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Out in the Park
Gay Times

Out in the Park

Posted Thursday, July 2, 2015   |   7636 views   |   Men's Interest   |   Comments (0) We’ve seen the trailers. We’ve seen the Indominus rex. And we’ve seen Chris Pratt riding through dense jungle on a motorcycle, flanked by a pack of velociraptors. But Jurassic World isn’t all about lovely Chris and his lovely arms.

Eagle-eyed fans of the franchise might’ve spotted a familiar face from the past – scientist Henry Wu, played by gay actor Bradley Darryl Wong. With the blockbuster of the summer finally upon us, we meet BD for a gay press exclusive interview and talk all things Jurassic, movie stars in the closet and finally being immortalised as a LEGO figure. Dino-mite.

There are very few actors who can claim to be part of such a cinematic dynasty as the Jurassic Park franchise. And there are even fewer gay actors who can stake that same claim. Yet Bradley Darryl Wong – or BD, to his friends – is a man who’s been woven into the fabric of the silver screen. And a gay man, at that.

Twenty-two years since he first appeared on our screens in Jurassic Park as Henry Wu, BD is back in Jurassic World, resuming his role as the thoughtless scientist who mixed fossilised mosquitoes and frog DNA to make a deadly dino-cocktail. But his return to the film – the only member of the original cast who’s made it into the reboot, that we know of – came as just as much a shock to him as it did anyone else.

“I was kind of surprised about how excited I was to come back,” laughs BD. For a man who’s tread the boards of Broadway and starred in one of the most iconic films in cinema history, he’s incredibly humble. “I never thought I held much stock in these kinds of super popular things – I don’t know, maybe I’m just a snob or something like that! I do know that my friends have always made jokes about the fact Henry Wu was never resolved in the first movie and they were always very sure I’d one day be back.
“I never thought it was going to happen. I never thought anyone cared about Henry, or thought he was interesting or important enough in the first movie. I always downplayed the whole thing, because I felt I was there to fulfil a certain technical, informational function. They’d always tell me, ‘No no, you’ll see, you’re the only person who nobody knows what happened to them at this point.’ And then, wow, they were right. But what I felt was almost an oversight in the first movie has turned out to be a great advantage and door-opener to so many possibilities of fresh exploration, and actually reconnects us to the Crichton novel and the character that he created.”

The Jurassic Park nerds among us – and yes, we’re including ourselves in that – will know that BD’s character Henry actually plays a much larger role in Michael Crichton’s original novel, on which the first movie was based. He was a genius geneticist who brought John Hammond’s dinosaur dream to life, before being savagely ripped apart and eaten alive by a velociraptor when things inevitably went awry.

“I did actually feel kind of robbed when that didn’t get to play out in the first movie,” BD laughs again. “I remember in the novel it was a really fantastic, graphic and juicy death, with just lots and lots to it. Everyone else in the movie who was dying was getting that. You know, getting to meet their end while sat on the toilet, or whatever. I just thought, well, gosh, when’s my turn?”

BD – quite rightly – is tight-lipped when it comes to the chances of his character’s survival in Jurassic World. In fact, he still hadn’t seen a final edit of the film when we talked to him in San Francisco, mere weeks before the world premiere. Security has been THAT tight. But from everything BD has seen, read and acted, he doesn’t think fans of the original are going to be disappointed.

“There’s a real relationship between the first movie and Jurassic World,” he explains. “When I read the script for the first time, the first thing I thought was they’d done a really good job of serving up everything that we liked about Jurassic Park and putting it in Jurassic World, without making it redundant. But what’s better in this movie about the others is that you get something you’ve never had before – you get to see the dinosaurs freaking out thousands and thousands of people, not just a few.

“It makes it much more of what we used to call a ‘disaster movie’ – I’m old, so I remember this genre. But a disaster movie isn’t a disaster movie unless there’s humanity involved. And this movie has TRULY gone into disaster mode, I love it.”

And while reassuring us that Jurassic World won’t sink to the same depths of mediocrity as Jurassic Park III, BD also confirms for us what we’ve always believed – that Chris Pratt is indeed the best man to follow in the giant Tyrannosaurus-shaped footprints of Sam Neill and Jeff Goldlblum as our heroic male lead.

“I’m not going to say drooly things about him,” starts BD, clearly possessing stronger willpower than we do, “but he’s super great. And it’s true what everyone says about him – he really is the nicest guy, the funniest guy and the greatest person to put in the centre of a movie, because he just has that energy. If someone is sour or bitter after a long day, or whatever, he’s just being positive. And he’s funny. Funny is always great. Funny and insightful and witty people are always more interesting to me than not.”

If there’s one thing that BD is passionate about, though, it’s the fact that he’s an out gay actor performing on the massive, global stage that Jurassic World is providing. He’d be the first to shoot down claims that he’s a role model, or an inspiration, but he strongly upholds the belief that if you’re part of the conversation, then you’re helping in the fight for equality – and helping countless young people facing issues surrounding their ow

“I do feel that there’s a responsibility when you’re a member of a marginalised or disenfranchised group of people,” he explains, “and your behaviour or your acknowledgement of that presence in that group is important. It’s more important than your average person on the street, I think.

“I’ll admit now that I’m always disappointed when people I KNOW are gay, yet they don’t want to go on the record because they think they’re protecting something. I find that really upsetting. I understand where they’re coming from – and I understand all their complicated explanations for why they’re not coming out – but I also don’t think they’re being fair to young people who are wondering about their sexuality or struggling with it.

“There are a few people I know who won’t [talk about their sexuality], and it really upsets me. I don’t watch their movies and I don’t want to work with them – not that I’d have a choice about working with them, you know – but if I DID have the choice, I’d decline.”

But it’s not just the adoring fans that miss out on not knowing about a movie star’s true sexuality – BD thinks that it’s just as damaging for the actors themselves. “Not speaking about it can really, really gnaw at you,” he muses. “You don’t realise how good it feels until you stop doing it. It feels like a great relief. The famous people or people in the public eye who can’t go on the record, they’re kidding themselves in some way. They’re buying in to all the things they’re trying to over explain. They’re addicted to the notion of staying in the closet, and they can’t come out because they’ve convinced themselves that all these things they’re feeling only applies to them, which is sort of like what an addict might do. You kind of say, ‘Well, I’m different, I’m special, I need to do this for me.’ And that’s not acknowledging your role as a functioning human being who, when you’re in the public eye, has to interact with other people every day. It’s a very specific way you’re interacting with people, because you’re doing it just by being there. By making your money off the public, you’re implicating them in a relationship – and if you’re not honest with them within that relationship, then there’s something really weird to me about that.”

We wish that all movie stars had the same openness and the same candidly-honest approach to their sexuality as BD Wong does. We really do. We can only imagine how far we’d be in the fight for equality and acceptance around the world if people who have the power to speak out and make a change actually wielded that power.

But the old adage goes that with great power comes great responsibility – and perhaps that can be applied to the other big achievement in BD Wong’s life. Something that far outstrips – in his own words – any accolade or distinction he’s received for acting in his career to date.

We are, of course, talking about BD finally being immortalised as a LEGO figure. “Yes! Thank you! Thank you so much for your validation and understanding of the enormity of this event in my life!” BD is beaming when we acknowledge that fact that his character Henry has been included in the latest range of LEGO Jurassic World toys.

“This is what really matters,” he laughs. “When I was in Mulan [he voiced the character Shang], I was an action figure which came with Happy Meals at McDonald’s – and that was a high point of a similar kind. I’m looking forward to making little stop motion movies with the two action figures that have come out of movie characters I’ve played. I’m going to do a whole web series of encounters between Henry Wu and Shang. That’s going to be my REAL contribution to popular culture.”
All joking aside, BD HAS made a real contribution to popular culture. As an out gay man who’s starred in Jurassic Park – one of the most important movies in cinema history – and Jurassic World – sure to be one of the biggest b

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