Actress, writer, mother… Gabby Wong has done it all, and DDW sat down with her to spill the beans on her latest; the Netflix show 1899 premiering on the 17th of November.
One thing is pretty clear; Gabby Wong is a badass.
Not only does she have a truly impressive portfolio of work (cue in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Random 11, Unprecedented or ITV‘s Strangers), but she’s also awesomely multidisciplinary in her work. Born in Hong Kong, Wong speak English, Cantonese, Mandarin and German, has worked in BBC radio dramas, and is a contributing writer to Papergang Theatre… but we could probably go on forever with the list – she’s that kind of person.
Premiering this 17th of November, Gabby Wong’s latest venture is in horror, where she plays a cantonese-speaking character for 1899, Netflix’s new multilingual series. DDW sat down with her to talk through all things movies, motherhood and the intricacies of being Gabby Wong.
How was it to work with such an international cast for 1899, and be part of a great multilingual mystery?
When we all met in person for the first read through, it really was something quite special. We were living in a time of the tightest Covid restrictions and most of us had not been able to travel for the best part of a year. To go from lockdown to being in a melting pot of languages and culture felt really important. Everyone brought something different but at the same time we all bonded over a sense of shared humanity. I guess that is also the premise of ‘1899’. There’s definitely no coincidence when it comes to storytelling with our creators, Jantje & Bo.
Why do you act? What keeps your going?
I had danced from a very young age but coming from quite an academic family, ‘the arts’ never presented itself as a viable career option. Acting came much later for me in life. I was studying Politics at university and accidentally joined the student theatre when I went to an audition with a housemate. I was also part of the student union and found ‘drama’ was a really good way to engage people & harvest discussions. That’s when I decided that I would move to London and train as an actor.
Congratulations on becoming a mother! That must’ve been a very challenging thing to do, pairing motherhood with on-set filming. Tell us, Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Thank you, motherhood is the hardest and best thing and yes going into principal filming with a 6-month-old at the time involved some serious logistical gymnastics. Production made sure to take my young family into consideration and were really supportive.In 10 years, I see myself starring in something I’ve written.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Solo cinema dates. I don’t have to share my popcorn!
Name one thing you cannot live without.
If you could pick three dinner guests, dead or alive, who would you pick and why?
Ooooh Anita Mui, she was such an icon of Hong Kong in the 80s & 90s and her tenacious spirit captured a very particular zeitgeist; Audre Lorde, we would come up with endless action plans to fight the broken system; Sheila Atim, because she is one of my best mates, she makes me laugh and totally puts me in my place.
Who do you look up to?
My mum and sister.
Do you have a matra you live by?
I tell my boy ‘You must be kind’. That.
How do you want people to remember you?
As someone who worked hard and also rested hard.
What do you not want to die wondering about?
That if we left it too late to reverse the effects of climate change. We must do better for our kids, we must.