Lawrence Chau is the host of Ghostly Encounters; here is a link to his website:
Q: How did you become involved with Ghostly Encounters?
A: Via an audition. It was that simple. The producer, Brian Dennis was in the room and he was stunned after my read. Stunned could mean I either bombed or I did well. Fortunately, it was the latter. The callback with the executive producer, Phyllis Platt, however, wasn’t as smooth. I nearly didn’t make it because there was a mix-up with the location (different address) and a snowstorm was brewing. I got there all flustered. Casting said take a breath and come in when you’re ready. I went in and did a good script read. However, I think the nail on the coffin was the enthusiasm in which I shared my own paranormal stories with them. They didn’t just want a host, they wanted a believer.
Q: Why do you think people are so fascinated with the paranormal?
A: The mystery of the unknown is a natural magnet for curiosity. This applies to the esoteric arts, aliens, ghosts, and even religion. Strange things happen which science can’t explain or has yet to explain, and that is intriguing.
Q: Have you had any paranormal experiences of your own?
A: Quite a few. I remember resting at an empty park after the Chinese New Year festivities in Hong Kong. I was dozing off when a gust of wind blew and woke me up. I look up from the bench and notice an apparition standing about 40 feet away. Separating us is a giant circular flowerbed. I get up. The figure is motionless, just staring at me. I think, “Maybe he’s come out to do tai chi.” I glance at my watch. It’s 2am. No one comes out to do tai chi at 2am! I start to walk around the flowerbed, wondering if I should approach him. Then the figure starts to slowly bob up and down in an eerie, unnatural way. A chill races through me, but I force myself to keep walking with my eyes locked on him. Suddenly his head starts to turn in an Exorcist-like way following my every step around the perimeter of the flowerbed. That’s when I jettisoned out of the park. I wasn’t hanging around for a Linda Blair 360 degree head rotation!
Q: What is your new short For Glory’s Sake about?
A: It’s a short film about an attorney (me), who gets to the truth about a female student athlete accused of juicing (using steroids) to compete.
Q: What made you interested in the project?
A: I have a general rule when it comes to working on dramatic short films or independent films: If the project is topical, controversial, and has some sort of social significance with a positive message, then I get involved.
Q: What kind of day job or income source do you currently have and how does it influence your creative work?
A: I was fortunate to have carved out an illustrious showbiz career in Asia for ten years before returning home to Toronto and then relocating to Los Angeles where I currently live. I was wise enough to invest the money I made in Asia in real estate. This has afforded me the luxury of pursuing my passion for acting and other showbiz interests in North America, where it’s tough, especially for Asian male entertainers to cut a break. When the cameras aren’t rolling, I’m either collecting rent or flipping a property, though I’m weaning out of it. I didn’t want to be a typical struggling actor in L.A. waiting tables or bartending to make ends meet (besides I’d be awful at it). Mind you, I have great respect for actors, who do that. It’s a hard life. Believe me, I know what struggling is. Leaving Toronto for Hong Kong with two suitcases and $2000 and having to learn Cantonese in a foreign land and finding work was no easy feat. I juggled multiple jobs at the same and barely slept.
Q: Who are some of your acting influences?
A: Bradley Cooper because he’s managed to carve a sound acting career with creative control, that is, he is able to produce many of the films he stars in. Plus, he defied the odds when a casting director said he wasn’t leading man material. I’m all about defying the odds and breaking glass ceilings (Hey, I am one of the few Asian male entertainment hosts on air in America, right?). Female-wise, I love Cate Blanchett. I think she’s the next Meryl Streep. Solid, solid, solid acting every time.
Q: You say that Ghostly Encounters “went global.” What exactly does that mean in layman’s terms?
A: Yes, it airs internationally on cable. We started out in Canada on W Network and VIVA, and then it got picked up by BIO. in the U.S. in the early years. It currently airs stateside on Destination America (as of last year), north of the border on OWN Canada, and most recently in Asia on Crime & Investigation TV. I’m not involved with the production company and the deals it brokers with the cable companies; all I can say is: “It’s the show that keeps on giving.”
Q: What is your oddest on-set story?
A: I wish I had an on-set Ghostly Encounter of my own to share, but nothing strange ever happened whilst filming at the old Crystal Ballroom atop the historic King Edward Hotel in Toronto. No flickering lights, no slamming doors, no strange voices recorded on tape, no images captured on camera. Nada. Darn!
Q: If you could interview the ghost of any celebrity, who would you pick and why?
A: Ooh, that’s a good question. Probably Princess Diana. Rumor has it she predicted her premature death in her own diary, and supposedly it involved a car. Like I said, intriguing, right?
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.