Celia Au Interview – Lodge 49

Credit: Caroline Lux

This week The True Lodge was able to connect with Ms. Celia Au aka "Alice" on the AMC TV show, Lodge 49.  Along with being on Lodge 49, be sure to watch for her in 2019 with the Netflix Release of  Wu Assassins!

We appreciate her taking time out of her busy schedule to connect and share with us.

TTL: How did growing up in the community of NYC shape who you are as both a person and as an actress?

CA:  Hey! Hum… I grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island. I actually never thought I was going to be an actress when I was growing up. I’ve always thought I was going to be a lawyer for the longest time and then I switched tracks to advertising. But I can tell you that I watched a lot of movies as a kid because my parents owned a video store.

TTL: Speaking of school, read you were quite into handball in high school and started a team at your college to keep playing it.  Do you still play?  Hats off, by the way, that is a pretty intense sport. 

CA: Haha Thank you! I was on our high school team for 2 years playing handball. It was definitely fun if you didn’t crack your hands playing. I remember a time when I took my gloves off after the game and my palms were bleeding…. lol fun times. When I was in college handball was not part of the NCAA so I started my own club and ran my own tournaments. I wish I still played… the last time I got on the courts I couldn’t even aim……

TTL: In college along with your love for handball, you got very involved in the graphic design and advertising/marketing programs, how did that evolve into acting?

CA: Oh yeah, I love being able to create. And advertising for me is when you get to create something fun and commercial at the same time. You have the power to persuade the audience if your ad is good -- kinda feels like a super power.

TTL: Some may know you from your role “Bobo” in Martin Scorsese’s film  “Revenge of the Green Dragons”, which is a very intense movie to watch.

What was it like to film with that very diverse cast?

Also, any insights or experiences you wish to share?

CA: Thank you for checking out the film. I hope you enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun working with such a passionate cast and being able to tell a story that has even never been told thru the eyes of an Asian character. We all developed a strong bond in the film that most of the cast and crew are still friends to date.

TTL: In some of your roles you have showcased your martial arts skills. I have read that you studied at Tak Wah Eng Studio. Do you still study? And do you mind sharing what style you prefer and your belt degree?

CA: I love my Sifu (Master in Chinese) Tak Wah Eng. He teaches different forms of Chinese Kung Fu. But his main focus is the Tiger Forms and Shaolin forms. And Yes! I still study with him whenever I can. He is so supportive of everything I do and he constantly encourages me to be the best that I can be.

TTL: Lodge 49 is drastically different from your past roles, how did you get involved with the show?

CA:  As any actor would, I auditioned for the part, then had a callback and when I was told that I got the part I was ecstatic. I really love my character (Alice Ba) and the relationship she has with Dud, Liz, and papa Ba.

TTL: Had you surfed much prior to Lodge 49?

CA: Hahahahah Not at all. But I always dreamed about how cool I could look holding a surfboard and being able to surf. Does that count?

TTL: How long did it take you to get the hang of it?  Do you ever surf off-set for fun?

CA: I wanna say I still am very far from getting the hang of it. I can balance myself on the board but deep down I have this fear that jaws is right beside me…. I give a lot of props to my double Rachel. She definitely made me look a lot cooler than I actually am. =) 

TTL: In getting into the role of Alice, how did you approach the character?  Are there any similarities or dissimilarities between you and Alice?

CA: Alice and I definitely have a lot of similarities. She grew up working at her dad’s donut shop and I grew up working at my parent’s video store. We are both have ‘oh let’s go and have fun’ types. The dissimilarities….. Oh! I would never be able to ask my parents about wanting to take a break before college. They would have probably twisted my head off lol. Oh! and Alice’s donut shop reminded me so much of the donut shop in my neighborhood when I was a kid. The smell of the fresh donuts every morning was amazing! ….I just got hungry thinking about it…..

TTL:  Also, have to ask, as Alice works in a donut shop, do you have any pastry favorites?

CA: Yup!!! I love my chocolate glazed donuts, passion fruit flavor macaroons, and cakes that aren't overly sweet. What are you doing to me?!?!?! It’s 11pm as I am writing this and I can’t stop thinking about food now……

 

TTL: You took a break just as your career was starting to take off to write, direct, and produce Distraktion.  What was your reasoning and motivation on taking that risk?

CA:  I want to say that it wasn’t a break from my career I really love to create. So I got a team together to write and direct my first short story film ever. Since Distraktion, I’ve written and directed two music videos, 3 short skits, and a Virtual Reality Film.

TTL: There is a lot of buzz about Wu Assassins coming out on Netflix, what can you share about the project and the mysterious Ying Ying?

CA: Man! I can’t wait to share this project with you! But, you’ll just have to wait until the summer of 2019. =)

TTL: In regard to writing and directing, you have shown a penchant for the short film art form. Have you considered any more in-depth projects?

CA: Yes I have. I’ve been developing 2 feature scripts. So once I can find the funding for that I’ll go and make my first feature.

TTL: With the success of “Crazy Rich Asians”, there has been a renewed dialogue about “Being Asian in Hollywood”.  Would you care to share your thoughts on the topic, and what you have found in your career? 

CA: Yes! I just want to say that we all need to support each other. It doesn’t matter what’s your race, gender, and sexual orientation, we are all humans and all of us have stories to tell. So let’s embrace life and it’s important to able to watch and tell stories from all walks of life. To me, the media has such a powerful role in society. We can educate and inform people and help everyone to understand and embrace each other.

TTL: What is your advice to young women looking into the field of acting or directing?

CA: Never give up! Tell your story, be humble and listen. We are in a day and age where one can have access to a camera easily. You can make, shoot, edit and release your projects to the internet with just your phone. So go out and shoot! Use your creativity and anything can happen.

TTL: Building off the last question, any secrets to success or guiding principles you would like to share about yourself?

CA: I don’t think that there are any secrets because everyone’s path is different. But all I can say is to stay humble and listen to each other. Being stubborn and cocky will not help. We are constantly evolving and there is always something new to learn.

TTL: You have tweeted support for the charities  St. Jude’s Hospital and Charity Water. Do you care to share about either or your involvement with them?

CA: I am just a donor to those charities. Kids are so pure, happy and innocent, and it breaks my heart to see families going through something so tough. A smile a day will make the world a better place. =) And as for charity water, I really like what they are doing for people. Sometimes we don’t realize how much we take water for granted. It is something that is there for us every day but there are still places in the world where clean water is the most precious thing. I don’t have the power to go and help those places in person, so I really appreciate what Charity Water is doing. I think the money I raised for them during my birthday can pay for maybe only a quarter of a well. But hey we gotta start somewhere right? 

TTL: Thank you again for your time, in closing, what do you hope people take away from Lodge 49?   

CA: I hope that people can watch the show and be able to relate to our characters and know that sometimes it is okay to be not okay and no one is perfect. But just know that there is always something there to support you. Might it be family, friends or the people at Lodge 49.

Thank you for taking your time to interview me. It was a lot of fun answering all these questions. Now I am going to get some food. I still can't stop thinking about it. =)

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Thanks again to Ms. Celia Au and Brio Entertainment for working with us and making the time for this interview to be possible.  Be sure to catch her on the current season of Lodge 49 on the AMC App.  And if you are adventurous, you can find Revenge of the Green Dragons on Netflix, and see a very different "Alice".  

Credit: Andrew Ge