“Learn To Be More Funny” 5 Insider Tips with Actor, Producer, and Designer Jane Wu
I had the pleasure to interview Jane Wu. Recognized by China Movie Channel and 1905.com as a rising star in the Chinese action film sector, Jane is now emerging as one to watch in the US market. Producer and actress, Jane is martial arts expert with roles in Paramount Pictures ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out Of The Shadows’ and a cameo in ‘Captain America-Civil War’. Wu is expanding her success in China to the global market and can seen co-starring in the Chinese-American short film “A Children’s Song,” which she co-produced alongside former president of the Academy Awards Sid Ganis, China Movie Channel (CCTV 6) and 1905 Pictures. The film is based on a true story and tells of the more than 20,000 Jewish refugees living in Shanghai during World War II. Jane is currently writing, hosting and producing under her J. Wu Entertainment banner. Her newest project, “Behind The Spotlight” is an insightful program which gives extraordinary insight as to the major players, who run Hollywood. The show has interviewed more than 35 true masters behind the scene in Hollywood, including the former President of Disney: Joe Roth, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy: James Gunn and producer of the Dispicable Me: Chris Meledandri and more. Upon airing, the show has instantly caught many filmmakers’ attention. It is now airing on various media platforms in China set to premiere in the US soon. In 2017 Jane Wu took an entrepreneurial step, founding own fashion line, J.Wu Design. She collaborated with American designer Jake Vernon Peak who is also J.Wu Design’s main designer and Creative Director. Jane premiered looks from the line on the red carpets of the 2018 Golden Globes and 90th Annual Academy Awards.
What is your “backstory”?
I started as an action actress in China. Then I moved to the U.S. to pursue my career as an actress, but in the meantime I fell in love with producing and started producing in the U.S.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your acting/directing/performing career?
The first film I ever did, I was playing this sexy modern killer. I had absolutely no experience doing action, so the director sent me off to a female monastery to train in traditional martial arts for two months. In the film though I really didn’t do any martial arts. My character mainly used a gun. So there I was, with all of these women, who made the most delicious food, and I was trying so hard not to get fat, as I was supposed to be this hot woman! I really have no idea why I was sent there as I should have been receiving a more modern style of training. But it was fun. The male monks would come visit, probably because it was rare for them to see so many pretty girls! It was interesting.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am currently working on the feature length version of “A Children’s Song”. A few years ago I co-produced the short film with Sid Ganis, who is the former president of Academy Awards. That was the first movie I ever produced and it won more than 20 awards. I am very excited we have the opportunity to produce this feature. The film centers around World War II and how China opened its doors to over 20,000 Jews during that time. It is very meaningful for the Chinese people and many people aren’t aware of this part of history.
Who are some of the most famous people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I actually have interacted with many well-known people in the industry because I am the producer and creator of a show called “Behind the Spotlight” where I interview masters in Hollywood. We have featured more than 20 masters, including James Gunn (director of “Guardians of the Galaxy”), Joe Roth ( Producer and Former Chairman of 20th Century Fox and Disney), Brian Tyler (film composer), Mark Johnson (Producer and chairman of AMPA’s Foreign-Language Film Award Committee), and Chris Meledandri (Owner and CEO of Illumination Entertainment) and many more.
I have also spent a week promoting “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” with Stephen Amell in China. He was game to try every weird Chinese food which was fun for us.
Other famous people I have interacted with are
Wu Jing ( Director and Main Character of Wolf Worrier, which broke multiple records in China) Scarlett Johansson, and Ruby Rose.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
Audrey Hepburn because not only was she so talented and beautiful, but she had so much inner beauty and heart, doing a lot of charity work around the world.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in Hollywood?
I feel like I still have so much to learn about Hollywood! However, when interviewing so many Hollywood masters, I realize it is not just about your skill but about being a good, honest and respectful person. So much of this industry is based on word of mouth and in many ways your character out weighs your skill.
What do you do to “sharpen your craft”? Can you share any stories?
Even though acting and producing are very different, I feel that having a wide variety of experiences really nourishes each of these jobs, and really any work I do. It is great to take classes and study your craft, but daily life is often where I find inspiration, which feeds my work.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
The reason I wanted to do a show like “Behind the Spotlight” is to inspire the younger generation of artists in China and around the world, and to show them the hard work behind mastering a craft. Especially for China, where film is a rising industry, I feel it is important for people there to hear from these exceptional Hollywood professionals.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
I wish someone had told me to come to the U.S. earlier so I could have started producing a long time ago!
I wish someone had told me how many talented people are in the world. When I first came to Hollywood I remember feeling very confident, but then I saw how many talented people were here, and I realized I should have been working way harder!
I wish someone had told me to be cautious of bad apples in the industry because not everyone is genuine and honest, and it is easy to be ripped off.
I wish someone had told me I can pursue my career even after my 20s. In China there is a general idea that after you turn 30, you have to settle down and have a family. But here I see people constantly honing there craft, no matter what age and working hard, which is very inspiring.
I wish someone had told me I should learn to be more funny because I realize humor is so important to have in the U.S. and people respond well to it. I was trained to be more serious when I was young due to my family background. But coming to America I can see the value of humor. You can still make your point, but people enjoy it and remember it more when you say it with a sense of humor.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
I would love to have a meal with Leonardo DiCaprio, Elon Musk or Christopher Nolan because they are all legends in their field and have unique, one-of-a-kind personalities. They are already the historic figures of our generation, and their influence is incredible.