By Johnny Pak
For Northwest Asian Weekly
Actors, producers, directors, and about 200 other extras, including myself, all converged in Seattle’s Chinatown for the filming of “The Man in the High Castle” on Sept. 30.
The day started with a trip to a large parking lot in the Georgetown neighborhood. Upon boarding the bus, it was mainly full of Asian Americans. Many sat quietly, looking out windows, while others were engaged in conversation with strangers and friends. Call time was 10 a.m., but the bus did not leave until later.
A short journey later, we arrived in the International District in a parking lot under I-5. I was fitted with a pair of gray pants with a skinny brown belt, white shirt, bronze tie, gray hat, and my personal pair of black dress shoes.
All of the extras waited at Four Seas Restaurant until further instruction. That’s when I got a chance to meet a number of interesting individuals. Angelina, a native of Okinawa who spoke perfect English, came to the United States just two years ago and is currently in design school. Derek, a Taiwanese American from California just graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in computer science and is now working at Boeing. Selena, a Seattle native, is about to move to Las Vegas after buying a house with her fiancé.
About six hours later, we finally got the call to head out for the shoot. We walked to King Street, which was completely redecorated with new restaurant signs, historic cars, and motorcycles. Residents of Chinatown looked out their windows to watch all of the action.
In this scene, my job was to walk down King Street toward 7th Avenue while smoking a fake cigarette. My closest brush with fame is that one of the featured actresses walked past me on her way to another destination in the scene. The director decided to shoot this scene multiple times and then he called it a wrap.
This was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve ever had. It’s not often that there’s a demand for Asian actors in Seattle for a production of this scale. To feel like being a part of history and meeting new friends, it made for a very special day. (end)