Parry Shen is one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood. A Port Charles fixture as Brad Cooper on General Hospital, he keeps busy in all things show business. Parry is a producer (and actor) in the film Unidentified, and starred on the big screen in the Hatchet trilogy and then came back for a fourth in Victor Crowley. His dozens and dozens of other credits include his Hollywood break thru performance in Better Luck Tomorrow, the major release comedy The New Guy and lots of primetime television – don’t miss a legendary appearance on The King of Queens! Parry is married to a school teacher, Kim, and they have two beautiful daughters, Avery and Kori.
How have you held up during Covid-19?
Parry: I believe pretty well. I think it’s all been attributed to one major factor — engaging in daily exercise. I just feel better physically (obviously). But also mentally clear after I’m done. And I feel good about myself, that I did something for ME. Initially, it started out as a need to ‘stay in shape‘ so that I’m ready when productions started up again. But then, it changed into a meditative routine and in turn, assisted in my mental health. And once all that stuff is in good shape, I think everything else falls into place. Just a better attitude that bleeds into everything else.
You’ve kept busy?
Parry: I’ve actually never been busier. Journeyman actors are ALWAYS in hustle mode. It’s the default setting we’re always on. It was actually more difficult for the rest of the family — who weren’t used to having so much time on their hands and were trying to figure out how to make the most of it without a ‘set’ schedule in place.
But it must be somewhat of a huge bonus in your life that you have a full house?
Parry: It’s been a blessing to have their busy schedules somewhat paused – because I already felt we were ‘over-programmed’. Literally every second of every day we had to either drive someone to a rehearsal, practice, game, performance, doctor’s appointment… I felt over-stretched amongst my own commitments. So it’s nice to have this forced slow down of our lives. However, I’m not used to them being at home ALL the time – as I’m used to having the house to myself to get stuff done while they’re at school/work.
Is your wife teaching at her school, or is it all at home learning?
Parry: She had been teaching remotely but will be returning in person next week. But she’ll also still be teaching remotely to those students that have decided to not return in person, as well. It’s very challenging logistically, as teachers have always had to deal with making sure students are engaged in person but now have to address that remotely at the same time.
What have you learned about yourself, these past few months?
Parry: That I’m definitely an introvert. ‘Oh, I can’t go to this thing and be forced to interact with people that I don’t know? Aw, shucks.’ I can only take social interaction in small doses. However, I do miss the option of being able to go to those things when I feel up to it — that choice has been taken away altogether.
Have you found any new hobbies or projects to work on during this time?
Parry: Since Day 1 of the quarantine, I have been assembling my own home gym in the garage. It’s now pretty much fully equipped – meaning I don’t ever have to rely on a public gym – and I’m now in the middle of adding aesthetic touches. It’s like my “She-Shed” – I don’t say, “Man-Cave”, as it’s for use for the whole family to stay in shape as well.
What was your last fun night out, before COVID-19?
Parry: Probably last November – I got to take my oldest daughter to a film festival that was honoring a film of mine. We were treated like rock stars, put up in a super fancy hotel, and hit the red carpet!
You were actually able to take on a new role during this?
Parry: I filmed something a few months ago with acclaimed director, David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network, Se7ven, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) that will be out on one of the streaming outlets in the middle of 2021.
And you have a great recording studio set up at your house, so you’ve been creating your own things?
Parry: Yep! I’ve filmed several things for my Youtube Channel and social media outlets.
If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
Parry: I wish I was better at keeping in touch with people and seeing what they were up to. Facebook helps a lot in respect to getting a general idea but I’m talking more about the one-on-one check-ins.
Is there any place you’ve always wanted to visit, but haven’t?
Parry: Europe. Specifically the UK and Italy. So much history and good eating. I wanted to wait until the kids were old enough to appreciate it as well, so that day is here – just need to wait until the travel restrictions have eased once we get a handle on the Covid-19 situation.
What do you miss more, live sporting events or go to movie theaters?
Parry: Probably movie theaters. And I wouldn’t mind so much watching new releases at home, but the distributors are so hesitant in releasing films in the hopes of holding out until the traditional viewing returns — that the overall slate of released films are almost non-existent. Top Gun 2 was supposed to already be out!
What’s the last song you caught yourself singing…in the shower?
Parry: Dynamite by the K-Pop group, BTS. It’s a fun, catchy song but an ear-worm. Sometimes I can’t get it out of my head and desperately want to.
You get one phone call – who is it to?
Parry: Barack Obama. I’d like to hear his thoughts about what he’d like to see done or accomplished in the near future for the country and then see what I could do in terms of implementing them with my skill sets.
Have you changed your workout routine these past few months?
Parry: The biggest change is that I can now do it at home, at any hour of the day. I’d say I am lifting less heavier weights – since I don’t have access to them – but as a result have been injury-free this whole time knock on wood. However, I’m still the strongest and in the best shape I’ve ever been in because the workouts are more core-based and focused on better form.
What are you most looking forward to when things get back to normal?
Parry: Being able to hug people. Shake hands. Going to Dodger games and the movies. Playing poker in person with my poker crew – we’ve been playing online while interacting through ZOOM since March.