Harry Shum Jr., who is best known for playing Mike Chang on Fox's musical-comedy Glee, takes on his first gay role in director Quentin Lee's White Frog.
The film, which had its debut in March at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, will be screened on July 21 at Outfest, Los Angeles' annual LGBT film festival.
Shum plays Chaz Young, a gay high school student dealing with enormous family pressures. Chaz's parents, played by BD Wong and Joan Chen, were not aware before his death that their “perfect” son was gay. They find out in a coming out video he left behind after he was killed in a biking accident. The lives of his loved ones are inevitably torn apart after the accident. Boo Boo Stewart plays his younger brother.
Shum spoke to Los Angeles gay weekly Frontiers about the movie.
'This is actually my first independent film. It was a great experience,' Shum tells Frontier in an interview published this week. 'They are two different beasts. You have Glee and the pace is constantly moving and on to the next thing as quick as you can—it’s so hectic. Independent films you don’t have a big budget. But what’s fun is you can play around more and develop the character. That was an interesting experience for me. I loved playing a different character.'
Although Shum is not gay, he said he can identify with being an outsider and this has shaped him and his views about LGBT equality.
'You start to realize we have more similarities than differences,' he says. 'In my eyes, life is simple; people make it complicated. I never looked at the differences too much. I grew up in Costa Rica where I was the only Chinese kid in a Latin country, then I moved to San Francisco where I only knew Spanish and lived with Chinese kids. I was in a different world.'