Sherwood Hu, PhD in theatre ’00 Mānoa
Career: Film and stage director; guest professor at Shanghai Drama Academy
All in the family: Late father, Hu Weimin, was a stage director; mother, Gu Menghua, is an actress; brother, Hu Xueyang, is a film director; sister, Lianne Hu, is a producer and actress
Hobbies: Playing tennis, watching NBA games, jazz, ballet, traveling
Favorite Mānoa production: The Legend of Prince Lanling, which he adapted as his first film Warrior Lanling
Recent honors: Best director and best film, 2008 Calabria Film Festival in Catanzaro, Italy, for The Prince of the Himalayas
Born into a performing arts family in China, Xuehua “Sherwood” Hu began his directing career at the New York Public Theater. His latest project has a foot in both worlds.
The Prince of the Himalayas sets Shakespeare’s Hamlet in ancient Tibet. It features an all-Tibetan cast and was filmed in the high altitudes of the Himalayas.
“One can image how the crew worked in this sort of condition,” says Hu. “However, I loved every minute of it as we knew that we were doing something meaningful and magnificent.”
Hu wanted to fulfill his father’s wish to direct Hamlet before he died and to explore Shakespeare’s themes in a setting as unique as Tibet.
“I was excited by the idea of having Hamlet ask his own destiny—Where am I coming from? Where am I going to? To be or not to be?—at the top of the Himalayan mountain, where it is so close to the universe, you almost could touch the sun if you extend your arms,” he says. “I wanted to make a Tibetan Hamlet about love, not about revenge.”
Hu’s next project is the stage play Myth of the Third Pole in Beijing, and he plans to film Lord of Shanghai later this year.