I recently got the chance to talk to Tom Choi about his role as Liu Kang in the new ‘Mortal Kombat’ game. Here, Tom talks about the game, and about his life as an actor and voice-over artist….
Hey Tom. Thanks for taking the time out to speak to me. Obviously, we’re here to talk about your role in the new ‘Mortal Kombat’ game that’s just been released worldwide. First off, were you a fan of the franchise before you signed on?
Of course I was a fan. I am a huge video game junky. ‘Mortal Kombat’ has come a long way since the early days of paste and cut live characters. It was probably the scantily clad girls in their costumes that hooked me as a young boy. The live-action movies were entertaining even though they were pretty cheesy.
You voice the character of Liu Kang (and you have also played him before in ‘Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe’) – how does it feel to voice such an iconic character?
Its funny. I have done a lot of acting and it’s always the projects that harken back to memories growing up that really are special. I was in ‘Minority Report’ and it was such an amazing experience working with the director of all my favorite films growing up – ‘Raiders’, ‘ET’, ‘Close Encounters’, even ‘Goonies’. So voicing Liu Kang was something that I instantly took pride in. No matter how much we want to be respected fancy artists, there’s nothing like playing a role that all your friends think is cool. Or it could be just the nerd in me speaking.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
It’s just the old-fashioned story of auditioning in a long hallway with a bunch of other guys. And I was the lucky one to get the job. Nothing magical, just practice and utilizing my training.
Have you played the game yet? What do you think of the end result?
I haven’t played the game yet. But from the reviews I’m seeing, it’s getting some great feedback. I’ve always thought that any sort of game sequel needs to stick with the same gameplay as what made it originally successful, and this has definitely has done that. Albeit with updated graphics.
Let’s talk about you Tom – why did you want to get into acting in the first place?
I started acting when I was forced to play the Big Bad Wolf in my elementary school play. I wore this paper mask and proceeded to forget all my lines. I think just a traumatic experience really forces you to either accept defeat or conquer it. The bug really hit in high school. My first play was ‘West Side Story’. I played a Jet.
What advice would you give for anyone wanting to get into acting or voice-over?
This is a cliché. But don’t. If you can do something else, do it. But if you really want to pursue it, then go for it. Why… because there’s a lot of ups and downs, mostly downs, and only raw perseverance will get you through. And the second most important thing is: train, practice and allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. I can’t tell you how many people think they are all ready for their Oscar speech and don’t even know what down-stage and up-stage are.
You’ve appeared as a guest in a number of TV series, such as ‘Chuck’, ’24’, ‘ER’, ‘Leverage’, ‘Ghost Whisperer’, ‘Prison Break’, ‘Bones’ and ‘CSI Miami’: which of these has been your favourite to work on and why?
’24’ was a great experience. It was also one of the most challenging. Many times, some scenes were more intense than others. On ’24’, if you have a scene where you are going to take a piss, you are taking a piss knowing that a nuclear bomb will go off any minute, or your partner just died minutes ago. Its intense and if as an actor you can’t rev yourself up and prepare for that intensity in every scene, you will fail.
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
Actually, I just completed a role on a new sitcom for NBC. It’s currently entitled the ‘Untitled Kari Lizer Project’. We just wrapped yesterday in fact. But if the audience reaction was any indication to go by, it’s going to be a huge hit. It was pleasure to work with the cast and veteran crew, so Google in this instance would be a great way to get more information about it. Also please visit my website – www.tensionfilms.com for my current information, as well as my IMDB page.
Thanks for the interview!