Hello Asia editor Johnny Au catches up with SBS PopAsia Co-Host Andy Trieu about playing the character Fury in the upcoming Kung Fu Comedy Maximum Choppage that is premiering on ABC2 at 9pm on Tuesday 24th February.
Hello Andy Trieu! Can you tell me a little about your character “Fury” in Maximum Choppage?
I don’t want to give too much away but Fury is a villain in Maximum Choppage. He’s a vicious, charismatic leader of his own gang called the “V-Teks”, you know like the Honda VTEC cars? (laughs) So he does backflips and tricky kung fu martial arts. The V-Teks are really young so they’re cocky but at the same time they’re also quite naïve. Fury and the V-Teks are also based in Cabramatta. Fury hears about Simon’s (played by Lawrence Leung) apparent martial arts training in China and his main goal is to take down Simon because he feels very threatened. Also, one of Simon’s best friends on Maximum Choppage is a girl called Petal (played by Stephanie Son) and Fury likes her so that’s another reason why Fury wants Simon to be out of the picture.
So there’s a bit of a romantic back story to your character?
Fury is a bit of a try hard! I think he really wants to prove himself. You know when you’re young and you’re really insecure? You want to prove yourself. I don’t know about you Johnny but…
I’ve always been like that Andy!
Well fair enough! (laughs)
Tell me about the martial arts in Maximum Choppage?
It was really cool doing the martial arts in the show. I loved learning all the choreography and getting to fight with the other characters in the show. My background is competing in Shaolin kung-fu & Wushu so learning the choreography was quite easy. A lot of what I used to do was to learn the choreography and the performance pieces. So getting to know the choreographer was great because I could add in pieces which fit in and they were very receptive to it. So I was able to give Fury, who has a tag line “Unleash the Fury!” a few moves around that line. That was really cool and fun to come up with it. Although it was weird saying that around Lawrence because I used to fanboy around him! (laughs)
How did you get the role of Fury? Did you know some of the cast or did you go through the audition process?
It’s a really long story but I’m really good mates with the Maximum Choppage creator Timothy Ly. This series was originally a short film and Timothy wanted to pitch it as a TV show. We were trying different avenues to assist him with getting funding and then five years later it got funded as a TV show. I guess I was part of the original journey for a bit. But once it gets funded it goes to a level playing field where you get cast against everyone else. I was up against Remy Hii and other awesome Asian-Australian actors for the role even though I knew some people in the production team. It goes back to a level playing field because the producers want the best person to play the character. So I had to work really hard to get the role.
When you were growing up, do you remember people who were like Fury?
Yes, I’m not going to lie but some bits of Fury came from me! (laughs) I remember when I was 15 and I totally thought I was so gangster. I had long Vietnamese hair and it was dyed blond – in fact my hair is blond today, I’m still a try hard! All I had to do was to channel that. I have a younger brother who is 16 and he is going through that phase too. So it was a combination of looking at my brother and looking through my old photos.
The whole series of Maximum Choppage is set to the backdrop of the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta. Looking back over the years we’ve seen Cabramatta change from the infamous area to what it is now; which is a thriving neighbourhood of Australian multiculturalism. But it still has this Vietnamese soul. It was really clever how Lawrence Leung put aspects of Cabramatta’s past problems into the script.
They’ve created a whole new, surreal world around Cabramatta. They’ve replaced the drug dealing with DVD piracy. So my gang in the series the V-Teks, run a DVD pirating trade and we’re taking over turf. So we’ve replaced the reality with funny and awkward things like that. I think this will put Cabramatta on the map again. Actually, it was quite funny shooting the series in Cabramatta and seeing lots of older Asian mums stopping by and wanting to be involved in the shoot. And it was the first time we’ve had a mainly Asian cast in an Australian TV show and that was definitely different and fantastic. Just about all the extras were Asian background from Cabramatta. I think this made the community feel they were part of this production in some form.
It’s really great to show this uniquely Asian story on a channel like ABC2 when you usually expect something like this on SBS?
Definitely. In the show we actually shoot a K-Pop video! So my character Fury and his gang is in a band and we team up with this other villain to create a K-Pop music video.
Talking about K-Pop lets move to a different Segway and talk about SBS PopAsia which you co-host. How’s it going at PopAsia? Have you settled into the role?
It’s coming up to a year now which is good fun. I’ve definitely felt like I’ve settled in heaps more and Jamaica dela Cruz (host of PopAsia) seems like my working wife now (laughs). So I think our dynamic has grown and I can’t see it working without her, ever! We’ve been working together on promos for the hit Chinese dating show If You Are The One on SBS2. There’s also work on live broadcasting and writing skits for the show. I’ve been able to be more of an idiot on the show! (laughs).
Do you ever see yourself on the Chinese dating show “If You Are The One” as a contestant? Could be the best episode we’ve ever seen?
Yeah definitely! (laughs) I think it’ll be so funny when all the girls turn off their lights on the show. We actually did a few parodies pretending to be on the show on PopAsia and I was like “I work at SBS” and all the females turned off their lights!
C’mon now Andy! (laughs)
(Laughs) It’s been great at PopAsia. The team is close and it’s getting bigger and we’re hoping to do many more exciting things. Bigger interviews and we are getting another big K-Pop star joining the team. So being part of this journey so far has been really awesome. Having a really nurturing team has helped me grow as a presenter as well.
What’s on the horizon for you for the rest of this year?
I’m working on three movies. One of them is a Bollywood film called UNindian and stars the cricketer Brett Lee. The film has been shot and is in post-production. The second is called Alex & Eve and its directed by Australian director Peter Andrikidis and its like a Wogboy kind of film. And the last one is one I’m pretty excited about and its called Me and My Mates vs The Zombie Apocalypse and it was shot last year and it stars US comedian Jim Jefferies, YouTube star Alex Williamson and comedian Greg Fleet. The film comes out in May this year. Besides that I’m still hosting a show called “Kitchen Whiz” on Channel 9 and airs on Channel Go on Saturday at 12pm. You’ll also see me on SBS PopAsia!
You’re everywhere Andy!
We’ll see how we go!
Looks like a really busy year ahead for you Andy Trieu. We can’t wait to see your character Fury and the V-Teks on Maximum Choppage. Thank you very much for talking to me and good luck with PopAsia, Bollywood, movies and whatever else you’re working on!
Cheers appreciate it!
Maximum Choppage screens on ABC2, Tuesdays at 9pm