Decades after fans around the world were captivated by Dante Basco’s onscreen performance as Rufio in Steven Spielberg’s cult film Hook, he has trenched through the terrains of Neverland and has navigated his way to another land of murky waters, known to University of Florida students as The Swamp.

Before taking the stage at UF’s 20th Annual Asian American Student Assembly as the evening’s keynote speaker, the actor sat down with Sparks to discuss his acting career, future plans with Asian American YouTube stars, Asian American issues and family, in addition to completely random — but equally entertaining — topics in our “10-Question Lightening Round” at the end of the interview.

His beloved characters of Zuko in Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender, Jake Long from Disney’s American Dragon, Ramos in Take the Lead, and Ben Mercado in the Fil-Am classic The Debut, as well as his other roles, artistic talents and innate charisma, have paved the way for Asian American entertainers and have also given us hope that we, as Asian Americans, can truly make a difference.

“I think we’re at the highest point we’ve been so far, but at the same token, I feel like this new generation, which is your generation, it’s your time — it’s our time — and it’s time and it’s time for us to really start doing a lot of work,” he said in the interview below.

Photo courtesy of Dante Basco.