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DAVID HENRY HWANG INTERVIEW
It's OK to be Wrong and/or It's OK to be Hwang
Presentations of idiosyncratic history pageants with a sense of humor and musicality
A Creative Soul, Successful Playwright, Screenwriter and Librettist with All the Work He can Handle

 

NEW PROJECTS
David's past success has provided greater opportunities than most of working and ability to participate on a wide spectrum of projects. In addition to the previously discussed "Alice in Wonderland" project with Unsuk Chin, we had the opportunity to talk about upcoming/projected productions such as Tarzan, The Fly, Texas Guinan, Hello Suckers, Yellow Face, type of projects that he would like to be involved with and the creative inspirations he's received from his travels to China. An invitation is extended to read about his views listed below.

DESIRED PROJECTS

US ASIANS: You've lamented that recently you have not had the time to complete a play since Golden Child, has this provided a greater thirst to be in an environment where the playwright and actors have a greater control over what the viewing audience will receive?

 
"HELLO SUCKERS" Project
 
US ASIANS: What is the latest status of the music entitled "Hello Suckers" - tale of rowdy nightclub chanteuse, legendary bareback horse rider who was featured in Hollywood westerns and silent film star Texas Guinan - that was originally to have starred Courtney Love, but replaced by Madonna?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Actually, when I worked on the project, it was a vehicle for Bette Midler, to be directed by Martin Scorsese. I have no idea what's going on with it now.

DAVID HENRY HWANG: With a play, the playwright is the primary creative artist, and everyone else works to support his/her vision. Since making that earlier statement, I have completed a first draft of "Yellow Face" and found the experience re-energizing; exercising certain creative muscles I had let go slack in the intervening years.

US ASIANS: You've expressed that to fulfill your desire (as a writer and playwright) to project your vision onto film while having a full range of creative expression at your disposal, as you have in the theater world - the ability to direct is a prerequisite. Could you share the reasons why such difficulties exist? What is the status of the movie project that you were projected to direct?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: It's rather difficult to get financing entities to produce a film by a first-time director with no previous experience, and I haven't felt inclined to pay for it myself. The project I was once slated to direct turned into "Golden Gate."

INSPIRATION OF CHINA

US ASIANS: With the purpose of your recent travels to Shanghai China to discover the great creativity that appears to be emanating from that part of the world (Note: They are building a "theater district" that is patterned after New York's Broadway), what treasures and/or inspirations did you discover?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: I'm still in an "information-gathering" phase with regard to my China travels. But I'm feeling amazing creativity happening there, as well as a desire to collaborate with like-minded artists from the West.

US ASIANS: Will you be working with Jackie Chan and/or Andy Lau's film companies designed to support upcoming filmmakers such as the recent movie "Rice Rhapsody" that premiered at the Los Angeles' "Visual Communication" / Asian American Film Festival?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: So far, I'm not involved in any projects with this group.

CHINESE MAFIA FILMS
 
US ASIANS: Since the general public and Hollywood has embraced Francis Ford Coppola directing "The Godfather" - when will the same acceptance be given to you on a project regarding the Chinese Mafia where the "certain social realities" and worry about reinforcing stereotypes will be manageable? When will the general public be receptive to immigrant stories (that incorporates different European languages) from beyond Europe as so often seen in American cinematic history that it doesn't raise any red flags - in fact, its lauded for its content (i.e. Schindler's List, Roots, Fiddler on the Roof, Hoffa, Goodfellas, Godfather, etc.)? When will Asian films of similar ilk (i.e. Soong Sisters, etc.) be afforded the same attention and acclaim?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: I think films from Asia are already being afforded the same attention and acclaim that European "art films" received in the mid-20th century.

 
US ASIANS: Would the fear of stereotypes that Chinese are gangster and other stereotypes be secondary to enjoying the tale of these people as family in 2005 from all communities - if not, why?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Well, pieces such as "The Godfather," "Goodfellas," and "The Sopranos" have made their characters feel completely human and three-dimensional and, arguably, have also reinforced the stereotype of Italians as Mafiosi. At the moment, I actually don't think the Chinese gangster stereotype is particularly prevalent in our culture.

BROADWAY PROJECT - "YELLOW FACE"

US ASIANS: Your new play that will open on Broadway, what aspect(s) of the Asian American community did you explore?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: "Yellow Face" is a semi-fictional "stage documentary" combining real facts and quotes with completely made-up elements. It ostensibly covers the events of my own life in the context of the APA community between the late-80's and the present.

US ASIANS: When will it open on Broadway and who is attached to the project?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: It will premiere Off-Broadway in a co-production between the Public Theater and East-West Players in the 2006-07 season. At the moment, no other talent is officially attached.

DISNEY'S "TARZAN"

US ASIANS: What is the current status of the new Disney musical (Tarzan) that is headed for Broadway that you have been working on for two years with Phil Collins the music and Bob Crowley providing an environmental set?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: We are currently in rehearsals, with first preview on Broadway scheduled for March 24th, and opening on May 10th. For more info on the program's status, click HERE.

The Broadway system has won a decisive round over the Hollywood method.

DreamWorks and Disney are ready to sign production contracts that would allow playwrights David Lindsay-Abaire, Doug Wright and David Henry Hwang to retain copyright to their books for the respective stage musicals "Shrek," "The Little Mermaid" and "Tarzan."

That means the trio of writers now has greater control
over stock and amateur rights,
which in the case of a hit musical can be a virtual lifetime annuity.
For more info, click HERE.

US ASIANS: Could you share what attracted you to work with Howard Shore? (Tarzan, M. Butterfly)

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Howard is not involved with TARZAN. He was brought in to score the "M. Butterfly" movie by David Cronenberg, who has been David Cronenberg's composer since their college days together.

DAVID CRONENBERG'S OPERA "THE FLY"

US ASIANS: Could you share what the latest development on your participation with David Cronenberg's elaborate new opera (remake of "The Fly") scheduled to be completed and premiered in 2007 at the Los Angeles Opera?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: I've finished a first draft of the libretto, Howard's written maybe the first 20 minutes of the music.

US ASIANS: Since it has been rumored that it will use his 1986 remake as source material and not the original Vincent Price film, what creative directions will your creative input pursue?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: I'm basically trying to create a stage equivalent to the tone and special effects of the movie.

 
"TEXAS GUINAN" Project
 
US ASIANS: Will you be participating in the musical aspects of this Jeremy Scott-directed/Martin Scorsese-produced project entitled "Texas Guinan" (vehicle for Bette Midler or Madonna) that will have songs composed by Madonna?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: I don't know

US ASIANS: Were you part of the project when Maverick bought the rights when it was intended for a stage production?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: No

US ASIANS: Will you be involved with the musical creativity with Academy-Award winner Howard Shore?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: I might make a few comments here and there, but don't usually interfere too much with the composer's work in an opera.

US ASIANS: Since horror and musical theater have a traditional tricky relationship (Phantom of the Opera, Jekyll and Hyde, Carrie: The Musical and Little Shop of Horrors), what do you feel is important to creatively incorporate within the production to provide the best creative and commercial possibilities - or does one even seriously consider these factors while in the process?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: I think on stage, the horror needs to be more metaphorical and symbolic, leaving things to the audience's imagination, as opposed to film, which is more literal.

Answering the questions of discerning the differences between authenticity and stereotypes has been
an important cornerstone in all his creative efforts and a question often asked of him from his critics.
Read about his thoughts, process and views on this subject by clicking HERE.

Discover David's Viewpoints on the Wide Spectrum of Subjects by Clicking on the Below-Listed Links
AUTHENTICITY
CULTURE
CREATIVE PROCESS
DIVERSITY
MUSIC & MUSICALS

Applications
Authenticity vs. Stereotypes
Definition
Frank Chin Battles
Stereotypes - David's Views

THEATER
1000 Airplanes on the Roof
Chinese Railroad Workers
Dance and the Railroad
Family & Christianity
Family Devotion
FOB
Golden Child & Christianity
Origins of Interest
Rich Relations
Sound of a Voice
Steve Allen's Meeting of Minds
Trying to Find Chinatown

 

 

Critical Thinking
Cultural Symbol
Debating Issues
Ethnic Isolationism
Its Issues
Representations

PERSONAL INFO
2nd Marriage & Its Joys
David on Ismail Merchant
Henry Hwang (Father)
Kathryn Hwang (Wife)
Overview
Parents & Relatives
Parting Words
Personal Facts

SUPPORT
Financial
Needed from APA Artists
From Our Communities

 

Choices
Collaborators

Days of Education & Learning
Dealing with Expectations
Failure's Particular Lessons
Inappropriate Characters
Influences & Inspirations
"Lost Empire" Experience
Pressures with Success
Role Models
Working with Lucia Hwong
Working with Philip Glass
Working with Unsuk Chin

NEW & PAST PROJECTS
Chinese Mafia-type Films
Desired Projects
Hello Suckers
Inspiration of China
Status of Past Projects
Tarzan
Texas Guinan
The Fly
Yellow Face

 

APA Theater Organizations
Blind-Casting
Calvin Jung
Current Status
Daring Films w/Asian Males
Definition of an APA
Ethnic Theater
Life as a Librettist (Ainadamar)
Life as a Role Model
Ms. Saigon Protest
Perceptions
Proteges & Artists
Recognizing APA Artists
State of Asian Women Writers
Welly Yang Learning History

LIFE AS A SCREENWRITER
Across the Nightingale Floor
Experience with Hollywood
Golden Gate & M.Butterfly
Interculturalism & Objective Truth
NBC's Lost Empire
Neal Labute's "Possession"

 

Its Importance
M.Butterfly
Today's APA Communities
Working with Prince

FLOWER DRUM SONG
Anna May Wong
Arabella Hong-Young
Background Research
C.Y. Lee
Creative Choices
Its Importance
Original Version
Remembering Our History

REVIEWS
Yellow Face

       
       
       

 

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