Oftentimes, witnessing a particular event or spectacle ignites a passionate inner flame, we as individuals, never knew resided within our innermost walls. After rising actress Selina Lo found herself captivated within the confinement of a man-made mirage filled with exhilarating action sequences, she quickly allowed her so-called inner flame to ignite a fully-fledged fire. After learning to hone her creative spark, Selina can be seen showcasing her talents in the Hulu action-thriller film, Boss Level. In this exclusive interview, Selina discusses her past in the industry, her overall experience working on her newest project, and aspirations she has for her ever-growing career.
Megan Morgante: Did anything/anyone, in particular, inspire you to pursue acting?
Selina Lo: I’ve always loved performing, and I sang and acted in all the school plays, but my other passion was martial arts. I started when I was four, and I ended up competing to a very high standard, alongside some of the best in the world. I guess my ‘eureka’ moment came when I got seriously injured and had to have double knee surgery. After that, I was unable to compete, so I had to re-evaluate. I remembered how much I loved acting and being part of great stories, and started thinking back to all the classic martial arts films I had watched with my dad as a child – including Drunken Master and Enter the Dragon – and began to dream of combining my two great loves into a career. Acting became a different outlet for me that I fell passionately for. That was when I decided to go to drama school, and the rest is history.
MM: Can you give an overview of your past in the entertainment industry and how it led you to where you are now?
SL: When I was a teenager, several friends from my martial arts days had moved out to Thailand and were finding work in the action film scene out there, so I thought I’d give it a try. I spent a while going back and forth as I finished school, and I was lucky enough to land some really amazing roles with some fantastic people. My skill set lends itself naturally to action films, and I love playing the girl who gets to kick some ass, but I also love comedy and heavy drama. Over time I landed roles that got to show more of those sides of my acting, which helped me make the move from Asia to the US and set me up for where I am today.
MM: You star in the new Hulu action-thriller film, Boss Level…. Congratulations! Can you give us some insight into what we can expect from this new film?
SL: Boss Level is a hilarious, action-packed thrill-ride. It’s about an ex-special forces operative who finds himself repeating the same day, where he is hunted and killed over and over by a team of eccentric assassins – including the sassy, sword-wielding Guan Yin played by yours truly – while also doing his best to reconnect with his estranged family. It’s a mind-blowingly good time with a lot of heart, and I really hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.
MM: What has your experience been like working with the cast and crew on this new project?
SL: Where do I start? The cast of this film is out-of-this-world. Most of my scenes are with Frank Grillo, who is a total star and I honestly don’t think this film would have worked with anyone else in that role. As for the rest of the cast, it’s such an honor to even be credited alongside the likes of Naomi Watts and Mel Gibson, and I have to give a special mention to Michelle Yeoh who is a personal hero of mine! More than anyone, though, working with Joe Carnahan has been the highlight of this film for me. I adore that man! He is such a phenomenal talent as both writer and director, but also one of the best human beings I know. I’ll always be grateful to him for letting me be a part of Boss Level.
MM: In this action-packed film, what was your experience utilizing your martial arts training?
SL: Guan Yin is an expert swordswoman and trained assassin, but also totally insane, so I felt right at home! Haha. The action was very intense, and it gave me a real opportunity to test my limits. They had me on wires, jumping off bridges, and leaping through complex action sequences before delivering my lines. Needless to say, there was a lot going on, but Joe and the team made it so easy. They know action better than anyone and created an environment where we could experiment and play around with the material until something felt right. There were times when I said, “...Let me try something,” and Joe gave me the freedom to do that. The fact that I had a background in martial arts helped us pull off some shots that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible, and I’m really proud of what we achieved.
MM: Do you have any new or upcoming projects that you’re particularly excited about?
SL: I have a few things in the pipeline and can’t share too many details right now, but Boss Level has been a game-changer for me, so it's a really exciting time.
MM: Do you have any hobbies you enjoy partaking in when you’re not acting?
SL: I collect early twentieth-century surrealist artwork...only kidding. Work doesn’t leave a lot of time for hobbies, unfortunately, but I do cherish spending time with friends and family. I also maintain a steady training regimen even when I’m not working. Old habits die hard, I guess.
MM: Have you ever experienced any notable challenges throughout your career?
SL: More than I can count, but acting is a tough profession and I can’t say that any of my challenges are unique to me. Rejection is always hard, and it took a long time for me to learn not to take it personally, which is particularly difficult, because in many ways, acting is incredibly personal, and we put so much of ourselves into every performance. There are always low points, but they only make the high points even more special. You have to remember to enjoy the journey, otherwise, you’ll never get out of bed in the morning.
MM: Where do you hope to see yourself within the upcoming years?
SL: I have worked really hard to get where I am, and I have no plans to stop now. I think that every actor’s dream is to have the freedom to define the career they want for themselves and build a legacy of great projects. I will always love action films, but I’d also relish the opportunity to test myself as both a dramatic and comedic actor too. My perfect career lies somewhere between Kate Winslet and Jackie Chan…if you can imagine that? Boss Level was amazing because I got to show all those different sides of myself, and I’m really excited to try some new things in the future.
Photography by Sarah Krick
Hairstyling by Laura Polko
Makeup by Kate Synnott
Styling by Philippe Uter