1. Your parents were both in the entertainment industry in Vietnam. Was your interest in acting something that was influenced by your parents at an early age even before you immigrated to the U.S.?
Dustin: Actually, I was never interested in acting as a child despite my parents being performers. I was too painfully shy to even think of performing in front of people. I did however have a great love for films, and as a young adult decided to study filmmaking. You could say I’m definately a student of film.
2. You grew up in Vietnam when it was a war torn country and then left your homeland at a young age as a refugee in a foreign land, the USA. Did these very traumatic experiences when you were young help shape you as an actor and how so?
Dustin: I would venture to say that the traumatic experiences in my childhood had a profound imapct on me – a desire and a need to express myself; to vent all that angst and confusion perhaps. I also find that I’m attracted to certain kind of characters, the outcasts.
3. Obviously your wife’s paralysis due to an auto accident in 2001 was a devestating experience and your devotion to her led the both of you to be active in the Reeve Paralysis Resource Center. How did that experience change your view of your acting career if at all?
Dustin: This particular event made me realize that life is too short and you have to live it your way. Part of that is taking charge of your acting career, and not wait for the phone to ring. I’ve had some modest success and lucky breaks, but I was still unsatisfied creatively with the quality of roles that are available to asian men in Hollywood. I wanted to write and produce and direct stories I’m fond of and with Vietnamese language films I’m able to do this. I’m still open to work in Hollywood and actually there are some new interesting opportunities with potential for me since I started doing Vietnames language films. Perhaps the reason for this is that there is a more interesting range to my work as an actor now due to the broad characters portrayed in these Vietnamese films.
4. Fool For Love has been a huge success abroad. Your involvement is as a lead actor, writer, and producer. Is this the first film you have written and produced and do you see writing and producing as a bigger role in the future of your career?
Dustin: I see writing and producing as very important components in the future of my career. It gives me more control over the kinds of work I want to do personally. I’m lucky enough so far that in Vietnam I have the good will of the industry and audience who want to see me create.
5. What projects are you involved in now and what are the next films we can expect to see from you? Does this include being more involved in the Vietnam movie industry in the future?
Dustin: I have another wonderful Vietnamese film coming out this October called “Endless Fields”. It is based on a very beloved book in Vietnam by the name of “Cánh Đồng Bất Tận.” It will be the only Vietnamese film in competition this October at the Pusan International Film Festival. It’s the story of a man who has turned his back on society after being betrayed by his wife. He raises a son and daughter while dealing with his inner demons of hate and bitterness. The whole drama is set against the backdrop of the gorgeous Mekong delta. I’m also prepping my directorial debut on an action/fantasy that I wrote that my company will produce as well. And, of course, these past few weeks and coming weeks I’m busy traveling and promotiong “Fool For Love” in the USA. Since it’s an indie film it takes enormous amounts of time and effort to create awareness and support within the film community.