Q & A w/ ‘Twilight’ actor Justin Chon!

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.

2 Responses to “Q & A w/ ‘Twilight’ actor Justin Chon!”

  1. russell brand dublin review…

    Coventry Telegraph staff give their views and opinions on the latest television programmes….

  2. LOL I just took the twilight quiz and found out I’m Bella Swan!

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