Be willing to do the work, be willing to get the work, be willing to adapt to the new-new that’s coming along, and stay out of “don’t you know who I am and what I’ve done?”—be in that state of humility yet preparedness. — Clyde Kusatsu
I’m thrilled to welcome Clyde (back) to the show in part two of our conversation: he’s an actor who is currently celebrating 45 years in front of the camera, and he’s still booking roles! I first connected with Clyde back in 2008 when I was helping out Ned Vaughn and Unite for Strength in the pre-merger days of SAG-AFTRA.
Just a bit of what we cover in PART TWO (it’s an even more personal side with Clyde today!):
- How he approaches playing different Asian ethnicities
- What he’s learned from casting directors
- His challenge with alcohol and being sober for nearly 24 years
- The personal journey he went on with individual therapy
- Why he got involved with SAG-AFTRA politics
This is a wide-ranging conversation across the years and Clyde is a master storyteller with lots of great anecdotes and lessons learned. He can easily weave in history or politics, and he’s quite a remarkable person.
Clyde Kusatsu has over 300 credits on IMDb, and just like Robert Pine in episode #1, he’s been on just about every iconic show from the 70s to today, including both the original and newer versions of Hawaii Five-O.
A quick look at his films include Midway, Turner & Hooch, In the Line of Fire, Paradise Road, American Pie, and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. He’s also done an extensive amount of animated and voiceover roles.
He’s been very involved with SAG-AFTRA leadership and in 2013 he became the first elected President of the newly merged unions’ Los Angeles Local. He currently sits as the National Vice President Los Angeles for SAG-AFTRA. Clyde studied theatre at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Please enjoy PART TWO of my chat with Clyde Kusatsu!
Total Running Time: 1:17:59
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QUESTION OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let us know in the comments.
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Clyde Kusatsu around the web
- How Asians were cast for the film Midway
- Why Memoirs of a Geisha lost the Japanese market
- Why you need to do your research and what that means
- The openness Clyde has experienced with casting directors toward ethnicities
- Why you are sometimes cast
- It’s not about the number of lines, it’s your reactions
- Becoming friends and working with the entire crew – how everyone can help one another
- What casting directors want to see in an audition (hint: you don’t have to be perfect)
- Why some directors re-cast actors in the same kinds of parts again and again
- Putting his 14-year-old son into rehab
- Why you want to hold onto your script during auditions and why it’s ok to start over
- Why he got involved with SAG-AFTRA politics
- Creating a performers’ union for the 21st century
- How the SAG president was involved in taking an actor’s age off IMDb
- Why he believes he’s worked so much (over 300 credits on IMDB)
- His mindset about working and needing to prove yourself to others
- Being in a leadership position with SAG-AFTRA
Selected People and Items Mentioned
- Midway film with Toshiro Mifune
- Memoirs of a Geisha film
- Mako, actor
- East West Players Theatre
- Richard Lang, director
- Paradise Road film
- Bruce Bereford, director
- Top Dog film, with Chuck Norris
- The Car film
- Cast in Hollywood, self-taping service
- Robert Aldrich, director
- “Uncover and discover”, step 4 of the 12 steps
- Gabrielle Carteris, president of SAG-AFTRA
- Andy Serkis, motion/performance-capture actor
Want a quick look at Clyde’s 45 year career?
His son Kevin surprised his dad with this retrospective as a birthday gift!
Copy and share: bit.ly/waj-clyde-p2