Hollywood filmmaker turns Vietnamese diplomat

16:00 | 18/04/2017 Culture & Art

(VEN) - Jordan Vogt-Roberts, director of the new Hollywood monster movie “Kong: Skull Island”, never thought he would become a diplomat. The interests of the American film and television director from Detroit lay elsewhere – in screenwriting, standup comedy and visual storytelling. But in one of life’s unexpected turns, he has been appointed an ambassador, no less - Vietnam’s Honorary Tourism Ambassador - for a three-year term. The proud new envoy met recently with reporters and spoke about his plans.  

How do you feel about becoming Vietnam’s Honorary Tourism Ambassador?

hollywood filmmaker turns vietnamese diplomat
Jordan Vogt-Roberts, director of the new Hollywood monster movie “Kong: Skull Island”

It’s unbelievable because now I have the honor and opportunity to introduce Vietnam - the country, people and picturesque landscapes - to world audiences and international friends. We encountered quite a lot of pressure when we came to Vietnam for the first time, but we felt very happy once we started filming. As I sat in the car, on my way to the shooting site, I looked around and saw the fantastic scenery. One thing is certain, most people were surprised by the great landscapes in Vietnam when watching the movie. We want to tell everyone that the world has such a beautiful place. Besides, I’m proud to help Vietnamese farmers see how beautiful their home country is in the film.

Why did you decide to become Vietnam’s Honorary Tourism Ambassador?

During preparation and filming in Vietnam, I visited many places, experienced cultures and cuisines. All these things inspired me. Particularly, local authorities were so helpful when we were filming. Therefore, every time I left Vietnam for Los Angeles, I felt like something was missing, and I didn’t find that thing until I came back to Vietnam. I felt completely happy when I was chosen as Vietnam’s Honorary Tourism Ambassador. This is my chance to show my ability to attract the world’s attention to your country.

Why did you decide to live in Vietnam? Does your family support this decision?

Going to live in Vietnam is necessary because becoming Vietnam’s Honorary Tourism Ambassador is a great honor and responsibility. To do a good job, I think I shouldn’t be too far away from your country. I want to experience everyday life in Vietnam, to learn about Vietnamese cultures, traditions and people in the most practical and real way. In addition, I will work with Vietnamese partners to introduce Vietnam - the people and cultures - to international audiences. My parents are always proud of my work. They and people around me all support the changes I make in my work and my life. The most important thing is that my relatives know how much I love the country and people of Vietnam. That’s why it is not difficult for me to say goodbye to my family and friends to go to work in Vietnam.

hollywood filmmaker turns vietnamese diplomat

Do you think other filmmakers worry that Kong: Skull Island will overshadow their filming projects in Vietnam? As you know, The Lord of the Rings greatly promoted the tourism industry of New Zealand. Many directors have since then chosen New Zealand as their filming sites, even after these sites contributed to the success of The Lord of the Rings. The same goes for Kong: Skull Island. I believe Hollywood directors won’t worry about choosing Vietnam for filming since there are countless shooting locations from which to choose. Thailand and New Zealand have become popular destinations for filmmakers. After Vietnam successfully hosted the filming of Kong: Skull Island, and other movie makers follow, those who once asked “Should we film in Vietnam?” will now be asking “How should we film in Vietnam?”

What are your plans as Honorary Tourism Ambassador?

My task is to try to help people see how wonderful and special your country is. I will coordinate and manage my work to highlight that message. In addition, one of my next major tasks is to recommend to other talented Hollywood filmmakers that they come to Vietnam, to share with them my experiences of filming here, and tell them that they will have a great time and opportunity to conduct great projects in Vietnam. I have some more ideas. I will work with partners as well as local governments in Vietnam to realize them.

Hoa Quynh