‘Skyscraper’s Byron Mann: Hong Kong Native Felt ‘Great Responsibility’ To Get Character Right
HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with ‘Skyscraper’ star Byron Mann, who plays Inspector Wu, about working with a Hong Kong police officer to get his role down and what it means to him to have the movie be set in his home of Hong Kong!
Skyscraper is the summer movie event you’ve been waiting for, and the film is in theaters now. Byron Mann stars alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Neve Campbell in the action movie about a father (Johnson) who goes to great lengths to save his family from a burning skyscraper. Byron plays Inspector Wu, a Hong Kong policeman who is trying to figure out why the building is on fire and who is responsible for this tragedy. For Byron, making sure his role was as authentic as possible was incredibly important because he’s from Hong Kong, where the movie is based.
“I am from Hong Kong. Born and raised there. I actually live in Hong Kong for part of the year. To be a part of this movie means a lot,” Byron told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “I felt great responsibility to get things right. It’s like if you’re a New Yorker and the movie is set in New York about New York cops, you want that stuff to be authentic. To not be authentic would be a problem. For me, it was a big deal. I needed to get this right. Right off the bat, I sat down with the director and I asked him, ‘You know, what kind of movie do you want to make?’ And he said, ‘I want to make a movie that is authentic as possible.’ And I said, ‘Okay, I happen to know a guy.’ He’s a recently retired Hong Kong policeman. Station sergeant is his official title. That’s his rank. He actually consults on some of my other projects. They talked, the feeling was great, and he came on board as a consultant. The first thing we did was we translated the dialogue from English to Cantonese and from Cantonese to Hong Kong police speak. They speak in a very specific way. They use a lot of English terms. Hong Kong was a British colony for 150 years. They’re used to using English terms for a number of things. It’s very specific. If you’re not a Hong Kong police person and it doesn’t matter if you’re from Hong Kong, then you’d never know how these terms would be used, how they would be used. We translated all the dialogue, and what you see onscreen is what we translated. I’ve been told by multiple Chinese journalists in Hong Kong and New York that the Hong Kong scenes were very authentic. They were actually very surprised.”
He added that being a part of Skyscraper “actually moves me as a part of the team to make this film. It gratifies me, and I’m very proud of that aspect, that we got it right.” In a world full of reboots and revivals, Skyscraper is a fresh, original idea. “It’s a summer movie. Summer is the most precious real estate for movies. I think this is one of the only non-superhero movies to be airing in the summer,” Byron continued. “This is kind of special. It’s not an Avengers movie. It’s not a sequel. It’s an original idea, a real person in real circumstances. We used to make these movies in the ’80s and ’90s. We kind of stopped making these movies in favor of superhero movies. I think to a certain extent with no disrespect to superhero movies, the audience may be looking for something different. They may be a little superhero-ed out.”
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