Game Changer Spotlight: Chantal Thuy

As part of the Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month collection, X1 Asian American Film & TV will highlight various Game Changers, influential Asian Americans across entertainment.

The following interview is with Chantal Thuy, who currently stars as Grace Choi on The CW’s “Black Lightning.” Thuy is first generation Canadian-Vietnamese and was raised by her parents, who are refugees from Vietnam. Thuy is a graduate of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City and is fluent in English, French and Vietnamese.

Image Credit: Chantal Thuy

Tell us about your experience on this latest season of “Black Lightning.”

Chantal Thuy: I’m really excited about the direction we’re going with Grace Choi! I am loving the development between Grace and Anissa, as well as slowly growing into my powers. The show is an action-packed family superhero show and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for this season. It’s been really great working on this show and getting to know everyone. The cast, crew and EPs are incredibly supportive and kind. 

Image Credit: Chantal Thuy

You’ve been acting for over a decade now. Any advice for up-and-coming actors? 

CT: Keep growing, learning, goal setting. Have faith and work hard at your craft. Dedicate yourself to this profession with the right intentions. Don’t compare yourself to others, and remember to also have fun along the way; it’s about the process and the journey!

You were recently on stage at the Mark Taper Forum (Los Angeles) as part of the cast of “Linda Vista” by playwright and actor Tracy Letts. How was that experience? 

CT: Being a part of this Tracy Letts play is a dream come true. Working alongside the Steppenwolf ensemble members and Tracy was such a great learning experience, and the Mark Taper Forum was a gorgeous theatre to have a Los Angeles debut. It was an intense play but I can’t wait to do it again. I’m excited to share more news about this soon!

What are some films and/or filmmakers that have inspired you?

CT: I have always held great admiration for Quebec filmmakers like Xavier Dolan, Jean-Marc Vallée, and Denys Arcand.  I also love Wong Kar-Wai, Jim Jarmusch and Yorgos Lanthimos. Some of my favorite films that still mark me are “All About Lily Chou Chou,” “Laurence Anyways,” “Stranger Than Paradise,” “C.R.A.Z.Y.,” “Last Life in the Universe.”

How does your Asian heritage influence your work? 

CT: My Asian heritage has made me acutely aware of representation in the media (lack thereof or misrepresentation). It has made me an activist in terms of my motivation as an artist and actress, and fuels my goals to work towards telling and creating more Asian American stories.

I know you probably can’t reveal pretty much anything, but we are still going to ask… What’s up next season on Black Lightning,” especially with your character?

CT: I’ve gotten a few hints about the storyline and I can’t wait to be able to share more about it, but who wants spoilers! It’s much more fun to watch the show and find out. 🙂

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