The secret weapon of The Family Law is its amazingly talented and charismatic cast - especially impressive considering how new most of them are to working in television. While Fiona Choi and Tony Wong, who play Jenny and Danny Law, are familiar to viewers through their many TV and movie appearances, the kids are fresh faces for many of us.
If you haven't already, it's definitely time to meet the on-screen family Law.
TRYSTAN GO is Benjamin Law
Although only 14 years old when he first landed the lead role of Benjamin Law in The Family Law, Trystan had already appeared in numerous theatre shows including The Gordon Frost Organisation and Opera Australia's award-winning production of The King and I in 2014, where he performed alongside Gold Logie Award winner Lisa McCune and world-renowned bass baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes. In 2012, Trystan also appeared in the Australasian Art & Stageworks’ production of The Quiet Brother.
Returning to the second season of The Family Law, Trystan says his character is a “savvy, humorous and slightly egotistic 15 year-old Australian-Chinese boy who has a solid passion for performance, family, and being a star.”
The potential for stardom is something that Trystan and his character share in common. Major media outlets have described his work in the show as being “impressive on so many levels.”
“I’m an only child so being surrounded by four siblings for six weeks on set was a pretty berserk but fun experience!”
- Trystan Go
After meeting the ‘real’ Law family, the actor and his cast mates have continued spending quality time with their character’s ‘real’ counterparts this season, too.
“We’ve been bombarding Yum Cha restaurants, apartment pools and gaming arcades as a ‘Law Troupe’!”
Not only a talented stage and screen actor, Trystan is also an avid singer and pianist, having trained and performed at the Australian Institute of Music, the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA), and the Musicwave Studio for several years.
FIONA CHOI is Jenny Law
Born in Melbourne to Chinese immigrant parents, Fiona Choi spent her youth performing in musicals. She made her Australian television debut as a beauty contestant on Neighbours, followed shortly by a role in Blue Heelers.
Upon graduating from WAAPA, Fiona was cast in the original Australian company of RENT and spent 15 months touring around Australia with the show.
Some favourite credits include Neighbours and roles in the original Australian companies of Metamorphoses for MTC and Mamma Mia! for Dainty.
Fiona moved to New York in 2003 and has steadily built up a string of film and television credits that include Homeland; Law & Order: Criminal Intent; Person of Interest; New Year's Eve (directed by Garry Marshall); Unforgettable; and The Newsroom.
Somewhere along the way, Fiona also fell into freelance casting & directing – her most recent projects include the North American musical tour of Scooby-Doo Live! Musical Mysteries and Chuggington.
“[Jenny Law] is basically every mother’s bursting heart personified and as a result she has been incredibly freeing and joyful to play.”
- Fiona Choi
Fiona was thrilled when she landed the plum role of Jenny Law in The Family Law, and to be working, once again, in Australia.
“Previous to this, the women I’ve played on television have mainly been defined by their jobs - this is the first time I’ve gotten to delve into the gorgeous layers and quiet struggles of the middle aged woman trying to juggle at home and survive a marriage breakdown and its messy aftermath,” Fiona says.
When news broke that the actor had earned an AACTA Award nomination for her work as Jenny Law, it affirmed that the character resonated with audiences.
“People come up to tell me about the ‘Jenny’ in THEIR life (every family seems to have one). She is the Greek grandmother, the Finnish mother-in-law, the bossy Korean owner of the laundromat, the sassy slightly racist Aunt.”
ANTHONY BRANDON WONG is Danny Law
Wong has worked extensively in film, television, theatre and radio around the world for Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Columbia Tristar, Relativity Media, Disney, ABC Family, BBC, Zoetrope Studios, HBO, Shanghai Film Studios, CBS, Television Poland, Film Australia and Matchbox Pictures.
His film credits include The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions alongside Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne; Flight Of The Phoenix, co-starring Dennis Quaid, Giovanni Ribisi and Miranda Otto; Steven Soderbergh's Haywire, starring Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum and Michael Fassbender; and Guns, Girls And Gambling opposite Gary Oldman.
Other film credits include Dominic Crisci’s Thicker Than Water; Little Fish opposite Cate Blanchett; Clara Law’s Floating Life; Lilian's Story co-starring Toni Collette; and Till There Was You opposite Mark Harmon.
Anthony’s television credits include Mask Of The Ninja; Samurai Girl; Secrets Of The Forbidden City (BBC); The Unit (CBS/FOX); NCIS; Glee; and an appearance in the HBO TV movie 1%. He has also had roles in Hawaii Five O; and worked opposite Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen in the HBO telemovie Hemingway and Gellhorn.
Anthony has also had roles in Maximum Choppage; Winter; and the Logie and AACTA Award winning series, Nowhere Boys; All Saints; Water Rats; Mission Impossible; Spellbinder 2; Francis Ford Coppola's Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde; Xena Warrior Princess; Jumping Ship; Stingers; and Acropolis Now.
“After years of playing murderers, villains, Chinatown bosses and bad guys, I longed to play a man who is caring, loving, and supportive. Danny Law is very much that man.”
- Anthony Brandon Wong
In 2017, Anthony will be seen in the ABC’s Newton’s Law, and in Blue Murder: Killer Cop, the sequel to Blue Murder; as well as seeing Danny Law through some new experiences in The Family Law Series 2.
“In Season 2, we’ll see a reinvented Danny: a new girlfriend, a new career venture,” the actor hints.
Playing a ‘Dad’ is a welcome change for Anthony. “I'm not a father in real life, so I’m delighted when the actors who play my kids in the show, call me ‘Dad’.”
SHUANG HU is Candy Law
Born in Tianjin, China, Shuang Hu made her acting debut in a Sony China Commercial in 2010. Since moving to Australia at the age of 5, Shuang has appeared in numerous commercials, as well as short film and television productions.
In 2017, Shuang adds the comedy, Ronny Chieng: International Student, to her credits, working alongside Ronny Chieng in his semi-autobiographical series.
“The crew have picked up the Asian accent and Law Lingo so often times you will find the crew incorporating lines like ‘cheek and hole’ into their daily vocabulary. It’s the whole entire cast and crew have become one big Asian Family!”
- Shuang Hu
Of her role in The Family Law, Shuang says, “Candy is head strong, confident, stubborn, edgy and a feminist on the outside, but on the inside she’s just a hopeless romantic who believes in fairytale endings.”
With laughs a minute on set, when it came to shooting emotional scenes, Shuang had a secret weapon: hide from her cast mates!
“Between takes we like to have fun on set: we do funny dances, take millions of selfies, boomies, videos, face-swaps and anything that will make us laugh. When I have an emotional scene coming up, I have to hide from the rest of the cast so I don’t pick up their fun vibes.”
SAM COTTON is Wayne
Cotton is an actor, writer and illustrator who has appeared in numerous Australian, American and UK television series including Rosehaven; Matchbox Pictures’ Wanted with Rebecca Gibney; The Pacific; Reef; Doctors; My Place; Heartbeat; and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
His feature film credits include Unfinished Sky and See No Evil; and he will also be seen in Australia Day and The Butterfly Tree.
Sam has also written, directed and produced several short films including the multi-award winning drama The Gap starring Roy Billing. He also wrote and directed the dark comedy Help Yourself to Some Self Help starring Steve Hytner of Seinfeld fame.
“Wayne is a little rough around the edges but always means well. He truly loves Candy and her family. He is oblivious and some times inappropriate, but he is kind, hard working and always sees the best in people.”
- Sam Cotton
Although he missed out on meeting the real ‘Law’ family during the first season of The Family Law, Sam finally got his chance to do so during Season 2.
“First thing Jenny Phang said to me was 'Hey, it’s bum crack boy!' in reference to a scene in season 1, which could be the best ice breaker I have ever heard. They are just as hilarious and kind in real life as fans of the show would hope they'd be.”
That wasn’t the only laugh Sam had on set, with the prankster developing a photo-bombing addiction.
“There were a lot of photos being taken on set - some by Anthony Brandon Wong – so I took it upon myself to see how many of his shots I could photo-bomb. If you look closely, I have made an appearance in almost every one of his photos. I am now in the process of weaning off photo-bombing cold turkey – it's a tough transition to go from doing every day to not doing it at all.”
Outside of acting, Sam is also a talented illustrator, and has sold a number of Illustrations, including an album cover to the popular indie band, Sheppard.
GEORGE ZHAO is Andrew Law
A former professional figure ice skater, GEORGE ZHAO is no stranger to performing, although these days you’re more likely to see him on stage and screen, than on the ice rink.
A graduate of the Wesley Institute where he earned a Bachelor of Dramatic Art, George’s theatre credits include working with theatre director, Gale Edwards, on Hosh-Aida at Sydney Harbour; as well as a role in Hot Fudge and Icecream, directed by Gale Edwards.
“Andrew [Law] is that teenager most boys are eventually in their lives - embarrassed by parents, and thinking about relationships. He cares deeply for his family but as he takes after his father, he finds it difficult to communicate that.”
- George Zhao
When he landed the role of Andrew Law in the first season of The Family Law, George was a newcomer to television acting, but with a second season now under his belt, he has firmly cemented himself as a ‘one to watch’.
The shoot presented George with some interesting challenges.
“By far the funniest thing I have done on set is make orgasm noises into a mic that was inches away from my face for a good solid minute.”
KARINA LEE is TAMMY LAW
Reprising her role as the Law family’s resident tomboy Tammy is a dream come true for aspiring young actress, Karina Lee.
“She, like most teens growing up, is still finding out who she is, where she fits in and, evident in her lack of fashion sense, what her true style is,” Karina says of her character.
Although Karina studied drama at school, and has been involved in school plays, until she was cast in The Family Law Series 1 in 2014, her only experiences on screen were appearances in commercials for Holden Captiva, Smarties, Tiny Teddies, Woolworths, and FIFA.
To find inspiration for her character, Karina looks to photos of the ‘real’ Law family.
“I have seen pictures of all the siblings when they were little, so that gave me a bit of an idea to Tammy's tomboyish character and her relationship with her siblings,” Karina says.
Outside of acting, Karina is also an accomplished speller, having been a top 10 finalist in the NSW State Premier’s Spelling Bee competition when she was in Grades 5 and 6. The final word she had to spell? STAPHYLOCOCCUS!
VIVIAN WEI is Michelle Law
With a season of The Family Law already behind her, and another season on the way, VIVIAN WEI can easily be described as a young actor to watch.
In the role of Michelle Law, Vivian holds her own in the company of more seasoned actors. The similarities she shares with her character helped her find her feet in the role.
“Benjamin [Law] said I was really similar to the real Michelle and I could basically just be myself in the series!” Vivian says.
Aside from acting, Vivian has also been doing Ballet since 2009, both in Australia and in China, and can be heard on the 7 Apps Preschool Languages Application as the speaker of three languages: Mandarin, English and Cantonese.
The Family Law returns to SBS on Thursday 15 June at 8:30pm. Episodes will also be available to stream on SBS On Demand.