The Tiger’s Apprentice Premiere Interviews: The Cast on Paramount+’s Animated Film

John Nguyen

The talent and team behind The Tiger’s Apprentice attended the red carpet global premiere at Paramount Studios on January 27th, and they included stars Brandon Soo Hoo, Sandra Oh, Leah Lewis, Kheng Hua Tan, Sherry Cola, Deborah S. Craig, Diana Lee Inosanto and more. Based on the novel of the same name, the animated film is now available on Paramount+ and follows Tom, a teenager who discovers he has special powers. To stop an evil force, he must learn to hone his skills from a magical tiger and help reunite all twelve Zodiac animals.

Nerd Reactor was in attendance on the “purple” carpet and had the chance to chat with the voice actors and team about the film, the Chinese Zodiac animals, and more.

“It wasn’t hard to find myself in the story,” Brandon Soo Hoo tells Nerd Reactor. “Being Asian American, growing up in an American school, wanting to find a sense of belonging, trying to balance my American culture with my Asian identity – those are all stuff that I didn’t have to dig too deep to kind of resonate with because I feel like that is my story growing up.”

“This is the beauty of acting and being able to express and also adapt through the craft,” Cola explained. “Just like how I’m not the Zodiac monkey in real life, I’m also not a doctor in real life. I’m also not a lawyer in real life. I mean, my parents are disappointed. [laughs] My point is we really kind of shift to the assignment we’re given. I think Naomi the monkey is really me. We do pour ourselves into the cup when we perform. Monkey is very quick-witted, Monkey is very pranky, Monkey is saving the day a couple of times in the film because she cast spells and she really shows up and delivers.”

“I feel that grandparents are underrepresented on the small screen, big screen,” said Kheng Hua Tan. “I love the fact that I get to play a really funky, ferocious but kind, loving, and devoted grandmother. I see a lot of real-life grandmothers who are kickass, funky, ferocious and kind. I actually have a mom who’s like that and I channel so much of her into the character.”

About The Tiger’s Apprentice

Synopsis: Based on the popular children’s book series of the same name by Laurence Yep, The Tiger’s Apprentice follows Chinese-American teenager Tom Lee (Soo Hoo), whose life changes forever when he discovers he is part of a long lineage of magical protectors known as the Guardians. With guidance from a mythical tiger named Hu (Golding), Tom trains to take on Loo (Yeoh), a force that is as powerful as a Guardian but with evil intentions to use magic to destroy humanity. To have a fighting chance against Loo, Tom must reunite all twelve Zodiac animal warriors and master his own newly discovered powers.

The film is directed by Raman Hui and co-directed by Paul Watling and Yong Duk Jhun. Based on the novel “The Tiger’s Apprentice” by Laurence Yep, the screenplay is by David Magee and Christopher Yost. The producers are Jane Startz, Sandra Rabins, and Bob Persichetti and the executive producers are Maryann Garger, Kane Lee and Carlos Baena.

Voice talent includes Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians), Brandon Soo Hoo (Mech Cadets), Lucy Liu (Shazam: Fury of the Gods), Sandra Oh (Quiz Lady), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Bowen Yang (Saturday Night Live), Leah Lewis (Elemental), Kheng Hua Tan (Crazy Rich Asians), Sherry Cola (Joy Ride), Deborah S. Craig (Meet Cute), Jo Koy (Easter Sunday), Greta Lee (Past Lives), Diana Lee Inosanto (Ahsoka), Patrick Gallagher (Night at the Museum) and Poppy Liu (The Afterparty).