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Wizard World Philly 2012: James Hong

James Hong aka David Lo Pan
Tony Calandra

Wizard World Philly was this past weekend and they delivered the goods in terms of pop culture guest. I was fortune enough to talk to James Hong and listen in to his Q and A session at Wizard World Philly. If you don’t know who James Hong is than I will tell you, he has played some classic cult movie characters. His biggest role was in Big Trouble in Little China, where he played the villain David Lo Pan. Big Trouble in Little China was directed by the legendary John Carpenter and also starred Kurt Russell as the hero Jack Burton. All David Lo Pan wanted was a girl with green eyes! But Jack Burton had other ideas. Along with this iconic role David Lo Pan James Hong has played any many different films and TV shows. He is also known for his voice acting roles. He has been the voice in the Kung Fu Panda series, Scooby Doo the cartoon and voiced a character in the blockbuster series Call of Duty: Black Ops.

These are just a few little known facts about James Hong. During the Q and A session I learned a lot more about this talented actor. He was born and raised in Minnesota where he stated laughing “I thought I was white growing up too.” He then later attended The University of Minnesota. Here he was studying toward a degree in Civil Engineering. Then one summer he went out to L.A. ‘the city of dreams.’ He tried his comedy act around town which led him to his first official gig on The Groucho Marx show. Then it all went from there. He later went on to voice 8 different characters in the original black and white Godzilla film. That is a pretty impressive dub over working on 8 different characters.

From these gigs and on James Hong has been working in Hollywood. He is a man who puts everything he has into each character he portrays. One fan asked him “Which was your most favorite role to play?” James Hong replied “It could only be one role, Lo Pan.” The fans clapped loudly at this reply. Everyone there had seen the cult classic Big Trouble and Little China. Everyone in the panel agreed that was his best character, because he brought some much to that film which we all enjoy until this very day. After that Mr. Hong went on to describe why Big Trouble wasn’t a huge hit at the box office during its release. The studio behind Big Trouble Twentieth Century Fox didn’t really market the film because of some differences within the company. They focused all their energy on another small time film Alien, which became an iconic sci-fi film. Then another fan asked him “What actor do you admire or look up to?” Mr. Hong replied “Jack Nicholson.” He talked how he studied Jack’s work and really admired how Jack could play a variety of characters. He also loved how Jack could be in a Comedy film then be in a very serious role in a Drama filled movie. You could say the same about James Hong. He has that type of range as well. He can be funny, evil, and serious all in one. His characters will live throughout time on the cinematic screen.


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