Ferguson: Marie, just so nice to meet you. What a wonderful job
you did in "The Art of War" and I really do mean that. You know,
"The Art of War" is something a lot of people may wonder, well where
does that come from? But really it goes back to ancient China, am
I correct? It was a handbook.
Yeah, it was a military handbook that was used for thousands of
years by General Sun Tzu or some people say Lao Tzu, and people
have used it through the years, [even read by] Napoleon. It's a
big business in Asia, sort of a bible for how to be really aggressive
with your business.
Jim: And the film does too, with manipulation.
How to manipulate, how to control. A handbook for generals.
Yeah, and really the point is to defeat your enemy without fighting.
So how can we do that, right? So we create perception or we manipulate
the perception or maybe come from one side or come from up front.
We never know.
Jim: Now your
character in "The Art of War," Julia, is an interpreter for the
United Nations, and she gets involved in some international intrigue,
which is I think very realistic when you look at all the wheeling
and dealings with China in trade, wouldn't you agree? The concept
I think the concept is very real in that sometimes things leak out,
and I'm like wow, for sure the ones that we hear are one in a dozen.
Right. And then she gets involved, your character, with a UN agent,
Neil Shaw, played by Wesley Snipes, and that's when it gets interesting.
How does that happen?
Right! What happens is that Wesley and I are at the same celebration,
a celebration of China opening to the world, and during the celebration
there is an assassination, the conspiracy, part of the conspiracy.
And because I heard the gunshots and I'm running to the translation
booth, I see that somebody else has run out of the room and Wesley
Snipes following that person, and I get investigated. And I get
brought to the police station and I say, no, there's somebody else
in the room, it's not him. And Wesley sees this, Wesley has this
escape, I'm not going to get too much into it, but he sees that
in the newspaper that I say he's innocent. He kidnaps me, and he
has me translate something that he has on a tape. And gradually
I learn to trust him, because every time I try to go somewhere I'm
about to get killed, someone's trying to kill me. I then become
his hands and eyes into the world.
And then the chase begins.
And then the chase begins and we solve the conspiracy.
Were you surprised at Wesley's skills in the martial arts?
No actually, you know, I had seen his work obviously in other films,
and I had read about him and had seen him in interviews and stuff,
and I actually wasn't surprised at how skilled he was. And when
I talked to him, it didn't seem like he was somebody who took something
very casually, like when he approached something, he was really
passionate about it and would really dig into it.
Of course, he did a TNT special on a tribute to the masters of martial
Yeah, I though that was wonderful!
One last question about your character. She was torn between two
cultures, and I liked the way you did that. She was actually more
New York than Asian.
Well, she was somebody who's like that on the exterior, and not
exterior meaning superficially, but she was in America for a very
few years and just loved what it had to offer. It offered individuality,
the celebration of uniqueness, freedom, to say whatever you wanted
to say, and she said whatever she wanted to say, and it's really
similar to me. But then inside she really understood, in terms of
the philosophy, to understand what is going on.
Jim: And she explains that to her girlfriend. She
didn't understand her, that you have to leave a country that suppresses
Yeah, sort of a rebellion, right?
I think that you can become a role model for young Asian actresses.
There are not many that get this opportunity, and you are certainly
taking advantage of it, and I think portraying it, I can tell from
this interview, that you could be a wonderful role model for other
That's very kind of you. Yeah, I don't know if I set out to be a
role model, but I definitely set out to do roles that we haven't
seen before traditionally. Because I feel Hollywood in the past
has definitely seen roles that we have seen before, you know, like
how Asians first came here... So, what am I? I'm a Californian.
Yeah, I'm a Bruin! And I am certainly a combination of the East
and West. And so what a wonderful opportunity, and I feel that this
film is very groundbreaking in that we've never seen this combination
of strength and heart together.
It's really refreshing, I really mean that. Tell us about Vivace.
I created a school where all my kids are mostly Asian Americans.
And I just created a place where kids can be creative and be artistically
free and celebrate who they are. And my other staff members are
people from "Miss Saigon," the Broadway show, and also my partners
from the TV show "Chicago Hope." So I also feel like we are good
role models for them to actually see it, I think it is a really
That's right here in Los Angeles.
It's in Carson, just 45 minutes south of here.
You have to be thrilled with it.
I love it! It's the greatest.
Does anyone ever tell you that you are a giver, that you love to
I think that's really cool. I sort of want to do good for the world.
What can I say except you have to go see "The Art of War" and watch
this beautiful lady's performance, and you'll have a great time.
Thank you so much.