David Lee McInnis is the only child of Thomas and Diana McInnis (née Hyung Ja Lee). He was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin and grew up in Antigo, Wisconsin and Honolulu, Hawaii. He was raised by his Korean mother and German/Irish father. David debuted his acting career in indie crime thriller, The Cut Runs Deep.
American-made The Cut Runs Deep was an underground hit in South Korea, where McInnis moved to soon after quitting school and achieved noticeable success in the Asian film industry. He was the face of SK Telecom’s UTO division from 2001 to 2003 while in Korea, and his early Asian film credits include a supporting cast role in A Moment To Remember. Thereafter, McInnis returned to the limelight with a leading role in Typhoon, a big-budget South Korean action film and went on to star in critically acclaimed US/Korean movie Never Forever. He then took on a supporting lead role in Gidam (US release Epitaph) as well as guest starred in MBC Network’s television series Air City. Most recently, David performed as part of the original cast of the play The Mikado Project, co-starring Erin Quill and played the role of “Tashi” in the movie Escape from Tibet, which has not yet been released.
McInnis inherited a penchant for antiques from his antique store owner mom and a love for cooking and classic cars from his restaurateur dad, with whom he set up a spice business, McInnis Masterblend in 2006. He practices yoga daily and enjoys playing basketball, billiards and darts, amongst other things! A man who is a culinary artist and has an affinity for antiques! As you can well imagine, I had alot to discuss with Mr. McInnis!
ASIANCE: Your mother is Korean and your father is German/Irish. Were you raised to respect both Korean and Irish history and tradition?
David: Yes, I was raised equally as a Korean and an Irish American. It was a nice blend between the two.
ASIANCE: What part of your Korean heritage do you think contributed to your success today?
David: Growing up in the US with the duality of Korean and Irish American heritage helped bring opportunities and diversity to my life. Growing up in a small town in Antigo Wisconsin, being part Korean stood me out from the pack, ultimately forcing me into situations and choices that were different from the majority. I wouldn’t want to be anything different.
Check out what a hottie David is!
ASIANCE: What is your favorite Korean dish, song, and lesson that you learned from your mother?
David: Duen Jung-Jiggae is my favorite dish. I like to make it at home and invite guest over.
Po Go Ship Da by Park Sa Min is my Karaoke go to song!
My Mother always told me “David, always eat well.” My Father preached to me as a boy to “…be an individual, don’t do what everyone else is doing.”
ASIANCE: I read that you inherited a penchant for antiques from your antique store owner mom! Tell me about that and about the Korean and Irish inspired antiques that she collects.
David: My mother used to be into Korean traditional Antique furniture, but over the years has found a fondness for European Victorian. She loves knickknacks. Mostly she loves hand crafted items, solid wood furniture, and restores most of them in her shop called Secret Treasures.
I’m more into Vintage American from the 40’s – 70’s. I love cars and electronics. I collect record players, amplifiers, wooden speaker boxes from that era. My hobby is restoring Chevrolet classics. My last two frame off restorations were a 1965 Corvette Stringray(owned by my mother since ’71, before I was born) and 1971 Chevrolet Blazer K-5. Currently I’m working on a 1963 C-10 Stepside pickup. My mother has a passion for furniture and music and my father cars and food. I’m totally influenced by both! My friends all call me a redneck. haha
ASIANCE: I read that your Irish/German dad is a restaurateur. A man who can cook! Tell me what are your favorite Korean and Irish fare featured on the menu and can we have the recipes?
David: My father and I have a small company called McInnis Masterblend. We specialize in an all purpose spice that is great on EVERYTHING! Really, it’s the wonder spice. Lol… I still don’t know the recipe to it, so he keeps his secrets close to his heart.
ASIANCE: When was the first time you visited Korea and what is your favorite Korean time-honored tradition?
David: I first visited Korea when I was 2 years old. At the time my favorite dish was rice and coca cola. Yep, just like cereal. My mother said I put them together one day and that’s what I liked. I wasn’t normal….haha
My most memorable trip back to Korea was the first since I was young. It was an 1999 when a film called The Cut Runs Deep directed by John H. Lee(The Killer, in pre-production, Moment to Remember, and 71: Into the Fire)was playing at the Pusan Film Festival. John gave me my first start in the world of film and I never looked back since. I simply love film making! They put me up at the Ritz Carlton for a couple days before I went back to New York. That’s where I met my Grandmother for the first time since I was a child. She was walking up the steep hill holding my uncles had for support. It was extremely emotion for me. She looked just like my mother. Meaning like my mother aged 50 years and there she was. The same eyes, smile, and her character to go with it. It was a very special moment in my life. Seeing that I’ve been out of touch with my Korean family. I also have a close relationship with my fathers mother. Grams as I call her. She walked me to school as a child and to church on Sundays. A huge inspiration in my life Lillian McInnis.
ASIANCE: Have you ever been to Ireland and what part of your Irish heritage do you think contributed to your success today?
David: My height of course! Haha Just kidding… I have not been to Ireland but I’d like to this spring. I’ll be heading to Munich to finish ADR for Escape from Tibet and plan to travel the northern part of Europe.
ASIANCE: What is your favorite Irish saying, song and joke that you learned from your dad?
David: Can’t think of one now…..
ASIANCE: Would you say that you have “the luck of the Irish”? (If yes, please give example of why)
David: I’m not a huge gambler but love to dabble. I get lucky at Texas Hold’em once in a while, and bet on football games. Finished in 1st place 3 times in 6 leagues in 2 years. Luck of the Irish and yes I’m a fantasy football geek.
ASIANCE: Does your family celebrate both the Chinese New Year and St. Patrick’s Day? If so, do they do anything special for either holiday?
David: Not so much Chinese New Year, but us being from Green Bay Wisconsin, the 3 B’s Brats, burgers, and beer are usually on the menu for St. Patty’s day!
ASIANCE: What was the most enjoyable and the most difficult part of growing up as an Asian American child of Irish heritage?
David: I suppose being different which let me to make individual choices each day.
ASIANCE: At the current time, do you have more of an American or Asian/Asian American fan base?
David: I would say it would be more of an Asian than an Asian American fan base, Korean fans being the greater majority. I really appreciate the opportunities and love that South Korea gave me over the past decade. If it wasn’t for this, I wouldn’t have nearly the opportunities in life and experience in front of the camera as I have.
ASIANCE: Do you have a specific physical “type” that you go for in a woman based on your own background?
David: My mother’s eyes exude class, strength and spirit. I can’t help but look for those qualities in a woman.
ASIANCE: I recently posted the Wall Street Journal Article, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” and we received some scathing comments. I defended the book by Amy Chua of which the article was based upon. Can you weigh in on this as you were raised by a Korean mother?
David: mmmm…superior itself can be controversial. Lol
I would just say that Asian women are in demand right now. Who doesn’t’ want an Asian girlfriend right now!? Anything mixed with Asian is being considered exotic today. Even food! I’m being sarcastic, but seriously…. Haha! We have our Mothers to thank.
ASIANCE: Do you have a sort of crush or deep admiration for someone in the public eye who is also of Asian and Irish Descent?
David: I’m a fan of Liam Neeson and Maggie Q is doing good things.
ASIANCE: What is the “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow“ for you?
David: To make a difference a raise awareness through filmmaking..whatever the subject might be.
(Above main photo by Fernando Chien)
Directed first short film in August of 2010. “I wanted to know what it took to take a story from the paper to ending credits, in hopes that it would make me a better actor. I found out about this contest called Interpretations Film sponsored by Justin Lin”.
Fallen Nest, you can view it at:
Escape from Tibet – Shot from September to December, shooting in Ladakh India, Grindelwald Switzerland, and Bad Ibling Germany.
German Swiss production.
Broke as a Joke – Producer/Actor in this half hour comedy pilot. Just wrapped pickup shots last week. Finally in the can and ready to be edited. Fingers crossed that it will be funny and sell!