It was just a couple of years ago when we first got introduced to Jason Wong. At the time, the British Asian actor was hard at work doing the press rounds for BBC’s Silent Witness. Two years on, Jason has made incredible strides in film appearing in a number of productions such as The Gentleman. 2023 however may be the breakout year for the actor as he stars in highly-anticipated flicks, Dungeons & Dragons and The Covenant.

No doubt, Jason’s success also provides a sense of nationalistic pride for both Singapore and Malaysia. After all, he has ties to both countries, being of Singaporean and Malaysian heritage. And he has certainly come a long way in his acting career too. A familiar face on British television, he first made waves as Kai in ITV crime drama series, Strangers.

His list of credentials that followed was equally impressive. He scored a regular series role as Adam Yuen in Silent Witness and also starred in the Channel 4 miniseries Chimerica. On film, his big screen credits include Netflix’s The 355 starring Jessica Chastain and Penélope Cruz and a role in the sci-fi blockbuster Solo: A Star Wars Story. He also played the scene-stealing role of Phuc in Guy Ritchie’s The Gentleman.

This year Jason is adding to his CV of film with roles in two major productions. This spring, he will star in the fantasy adventure epic Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, based on the hugely popular and influential table top role-playing game. The story centres on a group of unlikely heroes who embark on a mythic quest to retrieve a lost relic. In a large ensemble cast which also includes Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page and Hugh Grant, Jason will play ‘Dralas’, a fierce undead swordsman and one of the central villains of the story.

jason wong the covenant

Following soon after, Jason will be seen in another big release in Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant alongside Jake Gyllenhaal, Dar Salim, Johnny Lee Miller and Emily Beecham. The military action-thriller follows Sergeant John Kinley (Gyllenhaal), who goes on a one man-mission to retrieve the interpreter who risked his own life to save Kinley during a tour of Afghanistan.

Ahead of the release of both films, AugustMan cops another sit down with Jason Wong to discuss his upcoming projects, his pursuits beyond acting and the need for the Asian creative community to support one another.

You’ve been busy since we last spoke. How does it feel having both Dungeons & Dragons and The Covenant out this year?

It’s been a whirlwind having two films come out a few weeks after one another – it’s never happened to me before. Thank goodness I’m covered in make-up in Dungeons & Dragons, or the audience might grow sick of my face! It’s been really exciting to have two films come out back-to-back. They belong to very different genres, and I hope they will bring people to the cinema and have a great time.

You are taking on a villainous role in Dungeons & Dragons, who is Dralas in the film and what are you allowed to tell us about the character?

To put it simply, Dralas is a badass killer warrior assassin who wields a sword with magical green flames. Under the orders of the Red Wizards, he is sent to hunt down Edgin (Chris Pine) and his crew where he also encounters and faces an old foe, Xenk (Regé-Jean Page). Dralas eats souls for breakfast with his congee. Super menacing – if you saw him walking towards you, you should be scared and fear his presence. He’s the classic bad guy you don’t want to mess with.

The cast is stacked. As an actor, how does it feel being a part of such a large scale production?

To be honest, I didn’t feel overwhelmed until I walked onto set – then I was like “holy moly”. I’m from a humble hard-working immigrant family from Harrow Road, London. Being in a Paramount film with big names – it’s one of those moments you just got to stay focused, get on with the job at hand, and not let the scale of the production take over you. In short, it was bloody awesome! The rest of the cast, as expected, were great and we had a blast filming our scenes together.

Were you a fan of the game growing up?

I just missed that moment growing up when it was on TV. I played other board games similar to Dungeons & Dragons, but spent more time playing Street Fighter, Counter Strike and Call of Duty.

In terms of roles, do you prefer playing the antagonist or protagonist?

Come on! We all know the antagonist have way more fun stirring the pot and starting the fights. Although, I’d like to play a protagonist – watch this space.

In The Covenant, you’re back working with Guy Ritchie again. Are you excited to be working on another film with him?

Guy Ritchie, hands down is one of the most enjoyable directors to work with. It’s like being on set with a big brother. It’s no BS – we get on set and everyone’s got to be sharp and on the ball! We get in and get out and capture some real great moments on camera. Meanwhile, we are cracking jokes and eating a lovely lunch made by the boss on his cashmere caveman BBQ.

The Covenant is military action-thriller, not something Ritchie has done before. Was there a stark difference to his approach to this story versus The Gentleman?

Nothing much changes really – Guy and his producer/writer Ivan Atkinson always keep us on our toes. We don’t always tend to shoot the script that was written, as the dialogue always changes and evolves depending on the environment and energy on the day. The scene always has a clear objective at the top, for example “the team need to exit with X in the vehicle” – how we do that with the dialogue would often be improvised. Guy will give you lines before you rehearse and we’ll do it a few times to find rhythm. Then it’s a lighting line-up. Action.

It keeps it fresh, dynamic and in the moment. Some actors love it, some don’t. You have to be switched on. Personally, I love working like that – although maybe not if it was a long monologue! But Guy has a method for that too – which works and still gets a performance from the actor.

What appealed to you most about this project?

It’s not a storyline or a genre we’ve seen from Guy and his team before. It’s different – it’s about family, brotherhood and a promise. There is a lot more tenderness and vulnerability in this story. Yes, there is of course a good old ‘shoot ‘em up’ in the film as well. But there are moments where you’ll choke up in tears. It’s a beautiful film, which is a word you don’t usually hear being used when you think about a Guy Ritchie film.

What sort of roles do you pursue to challenge yourself as an actor?

I love the contrast of roles I’m getting at the moment. I grew up on action films, so enjoy high energy fast-paced projects with plenty of fight scenes and action choreography.

But in contrast, I would like the opportunity to play more vulnerable characters. I’ve had a good stint playing tough guy roles with hard exteriors and warrior archetypes. I’d love the chance to play a romantic lead in a love story. A character that is more poised with stillness and tenderness. I wouldn’t say no to a Bond or a Tom Cruise film though – they make some great movies.

Beyond acting, what other passions or pursuits are you actively involved in?

I love wine collecting. Hoping to make a documentary informing people about that, so keep an eye out for that. I’m also really into Brazilian Jiu jitsu, it’s one of my great passions that has helped me in life – mentally and physically. The bond between practitioners is something I can’t describe. Golf is another great pastime. Collecting watches is another hobby of mine. Most recently, I’ve been really enjoying clay pigeon shooting. I’ve got a newfound fondness for outdoor activities.

Do you feel there are substantial roles for Asian actors at the moment?

It’s only just the beginning – our stories are now just getting told. Of course, we need more. We as a community need to keep writing more and continue to make strong creative choices. I always say to Asian creatives, “don’t complain – create!”. Write, direct and produce your story. Ali Wong, Daniel Dae Kim, Justin Chon and execs like Tony To I feel are really leading on that front!

Most importantly, the creative Asian community needs to continue supporting each other. Organisations like WeSea and Cape in North America are doing some great work.

You have links to both Malaysia and Singapore. How deep does this heritage run in your veins and have you ever visited both homelands?

I was made in Singapore/Malaysia and I was assembled in London, England. They’re both home for me. If you cut me, Penang Laksa bleeds out. If you gut me, chicken rice gushes out of me. These two great countries both Malaysia and Singapore are ingrained in my DNA. I am proud to descend from both of these great nations.

But I am still able to hold my British values – I’m in a great position because I feel I can represent all three nations with pride. And why the hell not, it’s the melting pot of who I am: a British Chinese Malaysian Singaporean. And on that note peace out AugustMan readers – thanks for supporting your boy!

Catch Jason Wong in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, opening in cinemas 30 March.

Photos: Lee Malone

written by.

Richard Augustin

Digital Editor
Richard went from the confines of the kitchen working as a professional chef into the realm of media twenty years ago. In his two-decade career in writing, he has plied his trade in a number of regional print and digital media organisations in the lifestyle, in-flight, entertainment and finance space. When not busy chasing deadlines and writing stories for AugustMan, you can find him experimenting with recipes in his kitchen.
With Roles In Dungeons & Dragons And The Covenant, Actor Jason Wong Is Enjoying A Breakout Year In Film
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