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Chinese Film Producer Yuxiao Wang Nails the Mark in Hollywood!

Yuxiao Wang
Producer Yuxiao Wang shot by Yiting Lyu

While the face of producers may not appear on movie posters or on the big screen, Yuxiao Wang’s name appearing in the credits is reason enough to get excited about a project. That’s because she has been singularly responsible for the development, production and distribution of a large number of incredible projects. In the process, the emergence of Yuxiao as a leading figure in the global film industry has marked a new wave of super-producers from China taking over Hollywood.  

In addition to her association with distinguished companies like Huayi Brothers, Enmaze Pictures and Sky Culture Entertainment, Yuxiao’s hugely successful run in the entertainment industry has been made clear by her involvement in numerous noteworthy projects in the US. Her romantic drama film “Yesterday Once More” starred Lauren Mendoza, who also worked with Academy-Award winning directors The Coen Brothers on “Hail Caesar!” and will appear in the upcoming mystery crime-comedy “Suburbicon” with George Clooney and Matt Damon. The cross-cultural themes are a direct reflection of Yuxiao’s multi-cultural background, as she grew up in China, but studied in Japan and the United States. Her film’s concerns are also evidence for her abilities as a producer who tells stories that transcend boundaries and resonate with audiences around the world.

Yuxiao Wang
Yuxiao Wang at the 12th Chinese American Film Festival

Two projects in particular stand out for Yuxiao when discussing her resume. The psychological drama “Harmonica” is another favourite of Yuxiao’s, as it gave her the opportunity to showcase her unique ability of transforming an ordinary location into an extraordinary one on screen. The shoot in reality took place in contemporary Los Angeles, but Yuxiao “worked really hard…to make things look like [they were] happening in Europe” circa WWII. Her other project “Locked” also brought her together with “That 70s Show” and “My Crazy Ex” TV star Corey Landis, as well as Leanne Agmon from the Emmy-nominated “Blue Bloods.” In the film, a man loses his wife and creates an imaginary world in which he fights with himself to save his wife and find the truth of her death. While A-listers marked the film’s screen time, the sounds of “Locked” were helmed by “Spiderman 3” composer, Aldo Shllaku.

Harmonica Yuxiao Wang
Film poster for “Harmonica” by Ye Kuang

Yuxiao’s success in securing an all-star cast and production team is not a feat that should go unnoticed; it’s something producers are rarely able to pull off because of the politics of Hollywood and the demands of actors and crew. Yuxiao’s exceptional capacity to communicate, envisage an inspired story, coordinate financing and wrangle impressive team members are all factors in why she has developed such an outstanding reputation to which industry professionals continue to flock.

Special effects, TV stars and award-winning crew members aside, “Locked” is a highlight on Yuxiao’s impressive resume because of its selection for the 70th annual Cannés Court Metragé as well as its prize of Best Narrative Short at the Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival in 2016. The outstanding final cut is a direct product of Yuxiao’s creative vision and executive talents, and ultimately proves how she marries creativity with business in a way that only the best Hollywood producers can. As she admits herself, she is “very good at management, which helps a lot in scheduling and budgeting projects.”

Yuxiao Wang
Film poster for “Locked” by Ye Kuang

While she may have strong ties to her native homeland, American directors and studios can’t seem to have enough of her and are keeping her firmly placed here. Her distinct ability to ensure a production is delivered not only on time and on budget, but also in a manner that is artistically inspired, functions as a magnet for other filmmakers in need of effective producers. As she proudly attests, she has “four projects coming up this year.” The series “100 Reasons of Not Being an Emperor” is headed to an online streaming platform (details need to be kept hush-hush), while three feature length projects showcase her wide-ranging story-telling interests: one deals with a female prison, another a psychological thriller and another an adrenaline fueled romantic caper.

A hugely impressive resume aside, it might just be the fact that people like Yuxiao’s personality for why she has built such a fantastic name for herself. As she simply puts: “I am friendly, considerate and kind, so people don’t get mad at me…it is important to let the conversation continue when you meet someone.” In Hollywood, a little nice clearly goes a long way.  

 

Natasha Khan Mayet is one Indian Actress Making a Huge Splash in Hollywood!

Natasha Khan Mayet
Actress Natasha Khan Mayet shot by Paul Smith

When internationally acclaimed actress Natasha Khan Mayet was growing up in South Africa, she knew her future would be a creative one. Since beginning her acting career over a decade ago, Natasha has become known for her roles in Mother, May I Sleep with Danger with James Franco and Tori Spelling, Metropolitan Detective, and 2 For Flinching. In a time when actresses like Priyanka Chopra are protecting national security in Quantico and Deepika Padukone is making moves in XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, Natasha Khan Mayet proves actresses of Indian descent can make it in the big time on a global scale.

One of her most recent projects, Trafficked, is proof of her incredible accomplishments as globally renowned actor. In that film, Natasha shares the silver screen with Golden-Globe nominated actress and American movie star, Ashley Judd, well known for her roles in the blockbuster Divergent franchise, Olympus Has Fallen and Double Jeopardy. Natasha admits that Judd is “one of [her] favorite actresses,” so it’s no surprise that she’s proud of the esteemed production. The story of Trafficked concerns three girls from America, Nigeria and India who are trafficked through an elaborate global network and enslaved in a Texas brothel, and must together attempt a daring escape to reclaim their freedom.

In her key role as a woman who is kidnapped by Albanian mercenaries and sold to a group of Italian men, Natasha steals the audience’s attention every time she is on screen, such is the power of her captivating performance. She proudly explains that the filmmakers needed an “Indian woman with strong acting skills,” and that she was the only actress who fit the bill.

Given the critical impact her scenes have on the film’s plot development, it’s easy to describe her role as the heart of the film. The emotional depth of her role and its critical importance to the film’s story was clear while shooting. Natasha tells us how “[t]he scene where we were tied up and at the mercy of the Albanians was pretty raw, and as I stood there tied up with other girls we literally felt as if we were their prisoners.” She goes on to say that “the scene became so real…a couple of us were already crying because the moment was so real to us.”

Not only was Trafficked shortlisted for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, it was written and produced by Siddharth Kara, author of the internationally acclaimed book Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery. Kara is also a leading professor at Harvard and a lecturer at UC Berkeley, attaching greater credibility to a film project that not only brings an audience to tears, but has a politically charged message that will ensure its global success.

Further to that, Natasha confirmed her exceptional acting skills in Trafficked by working alongside award-winning director Will Wallace, who won a feature film prize at WorldFest Houston for his hit comedy Cake: A Wedding Story, starring Major Crimes and The Closer TV star, G.W. Bailey. Another one of his projects, the romantic drama Red Wing starring Hidden Figures star Glen Powell and the late Bill Paxton, was an additional credit to why Natasha was so excited to play a critical role in Wallace’s latest project.

Natasha’s authentic relationship with her craft is reflected not only in her involvement with Trafficked, but the diverse range of roles she has played in a number of other high-profile film and television productions. She explains that “acting constantly challenges me,” and that “it allows me to explore the different aspects of myself, grow and constantly evolve, and tell a different story through each role that I play.” So while Trafficked represents a recent silver screen highlight of which Natasha was a key reason in its success, she is also experiencing extraordinary triumphs on the small screen too.

Film Poster for
Film Poster for “Trafficked” directed by Will Wallace

Most recently, Natasha was seen playing the critical role of Helena Michaels in the Amazon-Prime original series Music & Murder. Appearing alongside Atlanta TV star Tony Scott, the formally-trained actress added a great depth of intrigue as the mother of lead character Chastity Michaels, and thus provided important emotional life to a storyline about a talented music video producer who avoids life on the streets and finds success, only to be framed for murder.

In further support of her reputation as an actress capable of playing complex and fully-rounded characters, much like her South African compatriot Charlize Theron, Natasha plays reporter Angela Lee in the upcoming television pilot Stimulus. In this provocative series, Angela is torn between reporting the news and uncovering the truth, in a story that raises significant questions relating to race, politics, religion and prejudice.

Clearly, Natasha’s recent work shows she is an actress who sticks to her artistic values. She elucidates that she loves “any project or role that challenges” her, and that it’s crucial for the production to “tell a story that is in some way important and conveys a message.”  

UK Actor Anthony Warren Nails it Again with the Film “Hard Time Bus

Anthony Warren
Anthony Warren shot by Will Tudor

With lead roles in several highly rated BAFTA Award winning series and now the award winning feature film “Hard Time Bus” produced by 2HotFilms, Anthony Warren has enjoyed a tremendously successful acting career. The fact that he has now appeared in so many celebrated projects, and the addition of his most recent performance in “Hard Time Bus,” have made it clear that Warren’s success is a testament to his sensational skill, hard work and magnetism on screen.

If there’s one trend in Warren’s long list of characters, it’s his inimitable ability to convincingly slip into the world of crime. Warren’s feature films include the crime drama “The Contract” where he acts opposite Golden Globe nominee John Cusack (“Serendipity,” “Maps to the Stars”), as well as the Golden Reel Award nominated crime thriller “Control” starring Ray Liotta (“Goodfellas”) and two-time Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe (“Spider-Man”).

In the world of television Warren’s taken on recurring key roles on several hit crime dramas such as the two-time BAFTA Award winning series “The Bill” where he acts alongside Simon Rouse (“The Practice”), “Eastenders” starring Patsy Palmer (“Do or Die”) and “Murphy’s Law” where he shares the screen with Golden Globe nominee James Nesbitt (“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”).

With such an impressive resume, Warren has certainly forged a distinguished and unique reputation for himself in the entertainment industry on an international level.

Warren, of course, did not wake up a success overnight. “I got into acting over twenty years ago,” Warren remarks. “Initially starting as a hobby, however, [it grew] into a passion and eventually a career choice.”

It’s clear that Warren has taken his craft seriously. After graduating from one of the UK’s leading drama schools and performing with the Ovalhouse Theatre Company, Warren has gone on to act in numerous film projects in the UK and Europe. He has worked alongside twice Academy-Award nominated director Bruce Beresford, Morgan Freeman, Michelle Rodriguez and many more household names.

 

hard-time-bus
Poster for “Hard Time Bus”

 

Now, with “Hard Time Bus” having screened internationally and recently winning the Jury Prize at the Hollywood Black Film Festival, Warren has yet another impressive credit to his resume. Directed by Dean Charles, also known for “Birthday Treat” starring “Casualty” star Neil Reidman, “Hard Time Bus” is a multi-faceted drama that examines the complexities of modern relationships and deceptive friendships. Warren brilliantly explores the latter in the lead role of Langas, a Jamaican-Patois speaking character who has no problem with bullying or cheating money from others.

 

"Hard Time Bus"
Still of Anthony Warren as Longas in “Hard Time Bus”

 

In a reflection of how he skillfully portrays people far different from himself, Anthony speaks of Langas like he would an old college friend. “He is so horrible to people around him but lovable to the audience in the way he is horrible – if he was one of your friends you’d keep a distance or want to punch him in the mouth.”

The film’s iconic pool hall scene, where the characters fight after Langas trash talks the girlfriend of one of the pool players, was a particular highlight for Anthony. “The scene had actors that I had worked with before and [am] still good friends with.” 

 

Michael Ellis Anthony Warren
Still of Michael Ellis (left) and Anthony Warren (right) in “Hard Time Bus”

 

It’s no surprise that Anthony’s maintained friendships with his fellow actors – those in the entertainment world are fully aware of his commitment and significant contributions to the industry. Besides his work of course, he has mentored numerous young actors and actresses and developed a reputation for being a friendly collaborator with everyone on set.

He admits, “It is a really different dynamic when you work with your friends. I feel a lot more at ease due to the experience and history we have together.”

With a cast that includes Aren Devlin (from Brad Pitt’s “World War Z”), Roger Griffiths (“Holby City,” “Doctors,” “Doctor Who”) and Naomi Ryan (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Mr Selfridge”), “Hard Time Bus” puts Warren in a position to call some illustrious company his friends.

The added benefit of being everyone’s favorite guy on set? People want to work with you even more, so it will come as no surprise that Anthony is slated to be involved in future productions produced with the production company 2HotFilms.