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Justin Chon has quickly risen up the ranks of Hollywood actors in the past four years. The Korean American actor began his career in 2005 on the WB show “Jack & Bobby.” He later captured casting director’s attention in 2006 when he played Peter Wu in the Disney Channel film “Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior.”
He also played Tony Lee in the Nickelodeon sitcom “Just Jordan” and portrayed the son of Korean immigrants in the Harrison Ford movie “Crossing Over.” But his breakthrough appearance came in 2008, when he played Eric Yorkie in the film “Twilight,” based on the book by Stephenie Meyer.
Chon will be recognized with the Male Nova Award at this year’s Multicultural Motion Picture Association’s 17th annual Diversity Awards on Nov. 22 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. He will also reprise his role as Eric Yorkie in the upcoming “Twilight Saga: New Moon,” which opens nationwide on Nov. 20.
Justin recently spoke with Examiner.com about his acting career, the types of characters he plays and the ‘New Moon.”
You’ve played roles that are specifically Asian and also roles that were non-ethnic specific like Eric Yorkie in “Twilight.” How do you see yourself as a performer? Does race affect you?
I just see myself as an actor. I feel like we’re all in it together and at the end of the day, we all need each other. The Asian part of it… to make those projects, I think that it’s very much needed and important. I don’t neglect that whatsoever, but I’d also like to break those barriers and to say ‘Hey, I’m an actor. I can do a lot of different things.”
You’re in your late 20′s now. What’s it like to play a teenager?
It’s refreshing… it’s kinda just what I do… As an actor you can play different age ranges and different ethnicities. It’s no different than any other role, you just have to find what is the essence of the character and what it feels like to be that person… to find what’s at the core of this person.
I think the biggest thing is that when you’re in high school, you’re always trying to prove that your cool or whatever.. and I think the main thing is trying to find your identity. High school students try to get there in different ways and I think my character tries to find that.
Have you found yourself, your identity as an actor?
As an actor, I don’t really think you find yourself. I mean once you find yourself, I think it becomes boring and you become set in your ways. I think as an actor I think its’ not a bad thing but more of a gift. It’s something you’re always doing as an actor. You’re adjusting constantly.
In “Twilight” you play Eric Yorkie who was not written specifically as an Asian American character. Tell us about the role.
He’s supposed to be white but Catherine Hardwicke, the director of the first film, went to the producers and studio and convinced them to hire me for the part. There’s never any mention of my character being Asian or any talk of his ethnicity.
Do you think that’s a good thing?
I think it’s great. It does matter but at the same time I have nothing against playing ethnic specific parts. It’s wonderful to get those opportunities. It’s needed and there definitely is a place for it. But just the fact that “Twilight” is such a pop culture phenomenon made this a huge movie that a lot of people are seeing. I think it’s very important that people watch this movie and go “Hey, that guy goes to my high school.”
I mean why do we have to see this character as a certain type of person when it could be anybody. He could be Black, White, Mexican, Asian. I think high school is a good example of that. “Twilight” is reaching so many people and I think it’s a really good step in the right direction for diversity and opening up doors.
Special Thanks to Justin Chon and his publicist Anthony Turk for arranging this interview.
Although you know Twilight’s Justin Chon as human Eric Yorkie, I’m happy to say that the humanity doesn’t stop there. After chatting with him yesterday for a few minutes he’s easily made it on my list of super down-to-earth people. That my friends, is a good list to be on. Aside from earning a spot on that list, he was able to dish on the upcoming New Moon movie and fill us in on what he’s been up to since we last chatted. A few times, he even turned the tables on me by asking me questions. JI: I understand you’ve recently attended the Pusan International Film Festival. Can you tell me about your experience and what you did there?
JC: I’d like to say that I felt out of place a little, I don’t know why they invited me. I felt like an outsider.
JI: Why is that?
JC: I don’t know, I just didn’t feel like I was a part of ‘the club’ or whatever. Everyone there had their own team and I thought it’d be okay if I went by myself… and um, it wasn’t okay.
JI: I’m sorry to hear about that.
JC: Yeah, it’s okay. I mean that’s just the way they do business there. Actually I learned a lot, I learned a lot about how they operate over there– I realized that I truly love working in America.
JI: Speaking of America, New Moon will be premiering soon. How are you prepping yourself for the madness?
JC: Absolutely no preparation at all.
JI: You’re just going to walk in there and be cool?
JC: What’s there to prepare for? I’ll uh…get a suit. I’ll uh…get a suit and on the day of I’ll show up with [my publicist] Anthony and we’ll… watch the movie. I think that’s the best preparation I can do.
JI: So, no emotional preparation? The premiere last year looked pretty crazy from what I’ve seen.
JC: What kind of preparation would you do?
JI: I think I would do a little yoga, call on Jesus and ask people to pray for me.
JC: Yeah, I think that’s actually a very good idea. I think I’ll have people pray for me too.
JI: With the success of Twilight going from being an indie film to a massive franchise, how has this affected your experience of filming New Moon?
JC: Not much at all. A movie set is a movie set, the only thing that’s different is they’re just a lot more protective with the people and they have umbrellas so photographers can’t take pictures. You know, the only thing that’s affected is personal freedom. You can’t just walk off the set and smoke a cigarette anymore and they have to know where you are at all times. They set up these black walls everywhere so you can’t escape the set. But other than that, filming-wise, filming is the same. Just a different director. There’s differences in those terms but with that, in terms of the work, it’s the same.
JI: As I’ve mentioned earlier, a handful of our readers including myself are Orange County natives, has life here changed fo—
JC: Didn’t you say you were from Rowland Heights or the San Gabriel Valley?
JI: I’m actually from Anaheim.
JC: Anaheim! My dad has a store on Ball and Chapman, The Mega Shoe Factory.
JI: I totally know where that is! I’ll check it out sometime when I need shoes.
JC: What high school did you go to?
JI: Orange High.
JC: Awesome. I went to University High in Irvine.
JI: Cool deal. So, has life here changed for you since Twilight happened?
JC: Life — I mean, in some ways, yeah. Like I get to travel a lot. Ya know, once in awhile I get recognized for something. But uh, yeah, I’ve been traveling a lot. In the last year I got to go to Paris, uh Spain, France…(laughs)haha Paris is in France, London, Florida, Korea, New York, Vancouver, Washington, Arizona, Australia, Chicago –twice…I think that’s it.
JI: Of those places, which place did you enjoy the most?
JC: Paris. Ya know what, I honestly thought I wouldn’t love Mona, I’d love Italy but uh…that’s not the case. I thought the French in France would be a bunch of high-nosed rude people, but that’s not the case. If you’re overly nice to them, they treat you with just as much respect. I think they’re just used to American people coming in and poo-poo-ing on sh**. And uh, they just don’t like that. So if you’re really nice, they’re nice to you. The thing I love about Paris was that it’s big city, but it has a really calm attitude. Everyone is just really chill and quiet. Not wild,
JI: Or frantic…
JC: Which I also love! But at the same time it’s fast paced. The subway doors opens before the car even stops — you get to where you’re going and once you get there, you relax. And I really like how everyone is into their own thing and not staring you. I remember I was on the train and some girls were screaming a song — no one gave a sh**. They just let them be teenagers, and no one was trying to reprimand them. Well, people laughed but it was awesome.
JI: What’s next on your list of places to travel to?
JC: I’m going to be back in Paris next week for a signing.
JI: For a Twilight convention?
JC: Yeah, me and a bunch of the other Twilight cast members usually do these conventions where we go to places and sign autographs. So, I’m looking forward to that because ::French accent:: I love Pareee.
JI: What other upcoming projects do you have in store?
JC: Nothing, just Twilight. After that, I’m going back to the drawing board and going to pilot season. I’m re-energized to be an artist and be kind of done with Twilight.
JI: I think that’s more than enough for now.
JC: Do you?
JI: Twilight seems like a lot in itself!
JC: Yeah! The thing is, I’m at a good chapter in my life but I think it’s time to expand the horizons you know. It’s been like, what…two and a half years?
In an exclusive new interview with RadarOnline.com, Twilight’s resident funny guy Justin Chon dishes about the attention he gets now that the movies are so wildly popular.
After arriving in Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday, Justin has his work cut out for him filming the third installment of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
Justin – who sat down with RadarOnline.com at the Hollywood eatery Bella Cucina prior to leaving for Vancouver — surmises that there is no way he could have a vampire girlfriend in the movie, and if he did she “would get sick of me and end up killing me.” We can’t imagine anyone wanting to kill the funny guy! In a thoughtful moment, Justin discusses how important it was for the producers of the Twilight movies to write his character as Asian since Eric Yorkie wasn’t in Stephanie Meyer’s original book.
Watch to see Justin give a shout out to Twilight fansites and learn how he feels about Rob Pattinson getting all the attention. Hint – he doesn’t feel bad!!
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CUUUUUTTTEEE His dog’s named Turbo, and one of the recent movies he’s been in is also named “Turbo”
Thanks so much to Britt-ness from Touched By Twilight for the interview and for the kick ass graphic! Enjoy!
Here is an excerpt from the interview…click the graphic above to view the interview!
Had you ever imagined that one character would give you so much exposure and gather you so many fans of all ages? How does this make you feel?
Never thought that a single film could do this for me and it feels great. I love “Twilight”. I love Eric and I love the fans!
Thanks to Peter & Anthony For the heads up! You guys are awesome and so is Justin! woooo hooo!
Check out their recent interview and photos of Justin Chon this past Monday at his store, The Attic, in Buena Park, CA
Check out an interview I found with Justin from Agenda Magazine which includes a video also!
Click the link above to view!
source: http://showhype.com/story/just_justin_an_interview_w_justin_chon_1/ main source: http://adambernard.blogspot.com/2008/02/just-justin-interview-w-justin-chon.html
Just Justin – An Interview w/ Justin Chon
Co-star of the Nickelodeon show Just Jordan, Justin Chon is fast becoming one of the busiest young actors in Hollywood. Right now the 20 year old has two films in post production, Crossing Over and Gary The Tennis Coach, and another, Hack!, already on his resume. All of these films see Chon star opposite a number of Hollywood’s elite, including Harrison Ford, and he’s leaving to shoot another, Twilight, which is being directed by Catherine Hardwicke of Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown fame, at the end of the month. Chon’s crazy schedule barely gives him any time to breathe, but I caught up with him this week to find out more about his film roles, the many beautiful women he’s acted opposite, and how American Pie ended up being an inspiration to him.
Read the rest of the story on Adam’s World.