‘Boogie’ Interview: Taylor Takahashi on his audition and representation

A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to chat with Taylor Takahashi, the star of Eddie Huang’s Boogie. While Taylor is new to the acting world, he has worked behind the scenes before landing this role. Taylor and I talk about what it was like to be cast in the role and what it was like to work with Eddie as his assistant over the years. It’s a pretty fascinating story and goes to show you that you never quite know when you could land your first big break. Be sure to check out Boogie in theaters or on various PVOD platforms, including Amazon Prime, Fandango Now, Vudu, and Apple TV.

Scott Menzel: Hey, Taylor, how are you?

Taylor Takahashi: I’m well. Thank you, man. How are you?

Scott Menzel: Good. I appreciate you’re taking the time to talk with me today.

Taylor Takahashi: Of course, I’m happy too.

Scott Menzel: I really enjoyed the film. It was really good. I love seeing different types of coming of age stories, and it’s about time we see one that’s focused on Asian-Americans.

Taylor Takahashi: I agree. I think it’s been a long time coming.

Scott Menzel: I wanted to ask, can you walk me through the audition process for this?

Taylor Takahashi: Yes, my audition was probably not traditional. What people typically go through, I was Eddie’s assistant up until three weeks before production. I walked into the studios in Astoria, and he greeted me at the front door, which… Eddie is a nice guy, but he never greets me at the front door. So he asked for my phone, he asked for my laptop and I thought I was fired. He took it away from me and gave me scene 44, which was the Michael Chang scene. While I’m sitting on the couch with Mr. Chin, watching the Chang, Lendl a tennis match. He told me I could take as long as I want, about three or four hours, eat lunch, but don’t do anything. Don’t answer your phone, don’t look at an email. I’ve got all of that. And I want you to try to remember these lines. It took about three and a half hours. I went into our line producer, Mike Todd Rose’s office was right next door, and we recorded that scene. He sent it into the studio along with a couple of words of encouragement and why he wanted to do it. And I had three weeks to prepare to become Boogie.

Scott Menzel: Wow. That’s incredible.

Taylor Takahashi: Thank you.

Scott Menzel: Obviously, there’s a little bit of a topic in the film about being included in inclusivity. After this past weekend, I feel like there’s a bigger conversation that we’ll continue to have in Hollywood. For you, do you feel like things are turning around in this industry? I know you’re relatively new to the acting world, but you seem to be in it for a little bit behind the scenes.

Taylor Takahashi: Yeah. I think I’m new to the industry for me, but I think the industry gives you a platform. For me, it’s starting to see the tide change a little bit. I want more of the real and authentic stories to start coming out. And I think that’s what’s important. Crazy Rich Asians was great to have Asian representation and see it, but the reliability factor wasn’t there. I don’t live a crazy rich lifestyle where I have access to everything. What Boogie allows for is just the normalization. People have been through this in some rich way. People have their version of Boogie, whether that’s… You’re into basketball or not. You’ve been through this, and you understand it, and you can relate to it. And so that’s what makes this so special; it’s because people can tap into the realness and the authenticity. I hope that that starts to flame around and starts to kind of wildfire in a way where we can start getting these authentic stories being told because they’re out there, we’ve been through them. We know them, and we want them to be represented.

Scott Menzel: I agree. I know I have to wrap it up. I want to say, I do completely agree with you. I love when I see stories of everyday stories. I don’t like when it’s just like a marketing agenda where I watch a movie, and I’m like, “Oh yeah, this is the first of this kind. The first of this.” I want everyday stories. Thank you for that answer. I loved talking to you, and best of luck to you in your career.

Taylor Takahashi: Thank you so much, Scott. It was a pleasure. Take care.

Scott Menzel: Nice talking to you. Take care.

Taylor Takahashi: All right. It was cool. Thank you, Scott.

Boogie is now available to rent on various PVOD platforms and is playing in theaters nationwide.

Written by
Born in New Jersey, Scott Menzel has been watching film and television since he was three years old. Growing up, he watched as many movies as he could and was highly influenced by the films of Tim Burton, John Hughes, Robert Zemeckis, and Steven Spielberg. Scott has an Associate's Degree in Marketing, a Bachelor's in Mass Media, Communications, and a Master's in Electronic Media. He has been writing film reviews under the alias of MovieManMenzel since 2003 and started his writing career as a contributing critic at IMDB.com and Joblo.com. In 2009, Scott launched MovieManMenzel.com where he posted several of his film reviews but in 2011 decided to shut down the site when he launched We Live Film.com. In 2015, We Live Film became We Live Entertainment. The domain name change occurred after months of debate but was done so that he and his fellow staff members could write about anything and everything in the world of entertainment.

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