Hi, we are Josh, Olivia & Leifennie, and are Malaysians, and we were in Marco Polo, Episode 3! After I replied on Chin Han's AMA (he played Cricket Minister Jia Sidao), someone suggested that I post an AMA too so here goes. Filming was in Pinewood Studios Johor (Southern part of Malaysia). I was one of the 200+ extras being Chinese soldiers, and Olivia & Leifennie were concubines in the House Of Khan. Ask us anything!

*Edit (formatting) * Edit (removed AMA scheduled time, since it blew up) * Edit HOLY SHIT THIS MADE THE FRONT PAGE! Update: Okay it's 2:12 AM where I am now and we're all off to bed, but we will answer more questions in the morning. Thanks guys!

Marco Polo trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hB-ltNasHVw

Proof: * Josh - http://i.imgur.com/zLS708m.jpg * Olivia - http://imgur.com/e0VbPva * Leifennie - http://imgur.com/rjreD8i

Links: * Olivia - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6977224/ * Leifennie - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6875188/ * Josh - http://fb.com/thejoshlim

PS: if you want to 'like' us, these are our Facebook pages! * Olivia Shyan: http://fb.com/oliviashyanpage AND http://www.instagram.com/oliviashyan * Leifennie: http://fb.com/leifennie * Josh Lim: http://fb.com/joshlimitless

And if you do have any acting work to offer any of us, you can always e-mail me :) [email protected]

Comments: 639 • Responses: 84  • Date: 

warenhaus212 karma

The obvious question:

As you were extras, will you be in S2 as well (maybe in other roles)?

YourFavouriteJosh217 karma

Hmm. For myself it's definitely possible...I was an anonymous soldier with no lines and a few seconds of screentime lol. Olivia got banished from the concubine group due to (watch the show to find out) but it may be possible with a creative enough reason ...and Leifennie...well she definitely can't come back (you'll find out why when you watch lol)

warenhaus56 karma

thanks, good luck to you then.

(for the record: I watched the full of S1)

YourFavouriteJosh73 karma

That's awesome. Bet you can't wait for Season 2 as much as me :)

deindiana6 karma

You all did a great job - I enjoyed the show.

YourFavouriteJosh2 karma

Thank you :) Really honoured to have been part of a great vision brought to life - the set designers, writers, crew, production and cast all did a great job.

ten_thousand_hours108 karma

I'm currently watching the show and I like it a lot so far. Especially the scenery and the shots of vast landscapes are very impressive and have an unique feeling.

My questions would be:

1) What's the process of being casted as an extra like?

2) Were there any special rules you had to follow while on set? Any absolute no-gos?

3) What's it like to being in costume? Does it feel like being dressed up or like actually wearing something from this time period?

YourFavouriteJosh56 karma

1) I answered an open casting call that I happened to see posted in a Facebook group/page. I then brought along 4 of my friends to be soldiers as well :) 2) There were forms to sign, and we weren't supposed to have our phones with us. Aside from that the set was relatively open though - I managed to have a short talk with & shake Lorenzo Richelmy's hand ('Marco Polo' himself!) hand while he was having a smoke and rehearsing his lines. 3) Yes - the shoes were floppy and uncomfortable lol but overall the costume felt quite authentic.

beck167081 karma

The obvious question:


YourFavouriteJosh72 karma


Pugs50135 karma


YourFavouriteJosh45 karma


imnotwillferrell79 karma

what effect does a show like king of the hill have on the propane/charcoal industries?

YourFavouriteJosh186 karma

Wow that was random. Can we stick on topic to Rampart please? :P (But if anything I figure glorifying BBQ in popular culture can only help increase sales of propane/charcoal).

Brodyseuss57 karma

Literally laughed out loud.

YourFavouriteJosh64 karma

You literally just used literally in the correct way! :)

RonMexico201437 karma

So are you Chinese or Japanese?

YourFavouriteJosh46 karma

I am of Malaysian Chinese-Peranakan heritage. Born in Malaysia, I my ancestors long long long ago have to had been from China.

RonMexico201440 karma

...so are you Chinese or Japanese?

YourFavouriteJosh31 karma

I'm Chinese-Peranakan.

maybeilllurkmore59 karma

This is a reference to King of the Hill, please don't take offense. Redditors have a hard time conveying seriousness online.

YourFavouriteJosh32 karma

Haha now I get it! https://vimeo.com/72298377

YourFavouriteJosh16 karma

So I guess if I have to choose one...Chinese!

LtKill12 karma

What ocean?

YourFavouriteJosh7 karma

I don't get it...

lawlschool8811 karma

You've officially earned your username with that comment. My Josh friend from college will be so sad to learn he's no longer my favorite.

YourFavouriteJosh16 karma

My apologies to your friend Josh. Don't worry, he can be someone else's favourite Josh :)

Quihatzin36 karma

great show guys and gals. how was the weather during most of the filming. also, was it awkward during the sex scenes to be around most of the time naked or id you get to put clothes on during the cuts?

YourFavouriteJosh75 karma

Speaking on behalf of myself...I wish I had sex scenes to be in, but noo, I was the scene in Episode 3 with hundreds of Chinese soldiers, where Jia Sidao killed the champion.

(This one: http://imgur.com/KrwdRaz)

The weather was really really hot. We started early morning and by mid afternoon it was absolutely burning. The bigger sized guys got the more elaborate 'general' costumes, at first I was a little jealous but given the weather I knew I would've melted in it. We were given water and biscuits between takes, but still two extras fainted from the heat (try standing straight with weapons for hours under the hot sun), and after that Dan Minahan mentioned that whoever couldn't take it anymore, should 'stand down'.

Quihatzin23 karma

i know the feeling. Basic training in San Antonio, TX in summer in full dress in formation. People drop like flies. I was under the impression that it would have been a lot colder than that. I had no idea.

YourFavouriteJosh27 karma

Yeah...Malaysia is really hot, located near the equator. I think our summers are way hotter than in the US! Cause it's like summer all year round here, when it's not raining...

Brodyseuss22 karma

You might be surprised how varied the climate is in the US. http://pedalplants.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Map_Zones.jpg

YourFavouriteJosh11 karma

Wow, that is pretty scary. I hope you're in a comfortable zone at the moment! :)

Brodyseuss2 karma

Oh, yeah. I'm in a very moderate place along the coast. How's the weather where you're at?

YourFavouriteJosh5 karma

Weather is pleasant here - not too rainy, not too hot. Which is actually pretty rare.

ilovenoodle4 karma

Wait was the filming done in Malaysia?

YourFavouriteJosh8 karma

Yeah, it was filmed in Pinewood Studios, Johor as well as in Kazakhstan and Italy :) Look for a YouTube link I posted earlier, there was a scene in Kluang too!

jayakumar233 karma

What's your take on the accusation that this series perpetuates the Hollywood use of Asian female characters in excessive fetishization/sexualization roles, and without depth in their portrayal?

For example, the Washington Post said in reviewing Marco Polo:

"Unless, of course, you’re here for the young, naked Asian women. They’re everywhere in “Marco Polo,” to an almost pervy degree, which makes watching the show feel like that time you accidentally glimpsed your father-in-law’s browser history. "


For example, what was the purpose of scenes like this (obviously nsfw, shows naked woman upside down seen from well, uhm, awkward angle):


Did you find that degrading? Do you know if any mainstream "American" actress have been asked to do similar scenes and whether they did so with/without body doubles ?

YourFavouriteJosh57 karma

As an Asian male I have no problem with Asian females being portrayed as sexy :) However from a business standpoint I have to say that Netflix doing a big-budget series like this without a tentpole Caucasian character is a huge risk, one that might have to be offset by tantalizing the audience with more skin. I'm just glad they didn't whitewash the cast (Eg the U.S. adaption of Dragonball, The Last Airbender etc) As for the question about American actors doing roles that require similiar nudity - you don't have to look much further than the series Marco Polo is most often compared to, Game Of Thrones. HBO, Netflix and Starz have definitely set a certain standard to expect of female nudity content - Asian, Western or otherwise.

darligulv131 karma

However from a business standpoint I have to say that Netflix doing a big-budget series like this without a tentpole Caucasian character is a huge risk

I read somewhere that the show should have been called Kublai Khan or something to that affect since the story revolves around him more then it does around Marco Polo. But as a show that already has a considerably non-white cast, and a period piece, they wanted someone who was familiar with western audiences.

And like you, I am so glad they did not whitewash the characters.

YourFavouriteJosh29 karma

You're right - Kublai is definitely one of the main stars of the show...but it'll be easier to 'pick up' a show named 'Marco Polo' based on familiarity alone rather than 'Kublai Khan'. I have to say though that they seem to have made a conscious effort to remain faithful to the character's heritages - from a marketing standpoint it would have been better to have a mainstream American/Hollywood actor as the lead rather than a relatively unknown Italian actor (who hasn't done any Hollywood productions prior to this).

PedroFPardo10 karma

To be honest the name "Marco Polo" didn't make me watch the show. It was more the other way around. I was expecting a childish stupid TV show. I heard that the show was good and I watched anyway despite the name and I love it. I had to convince too many people. I had this conversation too many times in the last two months.

-Marco Polo? Seriously?

-Yes! Watch it is on Netflix!

YourFavouriteJosh32 karma

I get what you mean. As an example - 'Da Vinci's Demons' was a great show, but some thought it'll be some old stodgy thing because it's set in history and the name (but Da Vinci on the show Da Vinci's Demons is actually like a Renaissance Batman/Tony Stark). I can't think of anything else they could call the show aside from Marco Polo though. 'Mongolian Adventure'? 'Yurt Of Cards'? 'The Wrath of Kublai Khan?'. Hahaha. You should show your friends the trailer. It will totally change their minds.

sexlexia_survivor33 karma

Definitely "Yurt of Cards."

YourFavouriteJosh15 karma

Thank you, I'm pretty proud of that one.

jayakumar2-1 karma

As an Asian male I have no problem with Asian females being portrayed as sexy

I have not watched the whole series so I can't judge whether "sexy" was the portrayal that comes across. But Asian friends who have watched were upset, and the phrase "it seemed degrading" seems common which seems consistent with the WashingtonPost review ("father-in-law's browser history") and several other similar reviews. Can we assume you disagree with these assessments? ie: your opinion is that these scenes were not degrading and instrumental to the plot/character definition?

Game Of Thrones

I have watched this series. I think the amount of nudity for the main characters was limited and even then, body doubles were used. Also, as is well documented, the directors chose to use actual porn stars for some roles, hence perhaps those individuals were comfortable with the manner in which they were instructed to act. That's why I limited the question to "mainstream American" and asked whether body doubles were used. What's your take on this?

YourFavouriteJosh4 karma

Hmm. Just curious - are your Asian friends...Malaysian? Or Asians staying in the US. I didn't feel offended at all, and I don't think it was degrading - I thought that most of the characters were quite well written, and overall the female characters are pretty empowered and complex (i.e. not shoehorned into the typical slut/bitch/tiger lady role).

If anything I think the lack of nudity for 'mainstream American' actors is simply a matter of costing and budgets - it is a developed market, thereby agents/managers as well as the actors themselves would need higher budgets to show more skin.

Teb-Tenggeri31 karma

I've never watched the show, but I've read more than my fair share of Mongolian history, including excursions into China. How accurately do you think this show depicts the time period?

YourFavouriteJosh55 karma

Hmmm. I don't know enough on the subject matter to comment, but this is a very interesting link I managed to dig up - (Apparently one of the main actors in Marco Polo is a Redditor and he also consulted /r/AskHistorians for help.)


jdscarface27 karma

What are some Mongolian cuisines I should try? Do you think Netflix's business model (internet streaming, basically) will eventually make television an obsolete form of watching shows?

Thanks for the AMA, I plan on finishing season 1 of Marco Polo eventually!

YourFavouriteJosh35 karma

jdscarface: I wish I knew what's good, I haven't tried Mongolian cuisine! But you should check out Eddie Huang's webisodes on Mongolian food, he has some very good insights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QligM6VuM_4

Have you started on the first episode yet? I actually work in digital advertising for my day job, so I do believe that online streaming will eventually overtake TV/cable...just needs time for the ad budgets to follow. I think that the physical 'television' itself will never disappear (I mean we wanna lie down in our beds and watch TV), it's just that in time, most of the content and programs we watch will be streamed/downloaded - not broadcasted or through cable.

jdscarface6 karma

Thanks for the response. I'm 12 seconds into that video and it's already entertaining!

I've seen about the first three episodes now, and I've enjoyed it so far. It has some really beautiful shots. There's just too much TV to watch at the moment! What shows are you guys currently keeping up with?

YourFavouriteJosh15 karma

Here's my current list...suggest you try some! :)

Gotham Empire Arrow Fresh Off The Boat The Newsroom

And of course, looking forward to the House Of Cards new season coming later this month.

brownboy1319 karma

Hey guys. I see you're answering questions. Does this mean you want to do the AMA now or would you want to keep it for the 19th at 1PM as per your request?

YourFavouriteJosh24 karma

Ooh wasn't expecting to get listed but this is great! :) Either option is fine - we can continue answering questions throughout the day from now till then, no problem. What would you advise would get the most traction?

brownboy1322 karma

Additionally, if you could gimme the usernames of all the participants, I can add some flair to them.

YourFavouriteJosh21 karma

Sure - the usernames are YourFavouriteJosh, OliviaShyan & leifennie

brownboy1315 karma

Done. Lastly, could you guys add some more proof. Pictures of yourselves holding up pieces of paper with your username written on them would be perfect.

YourFavouriteJosh20 karma

This is Leifennie's - http://imgur.com/2yRdoAd

YourFavouriteJosh20 karma

This is Olivia's - http://imgur.com/WYJR9Xp

YourFavouriteJosh18 karma

This is mine : http://imgur.com/revPn8c

brownboy1313 karma

Since you've already started and this is picking up steam, I'd suggest you keep going.

YourFavouriteJosh12 karma

Okay that's great! If we can still be listed that'll be great though, cheers!

liamquane17 karma

Hi Congratulations! Can I ask: What is the best thing a director can do for you on set? Thanks :~)

YourFavouriteJosh21 karma

I remember you from the Chin Han AMA :) Well, I guess it could be a back rub? :P Honestly though, of course as an actor I would love more screen time!

Jedical16 karma

With shows like Fresh of the Boat, The Walking Dead (Steven Yuen) and Marco Polo, do you think there will be more Asian actors filling main character roles in tv shows and movies?

YourFavouriteJosh17 karma

I sure hope so. I'll like to see a big summer movie with an Asian leading man soon that isn't a martial artist.

TheFakeTomTelesco15 karma

Thanks for the AMA! I think the question on everyone's minds is:

Mongorians, what do you think about shitty beef?

YourFavouriteJosh40 karma

I prefer the shitty chicken :P

delgado_seb11 karma

First of all, I must congratulate on your roles in Marco Polo! It was a great show and hopefully there will be a season 2 (fingers crossed!). Just want to ask how was your experience on the set? Did you feel like you were traveling back to the past? Did you think their lifestyle and their justice are fair?

YourFavouriteJosh14 karma

Thanks delgado! Season 2 is confirmed btw! :) http://www.comingsoon.net/tv/trailers/397073-netflix-announces-marco-polo-season-2-premiere-date-for-daredevil-more#/slide/1

From walking around, the sets I saw were huge and elaborate - and I even saw a boat which I presume was greenscreened into water later. The 'weapons' that the extras including myself were using were thankfully, not sharp - it was made out of a rubber/foam type material. All in all I would say it was a very interesting & immersive once in a lifetime experience, although very tiring to film in the hot sun.

genserik2 karma

Can't wait for S2. You should do something in one of the scenes, maybe have one of the make up artists do a fake tatoo of the reddit alien, or perhaps the imgur giraffe on your skin, I don't know. Anyways...

Can you do a favor for us all and ask the producers/writers to make Marco Polo twice as long, but retain the same number of episodes? Or perhaps, make twice as many episodes, but keep the same length as the current ones?

I know that you will make this happen and come through for all of us.

Thanks ;)

YourFavouriteJosh6 karma

You have very high expectations of us LOL :P I don't have any influence in the production itself, but I'll say that it's probably quite unlikely given that Marco Polo is already Netflix's most expensive production to date (USD90 million). Personally though I'll rather see the story stay tight, the current pace seems to work quite well. And if there were twice as many episodes we won't get any sleep binge watching :) I finished the whole 10 episode series in 3 days personally.

KshitijC7 karma

What was the worst experience you had when filming for Marco Polo?

YourFavouriteJosh14 karma

Probably the exhaustion from standing in costume for hours from the heat. But all that was worth it, to see my face in the title card for the episode on Netflix :)

page_matthews7 karma

Hello, I'm curious, how did you get involved with Marco Polo and what was the best part about working on the show? :)

YourFavouriteJosh11 karma

Got the role through answering an open call on Facebook. Best part? Getting to star in a USD90 million Hollywood production, even though it's just a small part - and having your picture visible in the episode title card on Netflix :) Definitely worth the tiring day in the hot sun!

wilfredw7 karma

Any way to blow this guy up on IMDb?

YourFavouriteJosh14 karma

Haha as a lowly extra, I don't have an IMDB profile! But Leifennie and Olivia could use a boost :) http://imdb.me/oliviashyan http://imdb.me/leifennie

Sybertron7 karma

Benedict Wong has been absolutely amazing so far in the show for me, who are some on set actors you find yourself admiring or looking up to?

Also I know there is a lot of tension between some of the Eastern Asian cultures and religions, have you ever found yourself defeating some stereotypes working with such a diverse cast? Maybe surprise finding out someone else's background?

YourFavouriteJosh10 karma

I really think that Chin Han is set for some big things - he is probably going to be one of the biggest Singaporean actors in the years to come. No tension as far as I know of, most I met were generally a chill lot - BUT I did hear from someone in the production that one of the actresses was quite a bitch to the other girls, not saying who :)

SherlockDoto6 karma

does no one on the set actually read or write Chinese?

for example

YourFavouriteJosh5 karma

HAHAHAHA that looks like Klingon lol :)

trobing6 karma

This question is more for Leifennie, but may apply to Olivia as well: Have you had any issue for being in this production as a "concubine"?

I'm from Indonesia and I know how the country make a big deal out of their celebrities and public figures getting involved in (what they consider to be) "perverted" productions. I mean, look at the news coverage on our Miss Universe reps for just being in the swimsuit competition. Not sure if you had a nude scene, but I'm sure the role is enough to stir things up.

YourFavouriteJosh5 karma

There seems to be different standards of behaviour expected from Muslims and non-Muslims. There was quite a controversy too when some local Muslim girls took part in Miss World Malaysia a few years back, check out the link: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2013/07/23/Miss-World-Finalist/

SandPocket5 karma

Are the three of you originally from Malaysia?

What is the atmosphere on the set like? Are there lots of people? Are there a lot of spare props lying around? Are there a lot of robes? (lol)

@ Josh - Did you get any kool weapon props to use?

So far I love the show, can't wait for season 2! Best wishes for the future for all of you!

YourFavouriteJosh5 karma

I think so, except Leifennie may have been born somewhere else I can't remember. Yes - lots of people for my scene. Lots of spare props lying around, I wish I kept one :P. I held a long sword kinda thing, you can see it here : http://imgur.com/KrwdRaz

The weapons props were really well done - they actually have two versions, one for 'bulk scenes' that are servicable visually and given to the extras in general, and another one for closeups where people might see the weapon in more details (eg for people that would get more screentime). And they weren't too heavy but looked the part, weren't too uncomfortable to carry either - excellent choice of materials.

BeachPartyRPG5 karma

I don't get why the critics rated it so harshly, I really enjoyed this series!

Are you guys history buffs, in Asian history or anything else?

YourFavouriteJosh2 karma

I enjoy researching the 'true facts' behind most historically set shows I've seen, but wouldn't say I'm quite a history buff.

the_c00ler_king5 karma

What are your favourite types of pie?

YourFavouriteJosh11 karma

Apple pie and Sheperd's pie! How about yours?

the_c00ler_king7 karma

Mine is a "mince and skirlie" pie. Skirlie is a traditional North East Scottish savoury dish made with pinhead oats, fried in lard with onions (they make a "skirling" sound in the pan apparently). The skirlie tops a pie dish filled with mince in a rich gravy.

YourFavouriteJosh7 karma

That sounds absolutely delicious. I doubt it's available in Malaysia but I'll definitely keep a look out for it - the mix of savoury flavours, fat and fibre sounds very very appealing!

the_c00ler_king2 karma

It is pretty damn tasty, with enough fat to soak up any hangover. You may be able to make one with local ingredients but I doubt they would travel well!

YourFavouriteJosh2 karma

Haha thanks! Will look up the recipes :)

HopHeady5 karma

I enjoyed the show so far and really the only thing that sticks out to me is I wish it was filmed in native tongue to add just that more realism what with the great scenery/people/sets etc.. Is this something others might have threw out there or am I alone?

YourFavouriteJosh18 karma

As a Malaysian Chinese that can't speak or understand Chinese...I disagree. I love that I can enjoy and watch the show in English, and it does open up the Asian actors to a wider audience. Besides, from a marketing standpoint - how would you convince Hollywood producers to fund a show without a tentpole Caucasian character...and in a language other than English? Even popular British films/series have American remakes...

silverbullet754 karma

Hi! What are the differences between working on a Netflix show and one produced for more typical consumption ('regular' TV / movie)? Thanks!

YourFavouriteJosh5 karma

I haven't had much experience with 'regular' TV/movies, but from my perspective as a consumer and an avid watcher (not as an actor) - I do know that the budgets tend to be a lot higher and they seem to be able to have a much higher risk appetite. This is one of the most interesting articles I've read on the topic: http://www.indiewire.com/article/how-marco-polo-netflixs-biggest-bet-yet-could-forever-change-film-and-tv-20141210

PineappleInTheMist4 karma

How did you guys get started with acting and how did you feel when approached about the show?

YourFavouriteJosh10 karma

I actually got started with acting many years ago - after high school, I followed a friend for an audition for a new theatre group...ended up getting the audition but she didn't. Did 2 stage plays, then after that a couple of TV commercials, but nothing big. I found out quite early on about Marco Polo (big fan of the whole Netflix model/House Of Cards), so I was pretty excited...when I knew there was an opportunity to be an extra so I took it :)

jokingrotten3 karma

Have you ever tried shaking an invisible salt shaker onto your tongue? You can actually taste the salt!

YourFavouriteJosh3 karma

Hahah, I heard this a long time ago, and have tried this on my friends :)

mysticabyss3 karma

Do you feel as if Marco Polo didn't have enough water?And water noodles?FISH OUTTA WATER?

YourFavouriteJosh3 karma

This seems like a reference to something, but I don't know what it is. Could you help me?

mysticabyss2 karma

Marco!!!! you then would say?

YourFavouriteJosh4 karma


wilfredw3 karma

Did you have any interactions with anyone in the main cast?

YourFavouriteJosh4 karma

Yes, Marco Polo himself (Lorenzo Richelmy). Talked to him for a bit while he was having a smoke and going through his lines. Also, have met General Red Brow (Patrick Teoh) in past a few times too, a fellow Malaysian who appears in 7 episodes, including the episode/scene I'm in.

Mzilikazi813 karma

Did the three of you know each other on set? Or are you meeting for the first time in an AMA?

YourFavouriteJosh4 karma

We were fortunate enough to meet each other before the production (but not all before being casted).

USMC_spidey3 karma

Hello! My husband and I binge watched the first season and we can't wait for season 2!!

Josh: would you be interested in coming back to this show or are you looking to go elsewhere? Will we see you again soon?

Ladies: you are both so gorgeous! Should we expect to see more of you soon?

YourFavouriteJosh4 karma

I would love to come back, given the chance. Looking into doing some web videos soon, but probably more to the news/talkshow vein :)

Leifennie and Olivia are currently talking to some agents, and if all goes well they will be in a few more Hollywood productions soon. Olivia is currently a confirmed cast member in 'From Freetown', due out in 2016. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4032696/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_1

whotaketh2 karma

I get that the show is called 'Marco Polo' and all, but is there any way for it to be more "this is Mongolian/Chinese life and Marco just happens to be here", and less "Marco Polo saves the day"? What are your thoughts on where you'd like to see the plot go?

YourFavouriteJosh4 karma

Honestly the title of the show itself being 'Marco Polo' has determined the direction of the show, but I would definitely love to see some of the Asian cast get bigger story arcs.

cimbalom2 karma

Hi, I love Malaysia! I spent a few weeks there in 2013 and I really want to go back again one day.

Anyways, I love Chinese film (actions, drama, kung fu etc) but I realize I can't really think of any Malaysian films that I have seen. Can you recommend any?

YourFavouriteJosh2 karma

Great to know! Come by around the middle of the year - the weather is nice, and there's plenty to do. And it's going to be cheap too...the USD is at an all time high now compared to the ringgit.

Hmm. Malaysian films. The only English language one I can think of that I would recommend is 'Spinning Gasing'. Also do see 'The Journey' (in Chinese, hopefully you can find subtitles - highest grossing Malaysian film so far). The majority of Malaysian films cater to a Malay-speaking domestic market and is either horror, comedies or love stories...not something that an international audience would find as interesting. Namewee has some good satire though (Nasi Lemak 2.0 and a few other movies).

BakedOnions2 karma

How many actual Mongolian actors or extras were there in the series?

YourFavouriteJosh6 karma

Based on the fact that they did shoot in Mongolia, there seemed to be a significant amount of Mongolian actors in during filming in Pinewood Studios (Johor, Malaysia), and of the Mongolian sounding names I saw on the casting boards while we were being briefed...a lot!

malaysianlah2 karma

Oh cool. Didnt watch it but hows the facilities there like?

YourFavouriteJosh4 karma

Suggest you give it a watch :) There are ways to watch Netflix from Malaysia, haha. But I would say in terms of the place as a studio...definitely world class, worthy of the Pinewood name (the Pinewood studios in other countries are where they film Star Wars, Bond etc). You're into film/production I presume?

Frame252 karma

I enjoyed season 1 and look forward to more. I am an independent filmmaker and was hoping you guys might share some observations about the technical side of the production. What kind of equipment do they use when filming indoors vs outdoor? If any of you have technical knowledge of that side of the craft, that'd be great, but even if you don't know the official names for various equipment it would be nice to hear plain-language descriptions of stuff you observed! For example:

  • Do they use a lot of giant greenscreens?
  • What kinds and amounts of lights do they use on indoor scenes? How about outdoors?
  • How much is on constructed sets and how much on found locations?
  • Did they use a lot of on-set sound or was it heavily re-recorded in post?
  • Was there a lot of hauling of equipment to and from remote locations?

Stuff like that. I want to hear whatever little bit you noticed about the technical side!!!

YourFavouriteJosh7 karma

Hey sure, I was only in a few scenes and didn't get to see inside some of the sets aside from peeking through the doors but let me tell you what I saw (I've posted some set pics in my previous replies):

  1. I only saw 1 giant greenscreen, that was near the constructed village.
  2. There was a huge overhead light/drape thing (like massive, you could put 100 people under it) for the outdoor scene I was in for Episode 3 where Jia Sidao kills the champion. I figure it was to maintain lighting consistency as the day progressed. It was hot as fuck even without the light earlier on.
  3. A lot were constructed sets for the filming in Malaysia. For Mongolia I think they used a lot of natural backgrounds.
  4. I think I remember seeing some boom mikes.
  5. I saw probably...2/3 cranes.

You're going to love this video btw - the trebuchets/catapults were REAL and not CGI! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8xW-LkFq6A

Frame251 karma

Asked some technical questions already. Here are some non-technical things I'm curious about:

  1. How many takes did different types of scenes require?
  2. What kind of training/preparation went into fight scenes?
  3. How did they manage all those horses?

YourFavouriteJosh5 karma

  1. For that scene I'm in (this one: http://imgur.com/KrwdRaz), it was wayyy too many takes - it was basically almost 6-7 hours for what was essentially 3-5 minutes on screen. They had to shoot it at multiple angles, and for some reason, they have a twin stunt double of the guy that gets his neck broken to redo the fighting scenes while the other guy does the lines (keep in mind they look exactly the same). The end result was great though.
  2. I don't know but I did read that Chin Han's character (Jia Sidao) took 6 months to learn the 'Cricket style' Kung Fu as it is not very popular.
  3. No idea, wasn't in any scene that required it. But I do remember the casting form asking me if I could ride a horse.

DrMantisTobogan97841 karma

How much does it cost to get your AMA on the front page?

YourFavouriteJosh3 karma

Seriously though I had no idea till you told me we made it to the front page. I've been a lurker for a very long time and I really didn't expect this AMA to be approved, let alone get more than 10 comments or make the front page. Thanks!

YourFavouriteJosh2 karma

I wish I knew, I wouldn't mind paying...OH FUCK WAIT A MINUTE WE MADE IT TO THE FRONT PAGE!!!!

TarsierBoy0 karma

I hope there's nudity on this show. Should I watch it for that?

YourFavouriteJosh1 karma

You should, but there's plenty of story and action around the nudity too! :)

DongQuixote1-1 karma

How do you feel about the idea that this show is extremely orientalist and reminiscent of 19th century artwork that emphasized the sensual foreignness and violence of eastern cultures?


I don't mean this in an angry way or anything. I was impressed by the acting in Marco Polo on an individual level but extremely disappointed by the writing and world building which was, at times, ahistorical and bordlerline racist.

YourFavouriteJosh6 karma

I didn't really feel the 'racism' that you mentioned - if anything the killings seemed more necessary leverage to conquer than 'ethnic cleansing'. If anything I found it quite interesting that the writers chose to focus on Kublai Khan's avid interest in other cultures, even raising one of his sons (Remy Hii's character) 'the Chinese way' so that he would understand the Chinese better. But if your beef is with the 'Asian princess' falling in love with the 'White Man'....well. I don't suppose Marco Polo could have a love interest that isn't Asian, given where he is located? Sex and violence are not exclusive to any one culture - I guess it's just a rather new thing to see it being performed at this budget, at this scale, with this particular race (we're very used to watching historical sex and violence in European/American times).

DongQuixote11 karma

But if your beef is with the 'Asian princess' falling in love with the 'White Man'

Nope, my beef was with the salacious tone that characterized the depictions of the Khan's court and the gratuitous nudity/harem scenes, alongside the tropes - blind kung fu master, inscrutable wisdom of the east, etc.

I guess I was disappointed partially because of what you mentioned - that they took the polycentric, religiously tolerant (if Sinicized) Mongol system and instead of running with it made it the backdrop to something much less interesting.

I'm definitely not calling the show racist on the whole or anything but I think you'd be really interested to read some of Edward Said's work in the context of having acted in such an interesting show.

Anyway I really appreciate your answer. Most AMA people avoid anything even remotely critical. Keep up the good work.

YourFavouriteJosh1 karma

Haha. It helps that I wasn't on the writing team, I merely played a very small role as an extra. Just giving my personal take on it. Will look up Edward Said.

astoriabeatsbk-1 karma

Why are you doing an AMA?

YourFavouriteJosh3 karma

I guess some people probably have interest in the topic and have questions to ask, which we will answer. Like what I'm doing right now? :)