Karl Yune’s Q&A Panel at Comic and Media Expo 2015
Karl Yune, most recently of Arrow fame, joined geeks in Mesa, AZ in the middle of October. His Q&A was relaxed and very welcoming. Honestly it felt more like hanging out at home, and less like a con panel. I planned to video the panel, but my camera did not co-operate (that whole dropping it thing). Luckily I managed to get one photo!
Mr. Yune’s filmography includes Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Real Steel, Memoirs of a Geisha, and of course Arrow. When asked, he said his favorite role so far was Maseo Yamashiro on Arrow, because of the deep story lines, the focus on the greater good, family, and humanity. He especially liked the flashbacks to Maseo’s past.
Growing up in D.C., Mr. Yune found acting late in life, through a mentor who was involved in politics. With his family always working, Mr. Yune said initially a lot of his guidance came from the streets. He soon realized that, that would only go so far before he had a bad return. That was when he looked to a neighbor who happened to be a federal judge. From the neighbor he learned acting is a powerful tool, and that many politicians study acting.
Mr. Yune auditioned for the role of Maseo twice, before hearing he had the part. He liked the character of Maseo on paper, though he admitted he did not know what it was for because he had never seen the show. His manager pushed him, and I am sure fans are grateful. An audience member asked if he felt the role of Maseo was typecast (or stereotype cast as the questioner said). Mr. Yune said he feels his role in Anacondas was type casting, but he feels the role of Maseo was not.
When asked about the cast of Arrow, he said “everyone on Arrow was so nice, very welcoming”. Since it was an Arrow panel, the inevitable question of pranks arose. The one he recalled was of a big burly stunt guy dressing as Marilyn Monroe and singing Happy Birthday to John Barrowman. Now that’s a visual! I wonder if there are any pics or videos of this? If any one finds them, share the links in the comments please.
Speaking of stunt doubles, many actors utilize the meticulously honed skills of these extremely brave men and women to handle the more active demands of a script. For at least one scene, Mr. Yune performed the stunt himself – being “slammed into and then dragged across the rough concrete”. His response to why, was that it makes it more real for the actors. This stunt was also his favorite by the way.
Someone in the audience asked how he felt having been killed off the show. To Mr. Yune it made sense; Maseo was a martyr in season 3 who “never got to experience his son”.
Since it was Comic and Media Expo, Mr. Yune was asked about comics, naturally. He likes Daredevil, because he uses “frequency” (i.e. sound waves) to ‘see’. He collected “all the comic books” as a kid, but was mostly a Marvel fan, because he feels they are more “fantasy world” where as DC is more “modern/real world”. His love of fantasy led to a followup question about D&D. His dream role (at least for the foreseeable future) would be a role-playing/D&D based character. As a kid he “used to fantasize about [his] costume as an elf paladin”.
Some actors prefer not to watch themselves on-screen. Mr. Yune does watch is work, though he is never satisfied because “that didn’t translate” (regarding an expression or emotion) or that he “could’ve been better”. Judging by the fans positive response it is safe to say ‘we are all our own worst critics’.
In his relatively short career, Mr. Yune has worked with some amazing people, besides the Arrow cast. He worked with Hugh Jackman (Real Steel)
and says “He’s great”; has no ego, and is a really nice guy. Mr. Yune also feels that the more obviously successful someone is the less stuck up they are. Conversely, he also said that the less obviously successful someone is the more stuck up they are.
His role in Memoirs of a Geisha (Koichi)
paired him with Gong Li (Hatsumomo) – a youthful crush.
He said he had no problem filming his scenes with Ms. Li, who is an “incredible actress” and a “legend in foreign films”. He was “excited to make out with her” and that “It wasn’t going to be hard” (filming the scenes you dirty birds).
In future roles he would like to work with Daniel Day-Lewis, Christian Bale, and Colin Farrell. A woman in the audience asked him to name at least one woman. He hesitated to think, just long enough for me to ask “Would you work with Gong Li again”? He nodded and said “Yes”. Everyone laughed, including Mr. Yune, and I got two high-fives for my question!
The life of an actor is not all glamour. In the last three months Mr. Yune has appeared at seven conventions. That’s a lot, although he said it is “very fun, very gratifying”. Hearing from fans, what it means to them that we [the actors] do this, is important, a confirmation. Fans are intelligent people he says.
He realizes the impact actors and the roles they take have on young people. For that reason he is careful that the work he does won’t do any harm. After hearing that, a kindergarten teacher (Eileen), in the audience thanked him for putting positive energy out in the world. In her school alone, she has seen how “the superheroes have been pulling children in a good direction”. Mr. Yune thanked her for being a teacher, and said he feels this new generation (he called them ‘generation z’ though no one was really sure if that was correct), would have the best of the ‘Baby Boomers’, ‘Gen X’, and ‘Gen Y’, and would brighten the future for humanity. Powerful words! To everyone at the panel, thank you for the great questions. To Ms. Eileen, thank you again for being a teacher, and telling us that superheroes are inspiring children to become better people. To Mr. Yune, thank you for being accessible to your fans, and for being conscious of your impact on youth! Best of luck in your career. Hopefully we can all live up to Mr. Yune’s mindfulness and build a better world for everyone.