Justin H. Min Talks The Umbrella Academy In Covershoot and Interview

Justin H. Min X FAULT Magazine

(Season 2 spoilers ahead)

Justin H Min
Coat – PortsV |
Blazer – Armani Emporio |
T shirt – Armani Exchange |
Trouser – Armani Emporio |
Shoes – Ted Baker


Photographer: Raen Badua | Exclusive Artists
Stylists: Wilford Lenov | Celestine Agency
Grooming: Carolina Yasukawa @ Exclusive Artists

Interview: Miles Holder

A wildly popular show’s second season can rarely top its beloved debut, but The Umbrella Academy proved the acceptation to the rule. Justin H. Min’s character Ben undoubtedly played a large part in its success. Once a beloved, quipping deceased sibling resigned to the background of his Séance powered brother Klaus, season two saw Ben develop into a character with his own agency, showcasing a full range of emotions quite literally brought to life on screen by Justin’s acting ability.

Still reeling with the runaway success of the show, we caught up with Justin to discuss the show, his upcoming projects and as always, his FAULTs.

This season was certainly a rollercoaster for your character. Did you know about all the twists and turns beforehand or do you receive the scripts on an episode by episode basis?

Justin H Min: Exactly like the latter. The show has always been shrouded in secrecy; for season one, I didn’t even know which part I was auditioning for. We get the scripts on an episode by episode basis, so I enjoy the ride. When episode nine’s script came, it was very shocking. The day we shot Ben’s final scene, it was very emotional for me, not only because Ben was saying goodbye to his family, but I genuinely thought that that was my last day on the show. I remember being in my Toronto apartment, packing my bags to go home, and we just received the last three pages of season two, and I just sat there screaming.

Ben had a lot more agency this season, how did it feel to explore the character further?

Justin H Min: Totally more agency, physically, metaphorically and symbolically. I think it was truly because of the fan response to the character. They rallied behind Ben’s character. I had such a unique and privileged experience building this character from the ground up. There was a lot of information in the comic books that my other cast members could draw from, but I had a blank slate with Ben.

To contrast that, did you ever feel worried about changing a beloved story canon?

Justin H Min: These are such beloved iconic comic book characters, so when it came to every decision, it had to be perfect. I didn’t feel that pressure because I felt free to bring whatever I wanted to the character. The only pressure I felt for season two was to do the fans justice with the more substantial storyline presented to me.

Ben’s character will be very different for Season 3, are you approaching it as you would a brand new role?

Justin H Min: It’s so exciting because you’re right, it’s a brand new role, and it’s such a privilege to be able to do that. As actors, we dream of doing different things and playing different characters; to do so on the same show is very exciting. First and foremost, to be alive will be a brand new experience! Ben will be very different, almost antithetical to the Ben that we knew in season two.

You also star in the upcoming sci-fi movie After Yang, were you actively looking for a wildly different project to follow The Umbrella Academy?

Justin H Min: I’ve been blessed to have a variety of things to work on. Specifically, After Yang, it’s a dream project. Kogonada is a director that I had been following for years. He’s someone I admire and respect so much. Filming on a show like The Umbrella Academy there are hundreds of people running around every day on a set. Then you go to this sort of quiet, small indie film set, where it’s the same 30 people in a small house shooting this beautiful film. It’s such a different experience, and they’re both wonderful in their own separate ways.

What’s a role or genre you’d like to be involved in next?

Justin H Min: I would love to play a coming of age role, particularly one centred from the Asian American perspective. Coming of age movies are some of my favourite movies, and I would love to be a part of one. They show all the dimensions of a character, and I think for Asian American characters, we don’t often get to see that. Asian American characters can often be written as a sidekick or a plot device to move the main white character forward.

What’s something new you learned about yourself in quarantine?

Justin H Min: Quarantine for me has been extremely special; it’s given me the space to evaluate where I’m at and savour these moments. I say that only because like many actors when you reach a stage in your career where you start building momentum, it feels like it’s just, go, go, go. You never have the time and space to sit and be grateful.

When you look to the future, what do you envision for your career?

Justin H Min: I imagine that I would transition more into writing, producing and directing because I feel it’s essential for people like me, who have a platform to transition behind the camera. I think the Asian American community must take ownership of our own stories. Diversity in Hollywood is a topic that I’m often asked about, and big strides have been made in front of the camera. What people don’t often realize is that within the power players in Hollywood, there’s still very little diversity. So I would love to be given a chance to pave the way for the next generation of Asian American actors.

Do you feel like this transition can happen simultaneously, or do you need to focus on one project at a time?

Justin H Min: It’s actually happening simultaneously. I’ve always wrestled with that as well. I’ve realized that they go hand in hand and help each other. It’s very timely that you also asked that because my writing partner and I just sold out first scripted podcast. We had wanted to make into a television show initially, but because of the pandemic, the podcast was more feasible.


You’ve got a very modern portfolio, by which I mean you’ve never shied away from emerging mediums like youtube or Netflix – is that a conscious career plan you made or did it happen organically?

Justin H Min: Yes and no. I say that because every time I’ve tried to plan for something in my career, it’s never rarely gone that way. That’s one of the most frustrating and yet beautiful things about the creative journey – every day is so different. I think I’ve just learned to adapt and change and take the doors that are open me. I also think it’s a really exciting time because the usual gatekeepers in Hollywood have fewer controls thanks to the many streaming platforms, YouTube and TikTok. The playing field has been equalized for so many people, and I’m thankful to be a part of a generation where we no longer have to wait for someone to allow us to create. That’s what Issa Rae did with insecure, she started on YouTube, and now she’s one of the biggest stars on HBO.

What is your FAULT?

Justin H Min: How long do you have? I have so many, one of the biggest things that I’ve struggled with and gotten better at through therapy is entitlement. Growing up, many of us are fed this narrative that if you work hard, anything you ever want will be given to you. That’s not the case; life is incredibly unfair sometimes. The people who work hardest sometimes are given zero opportunities. That’s something I learned very quickly in this industry.