I got the coronavirus early on, while filming New Amsterdam in New York in March. I felt a scratch in my throat on the plane back to Hawaii, where I live, so I quarantined when I got home and then got tested at a drive-through center. I spoke about it on Instagram in case people found it informative and because I wanted to call out racist behavior against Asian Americans.
I’ve spent about two and a half months in quarantine in 2020 because I’ve been traveling and quarantining before and after every trip. It’s not how I like to work. While I was recovering from the coronavirus, the opportunity to work in Korea came up, which is something I’d always wanted to do. Seoul recovered much faster than the U.S., so I was filming a hybrid Korean and American show there in April.
My workday spans 24 hours: I take early-morning calls with people in Europe, and I’m on calls late at night about projects in Asia. I’ve actually been busier during this pandemic than I was before, because one of the parts of my industry that has stayed active is development.
[In my acting career], every single role that I was up for, my race was a consideration. When I had the chance to become a producer and a creator, I wanted to give a voice to underrepresented communities. The first show I did was The Good Doctor. The main character was a doctor with autism, but it wasn’t just about having autism. It was originally a Korean show that I got the rights to and brought to the States. We recently announced a comedy starring [model and disability advocate] Nyle DiMarco about a young man who is deaf. We’re also doing a heist movie with a primarily Asian American cast: I’ll be in it with [Fresh Off the Boat star] Randall Park, and it’s written by Young Il Kim. Even in quarantine, you can do a lot with an internet connection.
Time he gets up
First thing he does in the morning
“I eat a bowl of cereal. Ever since college, I’ve eaten a bowl of Cracklin’ Oat Bran in the morning. Sometimes I mix it with Cheerios to make it healthier. Then I jump on work calls at about 7:15.”
How he handles email
“I’m always on email, which my wife doesn’t love. We have a rule that we all put away our phones at dinner, though.”
His relationship with social media
“It’s a great tool to talk to fans, but every new app seems to be a little more invasive and asks you to show more of your life. My son showed me the power of TikTok when I appeared in one of his videos. It went viral and now he has hundreds of thousands of followers.”
Last thing he does at night
“I read scripts—it’s almost better if they’re bad because then they will put me to sleep.”
Time he goes to bed