You'll probably know Stephen Oyoung best for his unforgettable role as Mister Negative in Spider-Man, but there's a whole lot more to him than Martin Li. He's also set to play Red Hood in the highly anticipated Gotham Knights, and in the live-action realm, you've likely seen Stephen in Runaways, Legends of Tomorrow, Terminator: Dark Fate, and many other hit TV shows and movies.
Behind the scenes, Stephen has made a huge impact in the stunt world, training Keanu Reeves, Denzel Washington and Adam Driver for 47 Ronin, The Equalizer and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
So, yeah, he's a badass!
We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to catch up with Stephen to talk about his work, whether he'd be open to playing a live-action Mister Negative, his role as Red Hood, and more. We want to extend a huge thank you to the actor for taking the time to answer our questions!
While we've previously shared a few key excerpts with you, here's the full, uninterrupted interview.
Your Tweet about playing Mr. Negative received a lot of attention online; you have plenty of experience playing the character and 100% look the part, but what would it mean to you to get to play him in the MCU?
Any opportunity to play in the Marvel universe is a privilege and an honor. I think every actor knows that being involved with Marvel is a game changer career-wise. For my part, I'm just grateful to have played a great character in an amazing game, and to have worked with the world-class team at Sony Insomniac and Marvel Entertainment. It's an experience I'll never forget. As a personal aside to Kevin Feige...you know I'm down to come back!
You know Li well thanks to the Spider-Man game, but what do you feel you could bring to a live-action version of Mr. Negative?
Honestly, if they're casting Li, best wishes to the winning actor. But if we're taking a mental walk, and in some strange and amazing universe I got to play Mr. Negative again in a live-action version I'd wager what I'd bring is a continuity and consistency to character that fans might appreciate because the relationships are already baked into the performance. It'd be like visiting an old friend. Not to mention the physicality as well. I'd say I'm handy with a negative energy sword!
I have to ask - is there any chance you’ve been in contact with Marvel Studios about this role, or any others?
I've been called by Geico a few times letting me know I can save 15% or more on my car insurance rates. Does that count?
Martin Li was a pivotal part of the game, and his story arc was both complex and emotional. What did it mean to you to bring that villain to life there?
Everyone at Insomniac and Marvel knew that Mr. Negative was one of the few big name Asian characters in that universe, so I was humbled and ecstatic to have them push him deeper into the fabric of the story until he became this critical piece of the game. To be one of the few Asian faces in that world is a dream come true. And bringing out the human side to the monster was the most satisfying part of the job.
It must have been pretty cool to not only delve into Martin Li’s origin, but to join the Sinister Six as well. What was it like shooting that battle with Spider-Man using motion-capture?
That was one of the highlights of the shoot. The first time we were together was electric! To be able to play with all the other actors as these iconic characters together in one space, it felt like a championship sports team taking the field. There was that much excitement and energy in the air. And believe it or not, we had a lot of laughs too, because at that moment we were back to being a bunch of kids playing out a battle with our action figures in a sandbox.
If Mr. Negative is in the next Spider-Man game, where would you like to see his story go?
I have some ideas. But even if all they have is a newspaper clipping of the guy, I'd be happy.
You’re no stranger to superhero movies and TV shows thanks to roles in Thor, Legends of Tomorrow, and Runaways, but are there any other characters, aside from Mr. Negative, on your radar?
To be honest, I've been practising my scuba skills for Namor. Now THAT would be a game changer!
What can you tell us about your take on Red Hood in Gotham Knights, and how much your version of the character is inspired by what we saw unfold in Batman: Arkham Knight?
The team at WB Montreal is doing everything they can to make Red Hood as dynamic a character as possible. He's not a one note guy. We all know Jason's backstory, his anger, his disappointments, his pain. So the temptation is just to lean super heavy into that. But there's more to him. That's been super fun to play with. As far as Arkham Knight, that portrayal is iconic. I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm not influenced by it. I think about it a lot. But at the end of the day I don't think anyone wants a copy of someone else's performance, no matter how close it is. I think I have a realistic base in my action-performing/ stunt background, so I try to bring that kind of energy to the scenarios. Basically this is just a long way of saying I'm trying to steal what's great from Arkham Knight and bring some of my own flavor to it!
Jason Todd is a beloved character; can you share some hints about what's to come from your version in Gotham Knights?
Without getting into too much trouble I can say the writing team is phenomenal! They're finding ways to surprise you. Again, we're all hyper aware of bringing out the humanity in our Jason and making him as emotionally nuanced and dynamic as possible while still honoring his painful past. And yes, he's handy with guns.
Where should our readers look out for you next, whether it’s on social media, or other upcoming projects you’d like to tell them about?
I like to check in on Twitter: @mrstephenoyoung and Instagram: @stephenoyoung. I'll be recurring on season 3 of Good Trouble on Freeform and Hulu. There's some VO projects in the pipeline like Starfield by Bethesda among others. I'm also involved with OperationSmile.org, so please donate to this great cause. And of course you can always boot up your trusty PS4/5 and fight me one on one if you miss seeing my face!