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Name: Adam Bernard
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About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Just Justin – An Interview w/ Justin Chon
Wednesday, February 13, 2008

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.

Adam Bernard: Let’s start with your movies, Crossing Over, Gary The Tennis Coach and Hack! What are your roles in these films?
Justin Chon: They differ a lot! In Hack! I play a real flamboyant gay guy. In Gary The Tennis Coach, which I think they’re changing the name of to Balls Out, I play a member on a tennis team, a normal Midwestern kind of kid, but for some reason Seann William Scott keeps thinking I’m from China. In Crossing Over I play a Korean immigrant that’s having a tough time adjusting.

Adam Bernard: Which role was the most difficult to take on?
Justin Chon: I’d say Crossing Over. I had to have an accent and although I’m a main character in the movie I don’t have a ton of dialogue, so I had to fill all those moments when I would have been talking with my thoughts and being really aware of what was going around me. That’s like the hardest acting you can do, where you don’t speak but you gotta act.

Adam Bernard: You also act opposite a veritable who’s who of Hollywood in that film. What did you take away from that experience?
Justin Chon: The film is kind of like Crash, there area lot of different storylines and my storyline crossed me with Harrison Ford and Cliff Curtis. What I took away from that is even though I look up to these people we’re all kind of in the same boat when we’re acting. We’re all trying to reach the same goal and we’re all trying to do our best. That’s what I took from it, that and to not be too intimidated, to just focus on what I’m trying to do in the scene and not worry about everything else.

Adam Bernard: You’ve also been acting opposite a lot of beautiful women, including your guest stint on The O.C. Don’t think I didn’t notice that, Big Korea! Talk about a role where you didn’t have to say anything!
Justin Chon: (laughs) I know! I had a point of view, otherwise I would have looked like a dumbass just walking around. Well, I kind of did look like a dumbass walking around, but I got to kiss Rachel Bilson, so that was cool.

Adam Bernard: VERY cool. Of all the females you’ve worked with which ones have hit on you?
Justin Chon: I don’t think anyone really hit on me, but I’ve worked with plenty of people that I’ve thought were very beautiful.

Adam Bernard: I see that list, you have Danica McKellar on it. Winnie Cooper!
Justin Chon: Yeah I know, she’s such a nice girl, too. She is what she seems, she’s not smoke and mirrors.

Adam Bernard: How does your mindset differ from acting in films to being on the set of Just Jordan?
Justin Chon: I just have to keep in mind that Just Jordan is for kids, so I shouldn’t read into it too much and try to figure out what my character would be thinking in certain moments. I just have to go with the flow and when they want me to do something zany I just gotta do it without really questioning it too much. For film you have to turn on a switch where everything means something and you have to make everything a lot more personal.

Adam Bernard: In a stark contrast to Just Jordan some of your film roles are very adult.
Justin Chon: Yeah, there’s more serious stuff. In Crossing Over I have a sex scene with Kathy Uyen and she is very beautiful. I actually knew her from before the movie and it was funny because I kind of helped her out with the audition and she ended up booking it. By the time we did the sex scene we were a lot more comfortable with each other, so it wasn’t weird.

Adam Bernard: You are a part of young Hollywood and it seems everyone who falls under that heading gets in trouble for something. What are you going to end up the tabloids for?
Justin Chon: I think I did all my partying before I started getting roles and professionally going. It was more like a high school kind of phase. I don’t think you’ll ever see me doing drugs or having a lot of babies.

Adam Bernard: Babies. That reminds me, you’re on Nickelodeon, so just tell me right now, is Jamie Lynn Spears’ kid gonna pop out Asian?
Justin Chon: No, I don’t think so.

Adam Bernard: Since I also write about music a lot here, fill me in on what you’re listening to right now. Who’s in your personal rotation?
Justin Chon: I’ve been listening to the Once soundtrack. Paolo Nutini, Amos Lee, a lot of folk. That’s pretty much the main stuff that I’m listening to.

Adam Bernard: You don’t hear of a lot of 20 year olds listening to those artists. What draws you to them?
Justin Chon: It’s just really chill music. It’s very calm and I like to, on my off time, just really relax, so that’s the type of music I like.

Adam Bernard: When you’re not acting what are you watching?
Justin Chon: I watch everything. I have a stack right here. Right now I’m watching James Dean: Forever Young which is a documentary that Martin Sheen narrates. I have Chaplin, the Robert Downey Jr. one. I have Reel Talent, which is a collection of the first films by George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, Shawn Levy; their USC films, their student thesis’.

Adam Bernard: So you’re totally a history buff in terms of acting and films.
Justin Chon: Yeah. I really honestly love films. I’m not really in it to be famous, I really like acting. I wouldn’t mind getting to directing, not so much producing because that’s too much business for me, but I really just love the whole process.

Adam Bernard: What drew you to it?
Justin Chon: My dad was an actor in South Korea from when he was about ten until 25, so I grew up watching films and just found them fascinating. Growing up in the US I was always so awed by movies but never thought that I could be a part of it because growing up there weren’t that many Asian film actors besides Jackie Chan or Jet Li, but recently there’s been an explosion of Asian actors and after I saw American Pie and John Cho with his bit part I was like whoa, maybe it can be done. That’s why I started going to acting school and giving it a shot. Now that I’m kind of sort of a part of it that dream gets closer and closer every day. And I just love acting. This is the best way I can put it, when you go make a film it’s like adult summer camp. You meet a bunch of people, you become best friends with them, you work towards a common goal, you have your little drama and issues with people, but by the end everyone’s cool, you say your goodbyes, pack up your stuff and you never talk to those people again.

Adam Bernard: If sounds like your coworkers are your BFF’s for six months. Do you ever get to make real long lasting friendships?
Justin Chon: I manage to find some good friends. It is a little tough to find real, true friends in Hollywood, though.

Adam Bernard: Let’s get a good rumor started. Write your own tabloid headline – Justin Chon seen leaving club with…
Justin Chon: Sharon Osbourne. That would just be really offbeat and I think people would want to read into that and they’d start asking a lot of questions. She seems like a really nice person. She’d probably bake me some cookies or something.

Adam Bernard: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Justin Chon: Yes. If someone wants to help finance a film that I would like to make then give me a call. I’m writing a few things, but it’s a total labor of love.

For more on Justin Chon check him out on imdb.com and MySpace.

Past Celebrity Interviews

Sunkrish Bala – Notes from the Underbelly
Constantine Maroulis – American Idol
Russell Simmons - Entrepreneur
Jenn – The Real World (Denver)


posted by Adam Bernard @ 6:50 AM  
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