From Utah to China, from English childhood to Bruce Lee’s wife, sounds a little bizarre. So bizarre to be true, of course, and yes, Vampires Suck. I thought you would like that little curve ball at the bottom of the ninth!! The lovely and statuesque Michelle was indeed born in Utah and did indeed spend some years in merry old England before moving to Colorado Springs before settling down to complete twelve years of schooling in the cool beauty of Wisconsin. This was followed by a degree in acting from Northwestern University in the even cooler climes of Old Chicago. So I am still batting one-thousand when I tell you that Michelle spent more than six months in China playing Bruce Lee’s Mrs. in The Legend of Bruce Lee. Long enough to master conversational Mandarin and take on Wushu, a modern form of martial arts, an internationally recognized sport which combines both exhibition and full contact formats. Like all martial arts disciplines Wushu demands discipline, dexterity, speed and a great deal of toughness. Michelle continues to train at the National Wushu Training Centre in Los Angeles although I am not sure it helped her when she got killed off in Vampires Suck though it would have been fun to see her try. This parody of the Twilight franchise certainly could have used Michelle’s kick-arse skills in the later scenes.
And Michelle is also proving quite versatile having now made several movies, TV shows and shorts, as well as directing, producing and writing on other projects and even working as a motion-capture performer on a popular video game. It would seem that Michelle has all the right moves to have a long and successful career on whichever side of the camera she enjoys the most….
You can check out Michelle’s latest project here:
Michelle has also set up a fantastic website:
Where you can find her resume, photos, demo reel and lots lots more or come and say g’day to Michelle on Facebook:
On her excellent website you will also discover that I have merely grazed the surface when it comes to Michelle’s many acting and sporting talents. Recently, the totally gregarious Michelle took some time out to peruse my questions and below is what she had to say…
David: Hello Michelle. This is the part where I ask you to recount your very first autograph signing and how you felt at the time?
Michelle: The first time I got asked for an autograph was in China. I was on shoot location at a hospital, sitting at a lunch table near a cluster of smoking patients. The absurdity of smoking in a hospital, coupled with the insane heat, and the randomness getting asked for an autograph was only topped by the fact that I tried to sign my name in English AND Chinese. Which wouldn’t be so bad, except I got fancy and attempted to write the Chinese symbols for something like, “With love and serenity, Michelle Lang” Now, I can speak conversational Chinese, but I can’t write characters worth beans, so I probably ended up writing something like, “When pigs fly, the cheese do stink. Michelle Lang.” (Laughter) Whoever has that autograph…I want it back.
David: You have been making films, TV and shorts for about seven years now and looking back, what has been the scariest or most surprising experience you’ve encountered so far?
Michelle: Seven years…Goodness. I guess that’s including when I was still studying acting in Chicago, which makes sense because I was at NU when I got my first professional acting job doing motion capture for Midway Video Games. I was shocked when I landed the job seeing as I didn’t even bring in a headshot to the audition. Among other roles, I played the two lead twin females in a game called, Psi-Ops: Mindgate Conspiracy.
The “scariest” experience was while shooting an independent short film about five years ago called, Skin. It’s an extremely beautiful, metaphorical film about the inward torment of a young woman. Reading the script I told the director she had to convince me why it was really necessary to have live cockroaches crawling over my bare back during one of the sequences. Somehow she did…and let me tell you, those little buggers are CREEPY.
David: Do you collect any movie memorabilia or autographs, and if so what are your favourites?
Michelle: I love James Dean and Marilyn Monroe things.
David: If any person in history could sign their photo for you, who would it be and what would you like them to say in their dedication?
Michelle: I would have James Cameron sign it: “Come do a role in my next film. Seriously, James.”
David: Have you attended any autograph or memorabilia shows yet? And if so what is your favourite?
Michelle: I’ve only attended impromptu ones in China. I went back the summer after shooting The Legend of Bruce Lee with my mom to do a different show over there and people would gather to take photos/autographs whenever we would sit or stop moving. I’m not sure if they recognized me, or if they were just excited to see today’s youth travelling with their parents!
David: And have you had any unusual or humorous requests from an autograph hunter or fan?
Michelle: I just got a letter last week from someone who asked me to sign the movie stub from Date Movie which came out in 2006. They are either incredibly loyal or just haven’t cleaned out under their dresser for a while. (Laughter) But in all seriousness, I get some fun comments at my Facebook page. I think it's really kind of people to take time out of their days to say hello or tell me they saw my series.
David: If you got the chance to work with any director, actor or actress, whom would you most like to work with and in what genre?
Michelle: Oh man. There are so many great ones. : For a drama, I would choose Paul Thomas Anderson, Jonathan Glazer, Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron, David Fincher….For action/drama would love to work with JJ Abrams or Ben Affleck. For Comedy it would be the Duplass brothers, Stephen Chow. Actually, who am I kidding, I would do any genre with any of those directors and would count myself very blessed to have done so. There are some extremely talented directors who are currently more “under the radar”: Amin Matalqa, Nelms Bros. For Actors/Actresses I have quite the mix that I would be incredibly excited to work with at any point in my career: Javier Bardem, John C. Reilly, Jeremy Renner, Francis McDormand, Judi Dench, Laura Dern, Ben Kingsley, Ray Winstone… just to name a few.
David: One of your first major roles was to play the role of Bruce Lee’s wife, Linda in The Legend of Bruce Lee. You filmed thirty-two episodes in China, which must have been both exciting and very different for you. Could you share with our readers one of your favourite after-dinner stories from your six-month stay there?
Michelle: Shooting almost every day was definitely my favourite part of being there, but as far as stories go: One week Ian (now my fiancé) came to visit me. He has a sweet tooth, so I tried to take him to a dessert place during a lunch break. In the restaurant, there was this big poster of giant ice cream Sunday with chocolate chips and peanut butter chunks on the wall. So we pointed to that and to several other random items on the menu. Now, in China they are big into putting beans in their desserts. Apparently it’s good for “cooling” the system. It had become a running joke with Ian and me, so we were both looking forward to the ice cream sundae. Our first order comes and it’s mushrooms in a sugar sauce. Not a big hit. Our next order comes and it’s fruit cocktail in sparkling water. Also, not a big hit. So finally the big sundae come out and it looks like a massive delicious mound of ice cream as it exits the kitchen, but is it ice cream? NOOOO. It’s shaved ice with raisins and BEANS. BEANS! We couldn’t believe it. No wonder the Chinese are so petite! Their desserts are what American’s consider a healthy, well-rounded meal!
David: Was the stunt work in Bolden! a one-off or do you plan to do more stunt work in the future, and what exactly did your stunt work involve?
Michelle: I got involved with the stunt world when I got a role in a film and the production paid for me to train privately with Eric Chen at the National Wushu Training Center. His is actually the one who initially introduced me to the producer and director of, The Legend of Bruce Lee. We spent a lot of time in China together and when I wasn’t filming, I would go train with him and the stunt crew, even though Linda Lee didn’t do much fighting in the series. When I got back from shooting, I continued to study Wushu and I’m scheduled to test for my black belt in February 2011. I’ve also trained stunts, wire work, high falls, ratchet, weapons…all good tools because I like being able to actually DO the physical work certain roles require.
David: What sort of adventures or activities would we find you doing when you’re not in front of a camera?
Michelle: I am a huge fan of youth entertainment. I’ve written/directed/produced plays geared towards middle school audiences, and I am currently moving into screenplays. I have a script called, Guber Jump, which has been getting great feedback from its first few reads around town. It just got sent out into the world, so if anyone out there wants to make a kids movie with me…
I also train Martial arts several times a week, teach Pilates, play tennis, swim, write children’s books, and oil paint. I'm also producing a film, "Lost on Purpose" which is shooting spring 2011.
David: Since childhood you have travelled extensively and I wondered what location fills you with the most joy and where you eventually see yourself spending the larger part of your life?
Michelle: I would love to be able to continue to travel for both work and play. I love travelling for shoots because you get to see things that are off the beaten path and it’s such a gift to explore at that depth. Eventually I want to have kids and I think “home” will be anywhere my husband and kids are. Right now “home” is wherever my parents are, even though I live thousands of miles away.
David: Thinking about your life and your travels, can you relate a story or incident, which tells us something very different about you as person, rather than the actress who graces our TV screens.
Michelle: I get really shy if people see me right away in the morning. I need a cup of tea and a solid ten minutes of alone time before I crawl out of my shell and can function in a productive way. Oh, and I bake an amazing lemon meringue pie. It’s my grandmother’s recipe and it is absolutely DEEEEELICIOUS.
The IMDb Database
The Official Michelle Misty Lang Website
Photos courtesy of Miss Lang