Doua Moua, Actor & Writer, on working with Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, Role on Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, & Latest Film - The Harvest.
December 9, 2015
I’m a Mid-western boy, raised in Minnesota. No, not from Fargo. I was raised in Saint Paul, MN. At a young age I always wanted to perform. I started in choir.
Soon after I began picking up acting in the theatre.
Doing theatre at school and community theatre. That’s where I found my love for acting. I am an Actor and screenwriter.
First Job in the Entertainment Industry
My first acting job was being an Extra on Law and Order: SUV.
I recently moved to New York City for college and wanted to experience what it would be like to be on set. So, I did it. Which, on that shoot, being an Extra was something I wanted to do in the October weather in New York City.
Pretty much everyone around me. My Family, Friends, and strangers inspire me creatively with regards to writing screenplay.
I feel like everyone has a story and all I have to do is listen.
But for acting, I would say I get my dramatic side from my mother. Joking a side. What inspires me creatively is Eddie Redmayne, and how he pushes himself to create some unforgettable roles.
Acting is not appealing at all - it is scary. I always wanted to perform.
Being a first generation immigrant to the United States of America, acting was a new thing - really.
It was only when my Choir/ Acting Teacher in High School shined a light in acting. After that I felt comfortable and at peace on stage performing.
As an actor you have moments of doubt that do not inspire you to continue in this career. But, the more no’s I get the more fuel I get to prove people wrong.
Gran Torino- it felt like it was just yesterday. It was such an experience, especially for a young actor.
Any actor, or filmmaker, that gets the chance to be on a Clint Eastwood set, take it.
Because if you sit back and just pay attention and absorb everything, you would see how everything runs smoothly and collaboratively.
The thing about Clint Eastwood is he has crew that he has worked with him for such a long time, even from Dirty Harry.
There is something amazing to say about that trust and loyalty.
I was the first person they auditioned and then I waited for 3 months to hear anything back. No call back, nothing, besides days of doubt. Until one day, I get a phone call to pack my bags and get on a plane to Michigan, where we shot Gran Torino.
Growing up in New York City I had the privilege to be around so many talents. I feel like theatre actors learn how to push their acting partners in shows, classes, and scenes.
Doing live theatre is a beautiful thing because, sooner or later, doing a show on stage you need to find new motivation or inspiration to push through the scenes so it wont become just a routine.
With TV and film the director can call cut and you will get the chance to try the scene different ways and then it comes down to what they think is the best take to help push the scene.
Scene breakdown is a checklist for the Director, Production, Crew, and Actors. It is a way to see the script in a much more structured way when the project is shooting. For example, the scenes will be numbered so everyone on the project would know which scene is being shot on the day of.
“The Harvest” is a coming of age film - a son who returns home to help his ailing and traditional Hmong father, only to set off a chain of events that affects the lives of his entire family.
What inspired me to write this screenplay is my dad. He had kidney disease and has been on dialysis for over 8 years.
Being in the industry for a bit, I haven’t seen any film that dealt with this issue. A lot of immigrants are dealing with kidney diseases.
A lot of the first generation kid’s parents are suffering with kidney diseases.
This is because of the changes in their diet with all the processed food when compared to the food that they grew up with.
“The Harvest” has an incredible team behind it. Dan Ireland is directing the film with Russell Wong and Ellen Wong attached to act in it. We are currently looking to raise 200k to get this project off the ground.
So, if you would like to support this project please go to:
Technology is a beautiful thing. I am totally on board with it. As TV is now picking up more with the medium and platforms, there is more acting work for everyone.
TV acting is a faster pace than film and theatre. You basically say your lines sometimes with no emotion when you guest star on a show. Because your purpose is to help move the story along with facts for the main stars of the show to discover.
One of the roles that I am extremely excited for is my role as Unsub in the up coming show Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders with Gary Sinise. Because director Colin Bucksey let me to bring my truth to the role.
Honestly, the only pitfall advice I have for parents, young actors, or new actors, is when someone tells you to by a photo package. Don’t do it.
My advice is to study, take classes, learn to listen, observe, and absorb as much knowledge as you can.
An actor is only great when he or she is living. So, experience as much as you can so you can bring it to life on screen or on the stage.
In What Ways Do You Challenge Yourself As An Artist?
The challenge that I face every day is fitting in with the Hollywood scene. Hollywood is filled with some good looking people all across the spectrum.
But sometimes I prefer good looking food. I mean I am a Midwestern boy who loves his food. But joking aside.
As an artist the challenge I face most of the time is still trying not to be nervous at an audition.
My experience in film has always been amazing. Because the director would allow me to push my limit to bring the right emotions for the scene.
I grew to understand why typecast is important for the audience. So, I don’t mind being type cast. I am still new to the scene and I still have to pay my dues as an actor.
And by paying my dues I still have to play those typecast roles.
The only challenge that I face is that I have a unique look. Like my friends tell me, I have a Resting Bitch Face. So, even though I want to play the best friend, I would look like the angry best friend, who hates the world and maybe kills you in your sleep.
But being in this industry I understanding that casting does play a major part of a film’s success. If you cast middle school kids as college kids it just doesn’t serve the film justice.
Preparing for a Role
I have a friend read the full script of the project and tell me what pages to avoid reading. I feel like in life there is information that we don’t know, so I applied that with my roles. I research what my role would need to know so I would be prepared and believe in what I am saying.
Well, I use to think social media was like your journal/ blog, so your friends and family would know what you are going through. But now I only use it to keep my fans, family, and friends updated on my different projects from acting to writing. It helps them to stay updated on dates of shows and projects air dates.
Top Moments in the Entertainment Industry
Clint Eastwood taught me how to hold a gun.
Auditioning for John Papsidera
One time I meet Bill Murray and it was in December. He reached out and said “Shake my glove."
Jonathan Shukat deciding to produce my film, "The Harvest."
Doing a reading in front of CBS team.
What You Would Like Other's to Know About Your Career
There is really no formula to become a successful actor, just being prepared when you do get the job.
Daily Steps Taken To Meet Short & Long-Term Goals
My daily routine of running on the treadmill while watching the Food Network channel is the first step to reaching my long term and short-term goals.
Always trying to be ready for any role that comes my way.
I’ve written only screenplays. My first screenplay is called “The Harvest,” which we are currently raising money for to start production.
I also have 12 other screenplays that are in the works. Sometimes, you have to let the writing sit for a bit so you can bring a fresh prospective to it.
I usually wake up go to the gym and come home and write. Which there will be days for auditions and meetings. I treat my acting career as a full-time commitment.