BD Wong is sitting across from me in Hawaii. We're surrounded by the sounds of waves and birds chirping. After a morning of torrential rain, the sun has come out to play and is drying the wet, lush greenery all around us.
And all I can think is that is the perfect setting for a science intervention.
After all, Wong plays Dr. Henry Wu, a character he originated 22 years ago in Jurassic Park, and who he played once more in this summer's Jurassic World. And Wu has a serious case of playing god, toying with the laws of nature and getting people eaten. Sure, it's all in a day's work as InGen's top geneticist and the man behind the dinos (and new monsters) at the prehistoric theme park.
And it is work that Wong is happy to be sinking his teeth into once more. The Tony Award-winning actor is well known for his long-running roles on Oz and Law & Order: SVU, and as the voice of Shang in Mulan, but Dr. Wu may be his most iconic part.
In Michael Crichton's 1990 book, Wu sees more action and dies at the hands (er, claws) of his raptor creations. In the 1993 movie, he has less to do but does get to explain that all the dinosaurs in the park are female -- and basically throws shade on Jeff Goldblum's Ian Malcolm. His survival in the first movie, which Wong said made him initially feel robbed of a great death, opened the door for the character to return in a bigger way in Jurassic World. This go-round, his skills have grown to match his hubris; he creates the Indominus Rex, a bigger, scarier dino attraction, and the character appears to be on a villain's path. But Wu also serves as a direct connection to the original movie, and the only character from Park to return in World (though there is that John Hammond statue, and Ian Malcolm book).
As an actor, Wong said Wu's return in Jurassic World, available today on DVD/Blu-ray, feels a little like vindication. Similarly, he said our little talk in Hawaii feels like good "actor karma." Although both Park and World filmed partially on the islands, Wong never did. Now, as a reward for staying alive as the
morally ambiguous "scientifically adventurous" Henry Wu, he gets to enjoy a working vacation on Oahu, talking to journalists.
In the following video, I talk to Wong about Wu's character arc and his mad scientist path. But we begin with me confronting him about something awkward: his human/dino hybrid experiments.