Un-Hollywood It List: Michael Kang

Just a year after the theatrical release of The Motel, Michael Kang's feature directorial debut and indie breakout, his second feature, West 32nd, had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Although the two films couldn't be more different -- The Motel is the coming-of-age story of an awkward 13-year-old kid; West 32nd is a gritty drama that tracks a maverick lawyer as he infiltrates a Korean-American crime organization in Manhattan -- in Kang's mind, they are actually quite alike. "I am always interested in the outsider character, people who are very alienated by their own lives," says Kang. "When I look at [the two] characters in [both films], they are very similar in that they are both trying to figure out where they belong in the world."

Kang co-wrote the script for West 32nd with Edmund Lee, a journalist who covered the underground Korean crime syndicate in New York during the late '90s. Despite having focused primarily on Asian-American characters and stories thus far, Kang says he is interested in all kinds of subject matter. Right now, the recent L.A. transplant is fielding different projects; one story takes place as far away as South Africa: "I would love to do that story, because that would completely mess people up as to what they expect from me."
Fiona Ng * Photographed by David Mushegain

Michael Kang wears jeans by RVCA, shoes by Puma and watch by Diesel * Styling by Tyrus Wilson * Hair/Grooming by Melissa Roberts

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