Elizabeth Yu Interview – StyleCaster


Major looters in advance for Avatar: The Last Airbender. Life’s ablaze for Elizabeth Yu. The 21-year-old starlet has actually come off of 2 significant jobs, back-to-back, in the previous 5 months alone and her energy will certainly remain to construct. In late 2023, she starred as Mary Atherton-Yoo, the adolescent child of Charles Melton and Julianne Moore’s personalities of Joe and Grace Atherton-Yoo, in the hit Golden Globe-chosen film May December.

Fast onward to currently, she’s living the desire as she stars in the real-time adjustment of Avatar: The Last Airbender as Azula, the intense sis of Prince Zuko. “A huge part of my career and why I do it now is getting to play in projects that have a lot of Asian representation,” Yu informed StyleCaster concerning the special jobs. “I didn’t realize that Avatar was just a huge opportunity to open doors in my career, but also a huge opportunity to learn more about who I am.”  

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Exactly 19 years after Avatar: The Last Airbender premiered on Nickelodeon, the computer animated kids’s program is being reimagined as a high-budget Game of Thrones-like Netflix collection. Though the program obtains a lot of the story and respects the OG program exceptionally, there have actually been some apparent modifications to fit a portable eight-episode period. One of them is the intro to Yu’s personality. Fans of the collection will certainly understand that Azula is initial seen at the end of period 1 as a non-speaking personality, and at some point goes full blast in period 2. 

However, Azula is offered some even more backstory right here and an extra frightening, challenging intro. Unnamed and covert, she entices a team of rebels to her dad Fire Lord Ozai (Daniel Dae Kim), and reveals her real loyalty to the fierce autocrat. The fire that shouts under her is stired up by the competitors versus her bro Zuko (Dallas Liu) and his goal to locate the Avatar. At completion of the collection, Azula is leading a critical story for the following period.

I overtook Elizabeth Yu to speak about Azula’s personality advancement, the suggestions Charles Melton provided her, and working with her desire functions.

With the success of May December, exactly how was the shift from relocating from this film job to an actually big franchise business?

“There was a lot of spotlight on Natalie [Portman], Julianne [Moore], and Charles [Melton]. We, as the kids in the movie got to lay low and observe the pros do what they do best. It was super helpful to get that slow transition into a really cool thing, which was May December to Avatar, which is a huge blockbuster, and getting to promote both of them.”

Was there any kind of suggestions that Natalie, Julianne, or Charles offered to you on established? 

“Charles was so helpful. He gave me so much advice that I desperately wanted, but I was too shy to ask him. He was so open and giving. In that sense, he has such a big heart and a huge big brother role. To this day, I text him ‘What do I do? I don’t actually know what to do.’ And he texts back, ‘Calm down. Do what you want to do, not what you think you should do. To that, you’ll stay. You’ll just keep to your heart.’ I feel like he’s a great example of doing that. The recognition he’s getting from the movie is so amazing because I know that’s such a core part of who he is.”

He type of experienced the very same point with Riverdale with the live-action adjustment course.

“I was asking him what was it like to be such a part of a project that has a huge teen demographic, and a huge production with a cast that’s similar in size to Avatar. His main thing was just to follow your heart and do what you want. Also, to be grateful and appreciative of the opportunity.”

Elizabeth Yu as Azula in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

What’s your partnership with the computer animated collection? Was there something around Azula’s personality that you wished to bring over from the computer animated variation to the live-action variation?

“I’m a huge fan of the original series. I watched a lot of reruns growing up, and then I rewatched it multiple times. When I found out what I was auditioning for, I wanted to translate into the live-action version with Azula is the internal struggle that she has at the end of the animated series. When we look full first season, we’re planting the seeds for what comes later with her. She’s not so different from Zuko as you might think. I love the internal monologue that she may have at any given moment getting and we see this new side of her that we have never seen before. It was really cool to delve into that side of her.”

How did you direct these feelings to confirm that she’s really an intricate personality with the stress of honor within her household?

“A huge part of the frustration that she feels comes from her brother—who’s a man and also incompetent. So that struggle of ‘I am a woman, I know I am better and I deserve it more than him’ was what helped create that dynamic of needing to prove herself to her father. Daniel’s scary take and playing that dynamic with him helped me understand her.”

He’s really frightening on display, yet I envision him being completely various off-screen. What was it like dealing with him? 

“He’s just such a pro. Watching him, you see that this guy lives and breathes the industry. He just knows how everything works at the back of his hand. It’s so inspiring because as young Asian actors and creatives, he is what we want to be. I don’t think he needs to give us advice because I think that just his existence is so inspiring. Getting to work with him is next level and he’s just so normal, talking about where I was from. But, I was just so nervous talking to him. He took us all the karaoke to Vancouver, which was really fun. Getting to bond with him was insane.”

(L to R) Elizabeth Yu as Azula, Daniel Dae Kim as Ozai in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

The function had you do comprehensive training and feats for the activity series and flexing. What did you need to carry out in a day of training? 

“I’m not an individual that suches as to relocate. I such as to being in my bed, associate the pet cats, and watch YouTube video clips. There was a great deal of job to be done when it involved training. I existed around 5 days a week from 10 am to 2 pm. It was a great deal of working with type and seeing to it my body had the muscle mass to hold specific settings for the size of a take. It was a great deal of job to be putting on shield that fit to mold and mildew my body and needing to extend it out. 

But it’s in fact truly practical for my personality to undergo the extensive training procedure. She has that inner battle of needing to confirm that she is the very best. Myself, experiencing this procedure of needing to be best in all my feats yet never ever truly doing it prior to was so practical in playing her. Getting to do those scenes where you see her go with all these kinds and fire lightning for the very first time in a live-action adjustment was insane.”

I believe the important things that this adjustment succeeds is the Asian and Indigenous depiction in the collection. What was the atmosphere like to be bordered by everybody that’s so encouraging?

“We mosted likely to the Unforgettable Gala which was an occasion that I’ve been desiring for mosting likely to since I wished to come to be a star. There were numerous minutes when I was wrecking. I stated to myself, ‘Liz, you don’t understand these individuals. You cannot be wrecking at Greta Lee’s speech.’ It was so relocating. Getting to see her obtain acknowledgment for the incredible job that she performed in Past Lives was definitely significant.

I reached remove various points from Avatar and May December. With Avatar, we had a bulk of the actors and staff participants that were Asian. It was the very first time I’d ever before remained in a space with greater than 15 Asian individuals. It was so amazing reaching see a number of Asian individuals standing out at what they do. And after that reaching deal with May December, Charles, Piper [Curda], and Gabriel [Chung] are all really half Korean. So, that was an entire various other element of recovery and finding out more concerning myself.”

What do you believe followers will leave the collection?

“I know that they’re super excited, and they definitely deserve a really great live-action. I’m obviously biased, but I think that they can see a lot of heart and what the fans love in the show. It’s coming from an absolute place of love for the original. Albert Kim, our showrunner, said that the original show is the Bible and our show is a love letter.”

Season one finishes with your personality taking control of Omashu. And if it complies with along, period 2 will concentrate on the total story of the Siege of Ba Sing Se, so what are your wish for you and your personality entering into that story?

It was so crucial to me that Azula talks really in different ways to her dad, Mai, and Ty Lee than she does to everybody else. But in our program, she doesn’t speak to any person beyond them. I’m delighted for individuals to lastly satisfy that individual that all of us understand. I desired there to be a distinction in between her not being totally prepared yet to when the timer goes off. That’s when we satisfy her in Omashu where she’s lastly the canine that’s been let go the chain. I’m so fired up to be doing scenes that individuals keep in mind from the initial collection due to the fact that every one of my things in the program is totally brand-new. There are many renowned and acquainted minutes of Azula, as we understand, and I’m delighted to obtain my hands on it.

This interview has actually been modified and compressed for quality. 

Hair: Yukiko Tajima
Makeup: Daniel Martin
Styling: Juliet Vo and Andrew Philip Nguyen

Avatar: The Last Airbender is currently streaming on Netflix.


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