John and Matt Yuan’s names may not pop up in everyday conversation, but if you’ve seen Seth Rogen’s dark comedy “Observe and Report” the identical pair of twins playing Chinese security guards were hard to miss. Other than “Observe and Report,” the pair have appeared in various cable programs such as: “Arrested Development,” “East Bound and Down” and the upcoming feature “Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant.” More importantly, the twins are showcasing their self-published comic book DeClan and Chang: Sweet F.A. This is what they revealed.
Namtar: What are you promoting?
Matt: We are promoting our comic book Declan and Chang: Sweet F.A. If you’re a big fan of 80’s action movies like we are you’ll love this book. It’s cyborg mercenaries hired to take on corrupt police and of course there’s double cross, triple cross, over the top violence and cheesy one liners.
Namtar: What gave you the idea for this comic book?
Matt: The comic book has its origins in a role-playing game campaign we played with our friends back in Austin (Texas.) It started after college. The RPG (Role Playing Game) was MechWarrior and it was people in a sci-fi setting and our friends were like, “You draw all the characters, why don’t you make a comic book out of it?” And, I want to say, about ten years later we got off our asses and actually got around to making a comic book of it.
Namtar: And you’re self-published then?
Matt: We are self-published. We use Ka-Blam to print. They’re a pretty good self-publishing service, but we self-publish and we self distribute.
Namtar: As I understand it, one of you is the artist and the other is the writer?
Matt: That is correct. Matt takes all the writing duties, except John writes some as well like the characters and some of the dialogue. So actually, we share all the writing duties, but I get to take all the credit, and then John does all the art with the exception of the colors on the cover, which are done by an incredibly talented colorist by the name of Tony Washington.
Namtar: You not only write your own comic book, but you are also entrepreneurs. You’re part owners of a comic book shop. Can you tell us where it’s located?
Matt: We are part owners of Cool Cats Comics and Cards. We are located in West L.A. Pretty much near the intersection of Westwood and Pico.
John: The address is 10922 1/2 West Pico Boulevard.
Namtar: Where did you come up with the names for your comic book characters?
Matt: The main characters are Elvis Chang and William “Billy Dee” DeClan. The names actually came from the RPG characters and Elvis just started out as a joke. I just wanted to take two disparate names and mash them together. And then, our friend Mark, he was like, “Well if you’re going to be Elvis, I’m going to be Billy Dee.” That’s pretty much the genesis of their names. In the comic book his name is William DeClan and the only reason we chose William DeClan was because Elvis Costello’s real name is, I believe, Sean DeClan McManus. And so, we were like, let’s throw in a little bit there.
Namtar: Changing the subject a bit, you’re also celebrities and actually actors too. Can you tell the fans about your entertainment career? I’m a big fan of your work.
Matt: Most people have probably seen us in “Observe and Report” or “Arrested Development” and we got incredibly lucky with that. I actually had worked with Jody Hill many, many years ago and when “The Foot Fist Way” came out and he got a deal with Warner Bros. He put us in his next movie, which at the time turned out to be “Observe and Report.” And so, he thought we were just funny guys and thought we’d fit well in the cast.
Namtar: What’s your most memorable moment from “Observe and Report?”
Matt: The most memorable person I’d have to say is Michael Peña. I know he’s probably better known for his more dramatic roles, but that guy is funny beyond all meaning of the word.
Namtar: He’s the guy who stole the car, right?
Matt: Michael Peña is an amazing guy. Super hilarious. Super nice. Just a great guy. And that’s out of a cast full of really super great people.
John: We were very lucky to be a part of that.
Matt: Jesse Plemons, Anna Faris…
John: Dan Bakkedahl.
Matt: Of course, Seth Rogen. They were all just fantastic people. It was a great experience.
Namtar: What were your roles on “Arrested Development?”
Matt: We were basically RAs (Resident Assistants) at a dorm. So, when George Michael goes to college, we assumed that he’s a pair of twins, because no one would name their kid George Michael. And so were like, oh no, it’s George and Michael and hilarity ensues.
Namtar: You were on the season finale of “East Bound and Down” with Danny McBride. I went crazy when I saw you guys on screen.
John and Matt: (laughs)
Namtar: What led up to you being on that show?
Matt: Again, we’re just really good friends with Jody Hill and we were actually just there to visit the set, you know, visit some old friends from “Observe and Report.” He was like, “Hey you guys are gonna be in the scene, right?” And we’re like, “Yeah, sure!” We couldn’t have hoped for more. He puts us in there. So now, our street cred goes all the way up. We have “Arrested Development”… “East Bound and Down.” I think we could have only finished it off with “Breakin’ Bad.”
Namtar: Do you have any other projects coming up?
John: The only thing that we have coming out is an indie movie that’s a comedy called “Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant.” We filmed that last year. I had a great time. Just once again, great cast, great crew. We filmed it over two days. Our part only took two days. We filmed it out in Ontario… California. It was a lot of fun!
Namtar: Who’s in that film?
John: We were in a scene with Rebecca Romijn and Henry Winkler. Those are the two that we interacted with the most. Patrick Warburton is in it. Marcia Gay Harden, Stanley Tucci, Jason Alexander, it’s just crazy. Mark Feuerstein plays the title character. We’ve been very, very blessed. Everyone we’ve met or had the pleasure of meeting has been super cool.
Namtar: Who directed that?
John: Sam Friedlander, and he’s a super cool guy too! He knows his stuff! I really think this movie will be a heck of a lot of fun. The title gives you a real, real good view or insight into what the movie’s gonna be like.
Namtar: And that’s due out sometime this year?
Namtar: I take it you play twins in that as well?
John: Yes, we do, but no, no actually, I don’t know. We may. We may not. Sometimes it changes. Here’s a bit of trivia. On “Raising Hope,” the role originally called for two people that look completely different when we were on that. But when we tried out for it, Matt convinced them that by doing the scene as twins would make things look more effective. So, we’ll see.
Namtar: Thank you gentlemen for the interview.
If you get a chance to meet John and Matt Yuan, you’ll notice right off the bat that they are both quite approachable and down to earth. Their next appearance will be in Anaheim, California at WonderCon on April 18-20. You can find them in Artist’s Alley at table AA-221. Please see them and check out their comic book DeClan and Chang: Sweet F.A. You’re sure to enjoy it!
Source: Nuke the Fridge Exclusive