The director of the new Netflix movie Tigertail, Alan Yang, sat down for a video chat with uInterview to talk about the struggles of directing a movie in three languages and three-time periods.

Tigertail is inspired by my family story, specifically my dad’s story,” Yang said. “So, it’s about a Taiwanese immigrant who has a tough upbringing in Taiwan and works in a factory with his mom and gets married and comes to America for a better life, but leaves a lot behind.”

“He’s then struggling with his family in America, including his estranged daughter,” Yang continued. “It’s a story that spans continents and generations, and goes back and forth between time periods, and in between Taiwan and New York City.”

One of Yang’s hurtles? Directing actors who spoke different languages:

“I had to direct actors in two other languages that I didn’t really know and use translators. That posed some logistical difficulties, but they were just such terrific people to work with, and they did an amazing job in the film. I couldn’t be happier with the results,” Yang said.

Another hurdle? Casting the same character through different stages of their life.

“It’s really interesting to cast for contrast. Young Pin Jui is incredibly charismatic, he’s got a lot of charm, and he’s very appealing, and he’s got a movie star quality. So I had to find an Asian James Dean, and I think I found one in Hong Chi Lee!” Yang joked.

“And then present-day Pin Jui is kind of reserved and quiet and taciturn, and you can read the regret in his eyes. And I think Tzi Ma is a perfect actor for that role,” he said.

Tigertail is now streaming on Netflix. Watch the trailer for the movie below.

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