In yet another exclusive interview, Soompi caught up with reality show star-turned-Hollywood actress Jamie Chung. Most of you are probably more familiar with her roles in MTV reality shows, “Real World: San Diego” and “Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Inferno II,” but Jamie has been able to successfully turn her career into professional acting and has built up a respectable filmography for a young actress. Having played prominent roles in Hollywood blockbusters “Dragon Ball Evolution” in 2009 and “Sucker Punch” in 2011, Jamie will play a major role in “The Hangover: Part II” set for release on May 26th. Despite her busy schedule promoting the film, which is a sequel to 2009 film “The Hangover,” Jamie gave Soompi enough time to speak about her life in Hollywood, growing up in California, and her Korean heritage as well. Thanks again for your time Jamie and good luck with your new movie!
Q: Hi Jamie! Could you briefly talk about your new movie “The Hangover: Part II”? What is it about and what role will you be playing?
A: Well, the reason why “Hangover: Part II” takes place in Bangkok, Thailand is because Stu, the dentist, decides to marry this Thai-American, and that’s my character. I play Lauren, she’s Thai-American, her father is a wealthy, hotel chain owner in Thailand, and so we decide to have the wedding at one of the resorts. Plans go awry, and before the wedding, the guys want to have a bonfire by the beach and I convince Stu to take my character’s younger brother with him. He’s 16, pre-med, and never really gets to have any fun, so I encourage him to hang out with everyone, and you know, that’s kind of where the story begins. They lose Lauren’s brother and it’s the search for Teddy because their wedding will not go on unless they find Teddy, because Lauren’s father is obsessed with Teddy. You know, Teddy is his prized possession, and he would hate Stu forever if something happened to Teddy.
Q: How was your experience filming “Hangover II” compared to your previous films?
A: I felt like I was part of a group more. It was an already successful movie and it was a sequel. With “Sucker Punch” it was great because all the girls started the same time and we all bonded with each other and we just became this really close group. And for “Hangover II,” it was like jumping onto someone else’s set, like these are the guys, the worlfpack, so it was just really intimidating walking onto the set with such funny, handsome, charming, and fortunately, they were really warm and welcoming. It was really low key, it’s completely opposite of what you would expect. You think these guys are crazy based on their parts on the movie but in actuality they’re really quite normal and they’re really nice.
Q: A lot of our fans remember you from the MTV reality shows. Do you ever miss doing those shows?
A: To be honest with you, I do not. I feel like I had my time to do it, you know? I did one season during college and then I did one challenge, and I felt like that was enough for me. You know what I mean? A lot of the people come back and do it again, but I don’t know, I had a great experience with it, and I wouldn’t really want to tarnish that experience. But I still watch all the things on TV. I still watch the new “Real World” and still watch MTV, and I watch my “Jersey Shore,” but I’m definitely still addicted to some of these reality shows.
Q: Our readers are very curious about your life in Hollywood. Could you tell us what it’s like to live as a Hollywood star; what are the best/worse things about it?
A: I would have to say it’s pretty nice to be surrounded by so many creative, artistic, talented people. I would have to say, you know like the girl friends I made from “Sucker Punch,” we’re all really close friends and I admire them so much, and I admire their work ethic, their talent. So it’s a fun life but it’s whatever you make of it. Like, I’m a little too old for the clubs now, but we had a private show on Sunday, which was really cool. But I guess I kind of just got into my own thing, so whether it’s spending three days in the desert or flying to San Francisco, I feel like there’s a lot more traveling than there is actually living in Los Angeles.
Q: You grew up in San Francisco and now live in Los Angeles. Northern Cali or Southern Cali?
A: Oh well, I mean I grew up in San Francisco, I grew up in the city. I went to school there, so I don’t know. I have to say I love a lot of things about Los Angeles, but I’m kind of a Bay Area Girl at heart. I love going home. To be honest with you, I think I’d like to change scenes a little bit and just live in New York.
Q: Have you ever visited Korea before?
A: Of course. I went for press but I also went to the Pusan Film Festival. When I was younger, much younger, like in fifth grade, I went to Korea and stayed with minbaks (Editor’s note: Minbak’s are basically home stay or bread & breakfast type of residences), and I stayed with another student’s family for an entire summer. So it was a pretty interesting experience.
Q: How’s your Korean?
A: Oh man, it’s not bad. It’s conversational definitely. But I think it’s equivalent to like a high schooler, not even high school, maybe a sixth grader.
Q: Our website is the largest English website on K-Pop, and a lot of our readers are interested in breaking into the entertainment industry. As Asian-American, what advice would you give our readers who aspire to be someone like you?
A: I would have to say ‘Don’t get discouraged.’ I feel like there are so many more opportunities for ethnicities are opening up and people want to see diversified cast. You know, they want to see more color on TV. So if it seems like it’s getting tough, you sometimes just go, ‘I just want to give up,’ but don’t give up because I feel like success is right around the corner. But really, it’s just hard work and people think it just comes easy after you break a couple of roles, but if you’re in it for the long haul, expect it to be an uphill battle.
Q: For you personally, what would be your dream project? Your role, fellow cast members, any specific director you would like to work with?
A: Oh man, there’s so many! I feel like it would be interesting to play someone that’s still alive. Do you know what I mean? It’s like the character and just all that material that you have, the research and all the things that are available to you to play someone. I don’t know, I think it’s so fascinating. I love seeing the before and after, you know, for example, “27 Hours.” I mean, it’s a true story and it’s just a real life experience, and made it to this amazing movie. I just think it’s so fascinating to see the actor work with the actual person who lives through this traumatic experience, and to be able to tell the story as truthfully as possible. I think that would be pretty spectacular—I’d like to do that.