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Home | Interviews | Interview: Matthew Moy (Exorcism at 60,000 Feet)

Interview: Matthew Moy (Exorcism at 60,000 Feet)

Matthew Moy Goes From Running a Diner in 2 Broke Girls to Battling Airsickness and a Demonic Spirit in Exorcism at 60,000 Feet

It is a once in a lifetime opportunity when, as an interviewer, your passions for multiple subjects come together as one. I’d thought, as a child, that nothing could achieve the level of obsession that I have for horror. The entirety of what is horror in media (films, books, music, art) drives and energizes me like few other genres could. It is my reason for becoming what level of writer I am today. Then, also at about the ripe young age of eight,  I discovered comedy. Specifically, the Three Stooges. One physical malaprop after another evoked one gut-busting laugh after the other from me. Great! Another genre that has now hooked me with its casting line and proceeding to reel me in. The Marx Brothers, Martin and Lewis, Laurel and Hardy all soon fell into line after. Looking at it later as an adult, I suppose that my being a tv couch potato growing up was the linking narrative in these two interests combining for me (action fare and westerns waited in the wings to rope me in later). Insert here my fervor for sitcoms that begun with Barney Miller and MASH in the 70s and remains aflame to this day. In fact, it is one favored television show of mine, 2 Broke Girls (airing for six seasons from 2011 to 2017 on CBS), and one recent horror-comic gem feature, Exorcism at 60,000 Feet, that provided me the perfect opportunity to interview the incredibly talented Matthew Moy, diner owner Han Lee on the series and one of the stars of Exorcism. So here we go!

KN: I’m going to start the interview with Exorcism at 60,000 Feet as it was rather a shock for many of us who know you from comedy in television cinema to see you in what was your first foray into horror and gore. And you have scenes where you are put through literal hell, covered in vomit and the whole bit. Chatting it up with Robert Rhine, writer/producer/co-star in the film, on a podcast recently, he told me that you were not only game but wanted more! If you can, tell about working with this extraordinary cast of veterans and under director Chad Ferrin, as well as this relentless drive you have to keep creating/evolving/pushing in your characters.

MM: Yeah that’s a true story. I think I talked about it in the BTS, but I literally wanted to do the movie because I get thrown up on. That’s one comedy gag I’ve never done, and I’ve had a lot of fluids dumped on me before (comedically)! I’ve always wanted to do a horror movie too. That was one genre that I didn’t have much experience in. Chad really pushed us to make the characters our own and gave us a lot of leeway if we wanted to add or say something different. All the other actors were such vets and super professional. I think one of my favorite days was when I worked with Kevin J O’Connor for the first time. I’ve grown up watching that guy and he’s so nice. Steel Magnolias anyone??? The Mummy?!! And Lance! Ace Hanlon!! What an awesome actor. Bai and I got along really well from Day 1, so that’s probably why our chemistry is so good. And I really look up to Robert Miano as a role model for acting and just being a damn cool guy. Robert Rhine and his wife sort of became our set parents, and I think they’re the sweetest! And damn talented to boot!

KN: Of your fellow actors in the film, Robert told me you had a special connect with Bai Ling as fellow artists. You both seem of a similar type to keep exploring, pushing your characters, a willingness to do what it takes to sell the joke or moment. Elaborate on this kinship you two had.

MM: How do I describe it? Once you get somebody, you get them, you know? Bai and I just got along really well and understood each other from Day 1. Bai really liked to push the comedy as far as she could go, and I had literally been training to do that for 6 years, so it was like peas and carrots. A lot of our repertoire and banter got cut from the film, but oh man, it was so great! It’s just, the Thang and Amanda show couldn’t be the whole movie, haha!

KN: You had to spend 2 weeks in an airplane fusilage set. Not only that but I understand from Robert that many of the cast had to remain in their positions (seats or what have you) in the background even when they were not the focus of the scene. I don’t recall you having too many of those moments as you are a key player but I did see you do it on occasion in 2 Broke Girls. How difficult or easy is it  to act in the background without risking upstaging?

MM: Wow this is actually such a great actor-y question. The key is to not move around a lot in the background, yet you still have to act natural. I am naturally prone to being frantic and gesturing a lot with my arms, and I used to get in trouble a lot in my early acting days for being distracting and “too much.” Less arms, and make fluid movements. Nothing jerky unless the background is part of the comedy. It’s actually a very hard job. You can’t get tired either. I don’t know how extras do it!

KN: Exorcism is that gore-filled, scary, gut-busting laugh gem that seems, while already doing well on Amazon, Blu-Ray sales, and other streaming services, on the cusp of really busting out once a distributor is secured. Do you feel this is primed for a breakout of mammoth proportions?

MM: I hope it is! We really put our hearts and guts into it!

KN: I want to look back at your childhood and your growth into the actor you are today. From watching you work over the years, I get the feeling that you’d always wanted to either act or make people laugh. Were you the kid with overactive imagination and tendency to joke around?

MM: Nope. Actually I was a very shy kid, and I remember one of my sister’s teachers jokingly once said that he would pay me a quarter to talk. I think that this was the case until I was about 14-15.

KN: My dad was my muse who fanned my passion for film, horror and otherwise. Did you have parents or a family member who embraced your passion to become a thespian?

MM: Both of my parents are teachers, but they have always been really supportive of my acting endeavors. Probably growing up watching Golden Girls and British comedies with my mom helped a lot too.  I remember I got into acting in high school just to be with my friends. But then, later on in life, when I chose it as a profession, my mom made a really good deal with me, and she made sure I reassessed my passion for acting every year around December. She asked me three things every year: 1) whether I still liked doing it, 2) whether I was making progress doing it, 3) and whether I wanted to keep on doing it. She knew I didn’t like holding down a part-time job for more than a few months. Acting has been the only thing where I continually said yes every year.

KN: You graduated from the University of California in Davis with a Bachelor’s in Japanese and a minor in Linguistics. As someone who has, himself, studied acting, I get the strong feeling that this was part of a carefully laid out plan toward versatility being added in your repertoire? Or were you considering a fallback job as a U.N. translator? Lol!

MM: Oh no, actually I didn’t even consider acting until after college. I had done theater in high school, but that was mainly to be with my friends. After high school, I never even considered the remote possibility of acting as a viable career where I would make money. I honestly wanted to teach English in Japan during college, or to teach Japanese in the US. Unfortunately, later in college, I discovered I didn’t like teaching at that point in my life, and I had no idea what to do after. My mom suggested voice acting because I was still kind of shy and did not like the camera, but I liked acting. I fell in love with voice acting, and trained intensely for 2 years after college. That was my sort of graduate school. Then I got a voice agent and moved to LA, but then I wasn’t making enough money from VO, so I decided to diversify and get into on-camera acting as a backup plan. It’s funny whenever I book an audition that requires some Japanese knowledge—I think about how much of my college tuition the job is paying off to make it seem like the money in college was well spent. But to answer your question, not planned at all!

KN: One of the reasons I became such a fan of yours was when I, the Star Trek geek, found out you have a seven foot statue of Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager in your living room! Fun question: If you were given an opportunity to appear on a Trek show and had your choice of roles, which would it be and why?

MM: Hahaha, I inherited that statue from my cousin! I think he took it from the Paramount or Warner Brothers lot when he worked there ages ago. I keep poor Seven in my garage now. When it was in my living room, too many girls would get mad when they saw that mannequin. They got mad if her hair did not match their hair color, which is the most odd thing to get mad at, considering it is a weird ass Jeri Ryan mannequin with very sculpted boobs. Anyway, if I was on a Star Trek show, 1) I would literally run around my house screaming, and 2) I hope it’s one of those ensign jobs where I’m sitting on deck the entire time. Oh, can it be an ensign who falls in love with the Holodeck? Or can it be a guest star who gets overwhelmed because he ordered too much food from the replicator? Can I be an ensign who gets to go back in time with the crew to the streets of San Francisco???

KN: Researching,  it looks as if your first paid acting gig was in Carlos Mencia’s series in 2008, Mind of Mencia. I can imagine that was something of a learning experience for you, being on the set with such a skilled comic. What was that experience like for you?

MM: Oh I love telling that story. It was my first Hollywood learning experience. It was my first on-camera audition, and I booked it! My manager was so surprised and so proud of me. I was so proud too. My scene wasn’t with Carlos Mencia, though. But when I got on set, I had no idea what I was doing, and I didn’t know that sometimes comedy sketch shows expect improv skills. I was in a 30 second bit with another actress, and the director kept rolling after our lines because he wanted to see what else we would do. I literally thought it was over after my line. I remember the other actress tried to stick her tongue down my throat because she thought that might be funny for the scene, and I backed up and freaked out. Anyway, when I saw the episode six months later, I saw that the entire clip was cut from the show. That’s when I learned I should start taking regular acting classes. But I milked that credit for years on my resume. For years! Not all was lost, haha.

KN: You are an actor, producer, voice artist, and you draw and paint in your spare time. Are seeking an award for Renaissance Man of the year or is this just fanning the flame of the creative soul within you?

MM: Haha, aw, thank you for your kind words. I’ll always be an actor and voice actor first, but I do the other things because they keep me busy and are for my emotional well being. I actually wanted to major in fine arts in instead of Japanese in college, but that took too much time and was too hard for me. Then, fast forward many years later, I had a stroke in 2012, and I lost 90% mobility and strength on the entire right side of my body. So in 2015, as part of my occupational therapy regimen, I decided to get back into drawing to focus on the motor skills in my right hand. Then my love for art kind of got rekindled from there, and I started taking painting classes after the drawing classes. What’s weird is that now I can draw again with my right hand, but I’m too impatient with my brush strokes, so I paint with my left hand.

KN: Ok. Can’t let this interview go without asking at least one question about the show that is my hands-down go to if I need to laugh out loud, 2 Broke Girls. Kat Dennings had a quote once that, am not recalling what she was truly referring to, completely fits the tone of the series: “The more unsettling the more I feel at home”. There wasn’t a topic that you guys were afraid to go all out on it seems. Expound on your experience working on the show and with that truly skilled roster of writers, directors and actors.               

MM: Aw I’ll always look back at that show fondly. When I signed on to do the series, it really was because it was an A team roster. It had such a pedigree behind it. I learned so much on that show, and we were all so young and became such a family. All of us from the producers down to the writers to the actors and the crew were like my second family. I mean, we worked together for 6 years! And there was such a high bar of excellence required of each of us. Every single person on that set was so damn talented and dedicated. I always explained our show as trying to push comedy to the edge as far as we could go. Like taking two steps forward, and maybe half a step back. We were always trying to do new things with comedy. It takes talented writers to write usable puns that you don’t roll your eyes at! I admit, though, sometimes our comedy worked, and sometimes it messed up badly. We were always taking risks and carefully weighing them. I remember our show was the first to make an Instagram joke on TV. That was cool. Then there was another time where the writers wrote in a joke last minute about Aborigines because it sort of rhymed, but we really had no idea what we were talking about and were so ignorant and the joke stayed in and offended so many people. That was awful and I am so sorry for that. Then another time, we cut an Uber scene because we weren’t sure if the audience around the world would understand it (because Uber was a new company at the time), and look at Uber now—we should have kept that scene!

KN: Slipping back to your childhood, were you the horror geek growing up, idolizing Freddy, Jason or Pinhead, or did any of that that come later or, perhaps, never really?

MM: No, I never got into horror until I became an actor in Hollywood…so maybe not until I was 26…Horror movies scared the crap out of me. But as I’ve become more jaded over the years (haha), and have had dozen of makeup effects put on me, I like watching horror movies for the art of it. They’re really a lost art! Maybe it’s the artist in me, but I really appreciate a well crafted horror movie now! Freddy was probably my favorite character, or Tim Curry as It. I’m also a huge Insidious fan. I think The Happening often gets overlooked for being a great horror comedy…

KN: Exorcism is that gore-filled, scary, gut-busting laugh gem that seems, while already doing well on Amazon, Blu-Ray sales, and other streaming services, on the cusp of really busting out once a distributor is secured. Do you feel this is primed for a breakout of mammoth proportions?

MM: I hope it is! We really put our hearts and guts into it!

KN: What’s next on the horizon for Matthew Moy? More buckets of vomit, crazed demon possession and two-month old vegetarian (you think) meals?

MM: Oh my god, that vegetarian meal was disgusting. Remember the meal that Amanda takes out of the cabinet and smells? That was a real pea soup prop that she left in the cabinet for hours while we filmed on a hot set. Remember when she is about to open it, and I yell at her not too? That was a real moment folks! Oh god. Insert real gagging. Luckily the vomit was much “cleaner.” Bai and I are working on a top secret project right now, and who knows what the future holds! But I will never look at pea soup the same ever again.

KN:  Thank you, Matthew, for agreeing to the interview, and many well-wishes for continued success.

One only has to watch Matthew in action to see the frenetic charge he brings to a role. Yet I might argue that even that level of energy was matched by my own in doing this interview. Now, as I go back to binge-watching the escapades of Han, Max, Caroline, Sophie and Oleg at a certain Williamsburg diner, I will simply thank Matthew Moy for his time in doing the interview as well as for giving his fans the gift of genuine laughter. I would also like to thank producer, writer and co-star (with Matthew) Robert Rhine for his incredible work with both the film and with setting this whole QA up. Do yourself a favor and check out the immensely entertaining,  cheesy, gory comedic chiller that is Exorcism at 60,000 Feet. A great primer for that next long distance flight you expect to take with your priest/exorcist friend!

Exorcism at 60,000 Feet can be found now on the following streaming platforms: OnDemand, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, AppleTV, Direct TV, Spectrum, PlayStation, Xbox, Dish Network, Comcast, Cox, Charter, AT&T Universe, GooglePlus, Fandango Now. You can also purchase the Blu-ray dvd in store at Walmart, Best Buy and Target. A special DVD/Blu-Ray Combo with crazy extras is available for sale at Amazon.com and ShoutFactory.com


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