What was the best part about spending time in Singapore and Malaysia?
Yang: Oh my God, the food, the people. Everybody was so on the same page about food. Everybody loved Asian food and we all just gorged ourselves. I was jokingly saying this, but I might be serious: I want to start an Instagram that's just Gemma Chan, [who plays Astrid], eating. Wouldn't that be amazing? Because she's gorgeous and skinny, doesn't gain weight. For my birthday like a dozen people went to an all-you-can-eat shabu hot pot place and Gemma was the last woman standing. She kept eating and kept eating and kept eating when we are all done. I was like, man, there's something so cool about this girl because of that. And every time we go out -- when we were in Dallas, she was in a Valentino gown eating Texas barbecue off a paper plate. That's amazing. That needs to have her own Instagram.
It seems like you developed a really close relationship with Kevin.
Yang: Kevin is the best. Kevin is like my Gandalf into the high-end lifestyle. The stuff he wrote about in the book, Valentino, whatever styles, I have no idea when I read it. I still shop at H&M and Zara. I live in West Hollywood now. He showed me all these places on Melrose Place that I didn't even know existed. All these high end furniture stores. You have to ring a bell on the side to get in. Now I have a much more appreciation of these things. He just actually helped me pick out this paint color in my bedroom. Now because I know I have to spend a lot more money for things to look like the way I want, maybe a way that Kevin would approve.
You did a dramatic role in Patriot's Day, you've done a bunch of different comedies, The Opening Act is your first leading role. What are your dreams and the goals now?
Yang: Doing Opening Act made me a be a little more honest with myself because the schedule is so daunting. Nobody ever talks about how hard an actor works. We all just see, "Oh, Mark Wahlberg, he made the most money last year, or like The Rock." But these people work so hard, it's insane. They wake up at like 5 a.m., start working out and working. Nobody ever talks about that. But doing Opening Act -- even shooting in Malaysia and Singapore -- as fun as it was, it was hard work. So it's like, what kind of roles do I really like to play? I think the Bernard Tai roles, the really character-y, fun crazy roles. When at some point I can show my reel and it's Patriot's Day, Jian-Yang, and Bernard Tai: That's very fun to me to be able to show that range and be somebody I'm not, in a way. You get to kind of mentally escape for a while, which is very fun. But of course the challenging, the heartfelt roles. We all have dreams of winning an Oscar one day. And doing projects that are meaningful. Like this one, like Crazy Rich Asians. Hopefully down the line getting into producing, directing, writing. Me and Ken, we're actually working on something together.
Oh really? Can you say anything about that? Did you and Ken dream this up on the Crazy Rich Asians set?
Yang: When I saw the cast and crew premiere, I was like, "Me, Ken, and Awkwafina have to do something together." So we kind of got together, brainstormed a little. I can't talk too much about it. Nothing is signed or anything, but we talk a lot and we have some ideas brewing. I think mainly the great part of [Crazy Rich Asians] is it's our camaraderie, but also it hopefully opens up doors for people to be more open to see Asian faces, Asian leads. And letting us tell our stories. We have so many stories we want to tell. Like my book, for example! I want to turn it into a TV show and a movie. There has been some great interest, and I have to imagine it's because this movie has helped a lot. Because this movie has gotten all this hype people are looking for more authentic storytelling.