that were presented playing only Chinese-American parts, I would be virtually without a career.
Usually, when you are an ethnic person or a trans person, in your average, everyday, unsophisticated television show, you are there for that reason. And they clearly justify and overexplain why. You very rarely see a transgender actor playing the part of a grocery-store clerk without having to say, ‘Oh, look at that trans person.’
I always knew I’d be more of a character actor than a leading man, and I always wanted to take that and run with it.
I am fine playing ‘Law & Order’ and even the ‘Jurassic’ movies to be straight up, as far as the characters being portrayed there, but I never want to stay in straight-up land too long. I always wanted to do something where the character’s world gets to be explored.
The success of the storytellers – we’re only as good as what we can withhold from the audience. Aspects of surprise and letting things play out for the audience – it’s so much a part of their enjoyment. It’s one of the great things about working in the movies and being a great storyteller.
I was on ‘SVU’ for 11 years. I developed a muscle in my brain that could memorize things much more easily than people who don’t do it every day. I got used to the language, and some of it got to be repetitive language, so you build your vocabulary.
If I played characters who were like me, I’d be super bored.
Because of the accumulation of objects, things are never quite the way I want them to be. There has always been a lack of, well, clarity.
I’m basically nocturnal.
I’m already more famous than I want to be. And yet at the same time, fame feeds your potential as a creative person. You’re in a vacuum if you don’t have a certain amount of fame.
I have a fear of labels. If someone labels me, I have to respond – do I acknowledge it, reject it, deny it, live up to it, and defy it? Labels can affect your ability to be yourself. If you’re not careful, like I wasn’t when I was young, that can take a toll on you. You find yourself conforming to everyone else’s ideas of who you are.
I know about lots of things that have nothing to do with being Asian, that you would never guess from looking at me. I know all about musical theater. I could go on ‘Jeopardy!’ and knock off the whole Broadway show tunes category. Also the whole Bible stories category.
There’s something pure about our bloodline: There are no accidental kids of gay parents. Every single gay parent desperately, passionately wanted to be a parent. That’s neat, and I hope we can keep it that way.
There is a kind of misconception that Asian-Americans are not as American as European-Americans.
I had saved a lot of money working at Mrs. Fields’ Chocolate Chip Cookies, ushering at the Golden Gate Theatre, and doing odd jobs so I could live in New York for a few months. If it ran out, I would have to give up and go home. It turned out OK. I got my Equity card and started working.