Immediately, the first questioner ran to her seat, grabbed a scarf, and returned to tie it to the stand before proceeding with her question, which was about what it is like working with his brother,Raphel (Feldman). Yan replied that he had worked with his brother so many times, going back to elementary school where they did a take on “Thriller” called “Weirder” where he was the girl and Raf was the Michael Jackson character. They also did a two man comedy show as well as numerous other projects together. It is easy since they are so used to each other. He also joked about how good looking Raf is and how it’s hard to keep his hands off of him.
The next person wanted to know if Yan knew about Firefly before Serenity. He said he heard that Adam Baldwin was on a new show, but hadn’t had a chance to see it before it was canceled. He got the script for Serenity just before going to Vancouver to shoot Stargate. He decided to take the FireflyDVDs with him and got so hooked on the show he had to ditch his Vancouver friends for a couple of nights until he had seen the entire series. He liked the scene where Mal kicked the guy into the engine (“The Train Job”) and fell in love with the series.
The next question was about whether Joss Whedon had specified any back story for Fanty and Mingo. Not really, was his reply, other than that originally they were supposed to be something like Badger’s cousins. Joss wanted twins in the movie and the names came from a James Mason movie (actually, it was The Big Combo, which James Mason was not in!).
The next person wanted to congratulate Raf on his recent wedding. Yan said it was an honor to be the best man and that it was a beautiful ceremony at a winery in Sonoma. It was a bit hard to get to, which was hard on the guests, but everything worked out. He then launched into a prank he pulled (“an Oscar worthy performance”) where instead of giving a traditional toast, he told a story of how he saw an anonymous man with a key to the bride’s home enter and later saw the guy leave looking all flustered and disheveled. He then asked that man to please return the key; at that point many guests, including the bride’s stepfather, stood up and brought keys to him. This of course shocked the guests who weren’t in on the joke, before they realized it was a prank. Yan said that he felt he should at least be the "asshole cracking jokes" at the wedding since he didn’t want to be the traditional sentimental guy.
The next question was which of the twins was older. That would be Raphel, by about ten minutes. Yan said he came out feet first and has been the troublemaker ever since. He also mentioned that in the early days when both were hired for a project, Raf would pick which part he wanted first since he was older. Now, they take turns choosing which part they want.
Someone wanted to know whether or not Yan was a Method actor. He doesn’t really think he is, but does feel that as a twin, he’s spent his life assuming identities since he doesn’t have one of his own. He’s always been the class clown, assuming characters, so acting is just a natural extension of that. He felt that once he had the accent down, he could get into the Fanty character.
The final question of the afternoon was about ancestry, prompted by a commercial on the History Channel. Yan mentioned that he has Irish, Russian, and Lithuanian roots and that he is related to the actor Marty Feldman. He said it was cool, since the family connection compelled him to watch Young Frankenstein, among other things. He was pleased that so many audience members knew who Marty Feldman was.
With that, time was up. Yan thanked everyone for coming and was off for the photo-ops. A little while later, my Whedonopolis colleagues and I ran into Yan out on the vendor floor. He complimented Brian’s friend’s costume and briefly chatted with us. He is a gracious and friendly fellow and we wish him the best.