With featured roles in Sucker Punch and The Hangover Part II, Jamie Chung has officially arrived. It seems Hollywood has found its new Wonder Woman.
This feature originally appeared in Complex's February/March 2011 issue.
Measuring fame can be tricky these days. The Situation banters over bottle service with Leo DiCaprio; Teen Moms (© MTV) smile dumbly on magazine covers. Clearly, popularity as a commodity is at an all-time high. Still, there remains a big gap between reality-show infamy and actual Hollywood respect—we may not know what a “celebrity” is anymore, but we can surely separate talent from mere notoriety.
For Jamie Chung, alum of The Real World: San Diego, that gap is about to disappear for good. In the seven years since appearing on (and retaining her dignity during) the show, the fledgling star has steadily built an acting career with assorted TV and film roles, culminating in what promises to be a huge 2011: She’s an integral part of the badass girl gang in Zack Snyder’s crazy action-fantasy epic Sucker Punch, and she plays Stu’s fiancée in May’s The Hangover Part II. With apologies to Jacinda Barrett (and you, too, The Miz), we think Jamie is about to achieve the most fame—you know, the good kind—of anybody who’s been on The Real World, or maybe any reality show, ever. To commemorate her big year, we sat with the 27-year-old actress to talk about female bonding, ladyboys in Thailand, and what may or may not have happened with Bill Clinton.
During our photo shoot, I heard people on set complimenting your back dimples. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Most girls like to say that they’re a guy’s girl, but I am a girl’s girl.
And we started discussing if a proper term exists for back dimples.
I’ll Google it right now. [Laughs.] On Wikipedia, they call it the “dimples of Venus.”
Well, we were all complimenting you on your dimples of Venus.
Oh, why thank you. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard it. It’s a very nice compliment.
Do you think you’re in the best shape of your life?
No, not really. Why? [Laughs.]
Well, because of all the training you had to do for Sucker Punch.
I think while I was filming I was the strongest I’ve ever been. It was the crazy training regimen that they put us through.
What were some of the things they had you do?
We had ex-Navy Seals train us, and they were the same trainers for the actors in 300 and V for Vendetta. So, it was back to basics—kettle-bell training, tire pulls, push-ups, deadlifts, pull-ups. Things I feel like have been around forever, but that girls tend to not do at the gym anymore. It was pretty hardcore. We did all the same workouts that the boys did.
Did you get along well with the other girls in the Sucker Punch cast? Be honest.
Oh yeah, definitely. Like, I was really nervous going into it.
I bet your sorority background came in handy, no?
Most girls like to say that they’re a guy’s girl, but I am a fucking girl’s girl.
What do you mean, a “guy’s girl”?
Like, “I can’t hang out with girls.”
I don’t think you can really trust girls like that, actually.
No, you can’t. But for girl’s girls, it’s easy to get along with girls. It was a fantastic time. And I think Zack and [Punch producer] Debbie Snyder were obviously worried about that, because the only way the movie’s going to work is if those bonds and friendships translated onto the screen. So, they brought us all out to Vancouver two months before we started shooting and put us through that intense training regimen. We spent a lot of time together, and that was our bonding exercise.
What was the audition for Sucker Punch like?
There was a screening process with the cast and directors, and then I went in to meet with Zack. Originally, the part I went out for was Vanessa Hudgens’ role.
Which is the “bad” girl, right?
It’s this character called Blondie, yeah. And Vanessa got the part. I was devastated. It felt like I broke up with a boyfriend. But then, a month later, three girls dropped out because of scheduling conflicts, and lucky for me, I got the part of Amber. So I was really fortunate.
Tell us about your character.
She’s the glue to the group, and even throughout all the different fantasy worlds, she still carries on this character trait of being the one that’s down to keep the girls together. Amber is basically a fiercely loyal friend to all the girls.