BellaAndEdward.com: Is this the first time you’ve heard of Twilight?
Justin Chon: Actually, one of my friends is really into the books, he’s read all three of them. I’ve read the first book and when I heard about the movie, I was like, “Okay, I’ve got to be in that!”
BAE: How did you get the part of Eric? What was the audition process like, did you even have to audition?
JC: It was just like any other part I’ve auditioned for. My agent got me to audition and I auditioned for Catherine, the director, and then I came back and auditioned again. I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, but I got the part!
BAE: Do you usually like vampire novels/movies?
JC: Yeah, actually I LOVE vampire movies. One of my favorite movies is actually “Interview With The Vampire”, I really like that movie a lot. I’ve always wanted to do a vampire movie, so I’m super excited to be involved with this one. It’s really intriguing, you know, that whole vampire, myth thing has always intrigued me. It half scares me, but the other half gets me interested and makes me wonder what it would be like to be a vampire to live thousands of years and go through all the different time periods.
BAE: Exactly, and I think that’s one of the reasons why people love the books so much and are anticipating the movie so much.
BAE: Eric has been described as the “overly helpful, chess club type” in Twilight. How are you going to prepare for this role?
JC: I’ll just probably learn my lines (laughs), go through the whole acting process, do little things that are going to help me get into character, and make sure I’m really in tune with the situations and what my character would do in those situations.
BAE: Your IMDb “STARmeter” has gone up 1,777% since last week!
JC: Yeah, what the hell is that about?
BAE: Do you think this is because of Twilight?
JC: I think so, because you know, I don’t think people really check my IMDb that much!
BAE: Apparently now they do!
JC: Yeah I know, it’s really, really cool and very shocking, but still cool! I try not to pay attention to that as much because it really doesn’t mean much, I mean, it means something because I’m almost positive it’s from “Twilight”. But I don’t want that to put any pressure on me or anything.
BAE: How do you feel about being part of this phenomenon? Do you think it will boost your career?
JC: I’m super excited, really, really excited! I love the books, and I’m also huge fan of Catherine Hardwicke. I love “Thirteen” and “Lords of Dogtown” and I think that she’s the perfect director for this film. She’s really great and her shots are very dynamic with lots of color in them. When I found out she was directing this film I was like, “Oh my god!” And then there’s Kristen [Stewart]. When I saw “Into the Wild” I was like, “This girl is really talented!” I’m really excited to be a part of this!
BAE: Have you been on set or met the rest of the cast yet?
JC: No, actually I haven’t. They haven’t called me in until a couple of weeks from now.
BAE: I read on your website that your dad was a Korean film star. Did he help you get started in acting?
JC: Yeah, my dad was an actor in Korea. He acted from when he was 10 to 25. I grew up watching his black and white films, but it was kind of my choice to act in the US. I still had to work my way up
BAE: How long does it usually take you to get into a character? Is it hard for you to switch from one to another?
JC: It really depends on the character. I did a movie last year called “Crossing Over” where I played a Korean immigrant. That was hard, it wasn’t like overnight or anything. Something like Eric or the TV show I’m on right now is a little easier I’d say. But it really depends on the character. It’s always hard, because it’s not really you, it’s just how hard.
BAE: So back to the movie you mentioned earlier called “Crossing Over,” can you tell us what it’s about and what your role is in the movie?
JC: It’s about all facets of immigration and it deals with all the different aspects of it. Things like getting a Green card, deportation, getting naturalized, and trying to get citizenship. I play a troubled kid who just came from Korea who’s having a hard time adjusting to life in California. It was a pretty hard role for me, there were some really emotional scenes that were really tough. But, you know, that’s why I became an actor! It’s really fun!
BAE: I know Harrison Ford and Sean Penn were in the movie, but I read somewhere that you never got to work with Harrison Ford face-to-face, is that really true?
JC: Yeah, they had a few storylines [in the movie]. I’m the lead of my storyline and he’s the lead of his so we don’t really come into contact with each other. I have this one scene where Harrison Ford is there but he has something separate going on. The only person I interact with that’s not in my storyline is Cliff Curtis (who’s a wonderful actor).
BAE: I know you were in Disney Channel’s Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior, how was working with Brenda Song?
JC: Brenda’s wonderful! She’s a really cool, down-to-earth person and I really enjoyed working with her. I really like her family and she’s a really cool person.
BAE: Do you have a particular actor that you look up to?
JC: Oh I have a ton of them! Like Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, and of course Johnny Depp, Sean Penn, Daniel Day-Lewis, and yeah I look up to all of those people!
BAE: You were asked by another interviewer about a year ago if you thought it was harder for Asian Americans to get into Hollywood. You said that it definitely is harder, do you still think this is the case?
JC: Yes, I think it still is because the roles are so limited, even with “Twilight,” it’s not specific as to what ethnicity Eric is. You’ve really got to fight for your role. It is harder but it’s nothing to cry about! (laughs) There’s plenty of interesting roles out there for Asian-Americans, you’ve just got to prove yourself and fight for them.
BAE: Do people ever stop you and ask for your autograph when you’re walking down the street?
JC: Once in a while. I mean, it happens sometimes, but not very often.
BAE: I read on your website that you play guitar, piano, violin and the saxophone. Do you have a particular favorite instrument?
JC: I play the guitar the most, but I grew up playing the violin and I played saxophone in the marching band at my high school.
BAE: I’m in marching band too!
JC: Really? Yeah, it was pretty fun, I liked it! It was a lot of work though and people don’t even appreciate you! They don’t know how much work we put into it, but I guess that’s just life (laughs).
BAE: Does being an actor make your life very hectic, do you ever get time to just sit back and relax?
JC: When it gets hectic, it’s really hectic, but when it’s calm, it gets pretty calm with not much going on. I definitely do get time to relax. I went to New York recently to visit some friends, so I do have time to just hang out!
BAE: So what do you like to do when you have free time?
JC: I like to watch movies… that’s a weird one. I also like to surf and play music. I’m kind of a homebody though, I like to stay home and hang out with friends.
BAE: Do you think that you’ll continue acting for the rest of your life?
JC: I love acting and I really want to be able to continue doing that. But I also own a shoe store called Attic. It has two locations, one in Buena Park and one in San Diego, so I’m like a little mini-business man (laughs)! The website is attic2zoo.com.
BAE: Awesome! Thank you so much for your time and good luck with the movie!
JC: Thank you!