You may recognize Jamie Chung from The Real World: San Diego, but since then she has been taking the same route of fellow Real World alumna, Jacinda Barrett (she was in the London season) and becoming a legit non B-movie actor — and her resume is impressive. The San Francisco native has appeared on TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Castle, Greek, and Samurai Girl. She is continuing to shake off that dead-end reality show stigma of being a Real World/Road Rules Challenge mainstay by snagging roles in big-time movies such as Grown Ups, Sucker Punch and her latest project, The Hangover Part II.
In the movie, she plays Lauren, the bride-to-be of Stu (Ed Helms). The couple and their crew go to Thailand for a destination wedding and, of course, Chung’s character is put in the position of impatiently waiting on Stu and his homeboys to get back from their adventures of debauchery in Bangkok.
We had the chance to talk about how she cried during “fake” wedding to Ed Helms, her aspirations of being a food blogger and which Hangover character she would most likely date.
When you first signed on to the movie did you know what you were in for?
I didn’t know what to expect, but after reading the script, I could not stop laughing. They really took it to the next level. I was kind of skeptical in whether or not they could pull it off, but they really were able to pull it off. The writers were fantastic! The chemistry the group had really worked on film. They completely outdone
themselves –- you’re gonna love it!
Were there any specific moments in the movie that were memorable for you?
I would have to say the day of “the wedding.” For two weeks, they built a set for the wedding and after one day of filming, they tore it down –- it was so sad. But I feel so jaded after having this beautiful destination wedding that wasn’t really for me (laughs). I remember walking down the aisle and I actually got really teary-eyed! I really felt like I was getting married! But it was work and it was me doing a scene –- but it was the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to. It completely jaded me to my own wedding.
So your own wedding has a lot to live up to.
I don’ know if it can beat it!
I want to shift gears to a more “Asian American in entertainment” direction. Based on your experience in the business, what is your perception of Asian identity in media? Is stereotype-based casting still even an issue?
I feel like we’re leaning towards an era of diversifying casts. People want and are demanding a colorful cast. I really feel like producers, directors and casting directors are really listening to these demands. They want something different. It’s coming down to whether or not a person is right for the role –- are they going to go beyond expectations of what’s on the page? In terms of diversifying roles for other ethnicities, people are open to it. Ten years from now, there will be more advances, but if you look at ten years ago, it was very rare to have Asian American actors in these roles.
OK — let’s get back to The Hangover. In the movie, Lauren is marrying Stu. But which of the guys in the movie would Jamie Chung date?
Oh man -– I would have to say, honestly, Ed Helms’s character. Of course, Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong and Justin Bartha are all super charming, but there’s something about Stu. He’s just so funny and adorable.
A lot of actors say they aren’t comfortable seeing themselves in a movie or on TV. How long did it take you to get used to seeing yourself on screen?
When they say you are your own worse critic, it’s absolutely true. I can’t stand looking at myself on screen. [laughs] I’m always thinking “I could’ve done this” or “I could’ve done that” –- but that’s a good quality to have as an actor. You always want to continue to evolve and get better. I mean, if you’re satisfied with your performance, where can you go from there? I do find myself “conveniently” walking out of the theater when a certain part of a movie is coming up. I’m so weird about it. [laughs] I am proud of my work, but it still makes me a little shy.
You have many of roles on TV under your belt and the movie resume is getting longer and longer. Are you starting to get recognized more?
When I go to events, I do get recognized. Even when I am in my gym clothes or doing some guilt-free shopping at H&M people recognize me.
Does it catch you off guard?
It kind of does, because I don’t expect people to but I think it’s the most rewarding feeling.
So if you weren’t acting, what would you be doing?
I would have to say that I would strive to become a food blogger. I love taking photographs of my food and I just LOVE food.
The Hangover Part II opens in theaters on May 26.