Acting for twenty-five years, Byron Mann has portrayed ass-kicking characters on screen. Mann has taken on roles like O.G. Kovacs in Netflix’s Altered Carbon, Chang on AMC’s Hell on Wheels, and Admiral Nguyen on SyFy’s The Expanse. Years in the acting industry, Mann admits when it comes to roles, “You have to be open and go with the flow.”
Altered Carbon was an interesting experience for Mann. The show centers around the futuristic technology of interchangeable bodies after death, where Kovacs is the only survivor of a group of warriors who revolt against a new world order. Mann embodies Kovacs’s original sleeve before his life memories are transferred into a new body (portrayed by Joel Kinnaman). “This character is a character that is in angst. The first episode that you see him, that’s the state he is in,” describes Mann.
For Mann, working on Altered Carbon was a fantastic and compelling experience to be a part of. “It’s a very forward-thinking show. The things they did were very out of the box, not ordinary things in terms of the world, characters, fight scenes, and action sequences. Very cutting edge.”
To get in shape for intense fight scenes, Mann goes through rigorous combat and weapons training and undergoes physicalchanges in order to play the role. “There are really two components. Eating right and exercising right.” Along with a high protein diet and lack of carbs, Mann is left to his own devices and likes to work out on a regular basis. When he’s off training and dieting, he admits that his go-to cheat meal are sweet blueberry muffins.
On July 13th, Mann will be seen alongside Dwayne Johnson in Skyscraper. The film, an action disaster thriller, takes place in Hong Kong’s tallest and ‘safest’ high tech building that gets infiltrated by terrorists. Being born and raised in Hong Kong, the film was a coming home experience for Mann. As a native, Mann was able to assist significantly in the filmmaking process. For example, dialogue translations between English and Cantonese. Mann even collaborated with a Hong Kong police consultant who gave an inside look on police lingo, mannerisms, uniforms and weaponry. “In an interesting way I found myself East meets the West kind of person. Communication both ways,” says Mann. Despite the film being set in a futuristic environment, Mann explains that the main message audiences will take away from the film is the meaning of family and personal relationships.
Known for his character Ryu in Street Fighter, Mann has made an incredible career in the action genre. “I’m comfortable in action. I know what to do and how to make it better, and that’s fine.” He explains that he would love to branch out into comedy and romance, but for him it’s the story that matters. “It’s always the story and characters that drive everybody. You can’t force these things. They come along organically.”
Having had a great experience on Skyscraper and AMC’s Hell on Wheels, he explains that they were both enriching experiences. “On every single project you work on, the character you play, the people you work with and the scenes you play, but you remember the experience.” He recounts his first time doing a movie like Street Fighter and traveling to Australia, Thailand and Canada.
Over the past year, Mann has done a handful of sci-fi projects, but explains that he doesn’t go looking for the genre; instead they came looking for him. “You just have to go with the flow. When you go with he flow things will present themselves to you.”
Watch Byron Mann in the upcoming film Skyscraper premiering in theatres July 13th and have a cozy night in binge-watching Altered Carbon on Netflix.
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Byron Mann is the Action Man: Feature Image Credit: Steven Gerlich at Aesthesia Studios