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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Harry Shum Jr., an ambassador for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, breaks the mold on a statuette this month in Burbank, Calif.

Sunday, January 27, 2019 1:00 am

'Crazy Rich' actor relishes SAG role

Harry Shum Jr. an ambassador for awards show

George Dickie | Zap2it

Harry Shum Jr. is no stranger to the Screen Actors Guild Awards, having bagged five nominations and one win the last 10 years.

Now he gains increased visibility as the official ambassador for the 25th annual SAG Awards, which airs live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles tonight on TNT and TBS, with Megan Mullally as host and Alan Alda the recipient of the Life Achievement Award.

“It's great. It really is an honor,” the 36-year-old Shum says. “I know when I got asked to participate, to be an ambassador, I've been part of this union for over 10 years. And to be someone to go on the inside to show the world the behind-the-scenes of the awards, something so meaningful, is really special. So I mean, this is where all the work begins after the new year, so I'm really excited to participate in this.”

Indeed, in addition to posting his impressions and reports on the awards and preparations on social media, Shum will also appear on a special red carpet pre-show webcast. At the awards ceremony itself, he'll also be announcing the outstanding action performances by film and television stunt ensembles. And once again, he's a nominee.

He and his fellow castmates from the romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians” are nominated for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, for a film that came seemingly out of nowhere to become the summer's surprise hit.

“I remember reading Kevin Kwan's book 'Crazy Rich Asians,'” Shum says. “I mean, the title really stands out and there's a curiosity that spikes. So reading that, it was just an incredible story beyond this world that he's created. It drew you in because for me even, I'd never been to Singapore before I shot the film.

“He really painted this picture that made you want to visit,” he continues, “made you want to eat the food that he was describing and also made you want to meet these characters, which the casting on is perfection, I think. Meeting the other actors that are playing these characters, (they) just lifted off from the pages ... And this year, as one of the nominations for best ensemble for a film, being a part of this cast is truly magnificent.”

Though his participation has not yet been confirmed, Shum figures to reunite with the cast for the film's sequel, the script for which is currently being written. But that is still months away. In the short term, he's looking forward to getting together with, and celebrating with, his fellow thespians.

“It's your peers,” says Shum, who has previously been nominated for the 2009-15 Fox series “Glee,” “and having attended the SAG Awards before, it's a great awards show because you're around your peers and people that you admire and you respect. So having a wonderful night like this is really special.”