We live in a world brimming with vibrant hues and saturated palettes, but thrive in the grey areas of this universal kaleidoscope. It is in this arena that true genius is discovered and nurtured. However, be cautious not to stray too far from the warmth of the technicolor world we deem as reality, for it is possible to get lost in the miasmic labyrinth of blind rhetoric and perplexing values. In this Monochromatic Vibrancy we call life one must never lose sight of the moment and always hold a weathered eye to the horizon.
Actor: Peter Loung @peterloung @The Characters Talent Agency
Photographer: Tristan Alexander @shotbyxander_
How did you get involved with acting? Where are you based now?
I have always been a performer. From the age of eight I was playing classical guitar recitals and venue performances. This, subsequently, threw me headlong into the world of music and music videos. To add to the repertoire, I started dancing for said music videos, which then paved the way to me becoming an actor. So, in a way, I got involved in the business through a backdoor. Performances, tours and location filming has afforded me the honour of being able to travel the globe, however, I still call Toronto, Canada my home!
What do you love most about being an actor? And, what do you least enjoy?
The admonition to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes is at the crux of what attracts me to acting. I am a student of the human condition and there is no better teacher of said condition then studying reality through someone else’s eyes. Moreover, I revel in looking outside of my own personal biases and experiences to view a world without prejudice or pretense. As per what I least enjoy, I would be lying to myself if I said that I relish rejection. On the contrary, I am a person, as narcissistic as this may sound, who likes hearing the word yes. This is not to stroke my ego, but rather is a validation of hard-work. This juxtaposition between repudiation and acknowledgement is an on-going battle, and I live for it.
Tell us more about yourself. What else do you do next to acting?
As aforementioned, I have always been a performer, from starting guitar at the age of five, to running away with the circus in my early twenties, I have had a colourful and varied career in the arts. Currently I compose symphony orchestra and have started modeling again, I am still training acrobatics and martial arts and have started along the path of film production via producing and directing. Along with those enterprises, I am proud to announce that I have started a clothing line! Persona Couture was born out of my want to create clothing in which I would wear. My designs are bold and impenitent, embodying the flavours of old school Punk and new age Hip Hop. Though drawing influences from the likes of Philipp Plein, John Varvatos, Pierre Balmain and Alexander McQueen, my designs are unapologetically Peter Loung and intimately speak to my aesthetic. Originally only for myself, Persona Couture has snowballed into what can only be considered a brand. There is an old axiom, “time waits for no one” and for the time that I am given I choose to spend it creating art in any way, shape or form.
What fuels your imagination and provides you with inspiration?
“…As imagination bodies forth, the forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing.” This Shakespearean quote is the rub of what fuels imagination and inspiration. To get a bit abstract, I am inspired by inspiration, and as Shakespeare’s poet pens shapes giving them form, my imagination creates worlds unseen and untampered begging for exploration. Furthermore, in these times of turmoil and civil unrest the mere notion of being inspired is inspirational to me and should be analyzed with extreme fervor and joy.
In your own eyes, how has the acting experience changed you as a person? What have you learned?
I am a dreamer, and in pursuing my dream of being a working, successful actor I have had to learn patience and acceptance. The pursuit of anything “off-the-beaten-track” is, oftentimes, a soul-destroying and arduous journey riddled with landmines and booby-traps, however, it is the possibility of triumph which gives me hope. Just by navigating the terrain of acting has taught me volumes, covering the gamut from memory to emotion, howbeit the most profound change has been in my focus. I am now able to fully tune out everything around me, appreciating and reacting-to the slightest change in nuance. This has taught me to be entirely “in-the-moment” and sympathetic to change. Moreover, I have learned to listen.
Share your wildest story on set.
Let me preface this next vignette by saying that I do not know if this constitutes as a “wild” story, but it definitely holds a special place in my memory. I was fortunate enough to book a role in the dark comedy “Death to Smoochy” directed by Danny DeVito, starring Robin Williams and Edward Norton. We were on a set change at the Maple Leaf Gardens, in Toronto Canada, and Robin, feeling a bit rambunctious and spirited, called out to Danny DeVito, “Yo Danny, I need a mic my man.” Within a few minutes a Production Assistant gave Robin a wireless handheld microphone and he proceeded to give an impromptu stand-up comedy performance for the cast, crew and background performers in attendance; he was in rare form doing what he does best. After his “scripted material” he opened up the floor to questions from the background, who mainly consisted of children ranging in ages from six to ten years. Most asked him to do impersonations, or asked him how he got started, but there was one little boy who boldly asked, “Robin Williams, are you a pedophile?!” The room went deafeningly silent as everyone was taken aback, but without hesitation Robin masterfully responded, “You’re from the National Enquirer aren’t you? I’ve heard of you guys!” This off-the-cuff return deftly diffused the situation and brought it back to the realm of light-hearted comedy.
What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?
Courage comes in many shapes and forms, from feats of physical endangerment to helping those in need, but true courage comes from within and is, oftentimes, invisible to others. Just the mere act of “putting on a smile” while suffering heartache is an audacious venture. So, with that stated, my most courageous endeavour has been not giving in to self-doubt and statistical hyperbole. It has been chasing a dream which, for all intended purposes, is just that -- a dream. It has been being told ad nauseum that I am not tall enough, not strong enough, not handsome enough, not sexy enough, not talented enough, not Asian enough and just plain not good enough, all-the-while holding my head high, ignoring the onslaught. To sum it up, the most courageous thing that I have done is to not give up, or give in.
What do you think is the most important trait of an actor?
Acting is, at its best, re-acting to a situation and being grounded in the nuances and idiosyncrasies of your character, creating an honest connection between both your scene partner and your audience. However, before all of those gradations can take place there is a very fundamental skill which needs to be honed, and that skill is memorization. It is the job of the actor to know their lines inside and out, this is only achievable if memory skills have been refined. So to answer the question, the most important, and fundamental, trait of an actor is, in my humble opinion, the ability to memorize lines.
Is there anything you would change about the acting industry if you could?
This is a question seeped in controversy and historical truths, for as though the road to becoming an actor is in constant flux, take, for example, the advent of self-tapes taking over live auditions, there are certain givens which have stood the test of time. One of these unfortunate truths is that you only hear back from casting if you book a role. This then leaves us actors in a state of oblivion the majority of the time, lost in a miasmic bog of uncertainty as to whether-or-not our performances were any good. So if there was one thing I could change in the industry it would be the communication between casting and agent regarding rejection.
What projects are you working on next, and what are your goals for the future?
I am currently the lead on a TV series entitled “Rising Suns” which will be going back to camera very soon to finish up a second season. I am also attached to a couple features in the pre-production phase. As for my prospective goals, I try to live in the present, consciously not looking to the past, or the future for solace, but being mindful of the moment and basking in its importance. With that said, I do have a couple dreams in which I would like to see come to fruition. First, I would like to be a series regular on a show “with legs,” an episodic so entrenched in the psyche of pop culture that it becomes a staple. Shows like “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “Friends” or “Supernatural” have hit those heights and will be forever engrained in our culture. Along with that, I would like to produce my own films and write my own scripts showcasing sides to my persona that even I have not thoroughly explored. However, as crucial as all of those wishes may be, they pale in comparison to this next one. I would like to be able to look at myself in the mirror and be content with the person gazing back at me. An honest, hard-working performer who no longer chases contracts for financial reasons, but chooses projects based on his love of the craft.
Where can we see more of your works and get connected with you?
You can find me in the ether of cyber space on Facebook and Instagram, can keep up with my acting career via IMDB and see me on your small screens on streaming services and network television!