Stephen Oyoung grew up wanting to be a ninja or a superhero.
He trained in martial arts and found himself doing stunts in the film industry.
While it was fulfilling, he knew there was something more.
Making the move to acting, Oyoung began to feel at home in front of the camera.
Then came a break in the Netflix series “Jupiter’s Legacy.”
The role as Barry Bishop aka Tectonic was something he could sink his teeth into.
“Barry Bishop was fun to play because he’s an earth bender,” Oyoung says. “I always loved comic book stuff, and if there’s anything near that genre, I’m in.”
“Jupiter’s Legacy” stars Leslie Bibb and Josh Duhamel in a world where the first generation of superheroes have kept the world safe for nearly a century.
Now their children must live up to their legacy in an epic drama that spans decades and navigates the dynamics of family, power and loyalty.
Oyoung’s Tectonic is Brandon Sampson’s, played by Andrew Horton, best friend, a husband, a father of two girls, and a member of the Union of Justice.
The series is a hit with viewers on the streaming service, but Netflix has decided to cancel it after one season.
“It hurts, but we move on,” Oyoung says of the cancelation.
His time on the series was a learning experience.
When he read for the character, it was a colorblind casting, which is the practice of casting without considering the actor’s ethnicity, skin color, body shape, sex and/or gender.
Being an Asian American, Oyoung was intrigued by the process.
“It’s a gift and a curse a role is written for an Asian American,” he says. “With this role, I was able to bring in diversity. When a production is diverse, I think we get better stories. I’m all about being more inclusive.”
Oyoung says it was easy to jump into the role of Bishop.
“I know who he is, and he’s a lot like me,” he says. “When we got into the actual filming, it was intense. We did a four-week training for a two-minute fight sequence. I never got a break, because I did my own stunts. I would rehearse with the actors in the morning. Then I’d return to set with the stunt team and do it all over again.”
There was an advantage to this process.
“I didn’t have to go to the gym at all,” Oyoung says. “I got two workouts a day, and I was able to do what I love.”
Oyoung grew up in Cerritos, California, where his dad was an engineer and his mom was a social worker. His parents came to America from Taiwan in the 1970s.
He became interested in acting at age 7 and began appearing in school plays.
His father taught him the martial art of Wushu, in which he became highly adept.
As he grew up, he began to feel that acting was his calling, and was grateful to his fully supportive parents.
He landed roles in films such as “Legion,” “The Last Airbender,” “Thor,” “Safe,” “Olympus Has Fallen,” “Peppermint” and “Sicario.” With many of these productions, Oyoung was often doing stunts.
“At one point, I wouldn’t list my stunt work on my IMDB page,” he says. “I wanted to get breaks with acting. It’s important for me to keep pushing the envelope and get representation for Asian Americans.”
Oyoung is also no stranger to New Mexico; he’s been here with both “Thor” and “Sicario.”
He also spent time in Santa Fe when his girlfriend was filming “The Harder They Fall.”
“For ‘Sicario,’ we were out at Kirtland Air Force Base, and we were able to drive around the roads out there,” he says. “Being in New Mexico is magical. The locations are amazing, and the food is excellent. I just picked up a dirt bike and would love to find some cool trails out there.”