I take it that the character wasn’t originally written for an actor of Asian descent.
When I went out for the role, my agents and managers warned me: “Don’t get your hopes up, it’s a period piece, we don’t know if he’s going to go in this direction.”
Right, because it’s set in the ’50s.
Yeah, but when I went to Zack and I tried to tell him the back story of my character, he was like, “Jamie, it doesn’t matter. It’s not about the race or anything—all that matters is that the character works.” You have elements that reflect the essence of the character that he wrote about—he was open. He’s a pretty cool guy.
We changed our flights so we could leave first thing in the morning. I was like, 'I better get this part.'
How would you characterize Zack’s style of directing?
Well, as you may already know, he is a fucking genius.
Yes. We are aware.
I mean, who knows what’s going on in that man’s mind? He’s just so creative, and the things that he does are just so visually stunning and groundbreaking. 300 is the first of its kind and Watchmen stayed true to the comic book, like he wanted. But he was so limited with what he could do with Watchmen because he wanted to keep it so true. With Sucker Punch, this is his original script that he co-wrote, and it’s its own beast. He knew exactly what he wanted out of it and how far to take it. It’s gonna be spectacular. It’s gonna be fantastic.
The buzz for Sucker Punch has certainly been intense. What’s your take on the hype?
I think it’s one of those movies where you really have to pay attention. It’s just like Inception—there are just so many different layers and after the first time you’ve seen it, you have to watch it again. And I feel like there’s lots of symbolism. It’s one of those movies that film geeks will study. And I was one of them in high school, you know.
We’re just disappointed that we won’t get to see the movie in IMAX 3D.
Man, Sucker Punch doesn’t need no IMAX 3D.
We’ll take your word on that. Now, from one super-hyped film to another: How did you get the part in The Hangover Part II?
I was vacationing last summer with my boyfriend in the Philippines—it took over 24 hours to travel there—and we were a day into the vacation when I got a phone call from my manager, like, “You need to come back to L.A.” I said, “You’re fucking kidding me, I just got here. What the hell for?” Then, she said, “It’s The Hangover Part II.” We spent that entire day changing our flights so we could fly out first thing in the morning.
What was going through your head on the plane back?
“I better fucking get this part.” [Laughs.] No, I was hoping to get the part ’cause I knew it was filming in Thailand, so I could fly my boyfriend out to make up for the lost trip.
That’s sweet. How did your meeting with Todd Phillips go?
It went really well. He only had me do it once, and I was like, “That’s it?” Our meeting was only five minutes. [Laughs.] I walked out feeling like, Oh wow, I wish there was something else I could do. Then, he brought me to a table read to meet all the other cast members and the other producers, and that was really intimidating. It went well, but his whole thing was that I looked too young to be Stu’s [Ed Helms] fiancée. But then, ultimately, after a couple of weeks, he picked me. So that was pretty awesome.
When I first read that you were playing Stu’s love interest, and that the film is set in Thailand, I was thinking, Oh no, I hope she’s not…
A ladyboy. No, I’m not a ladyboy. [Laughs.]
Or a mail-order bride.
No, it’s legit. Lauren is Thai-American, grew up in the States, went to a good school. Her father is wealthy and owns a resort back in Thailand, so they decided to have the wedding there because most of her side of the family is in Thailand.
How was it shooting out there?
Thailand is beautiful. We got to do all the touristy stuff—snorkeling, rock climbing—and we took a boat out to Phi Phi and Phuket.
Plus, all those ladyboys.
Yeah, you know, I didn’t see…actually, I did see a lot. But what’s fantastic is how society is a lot more accepting of it. It’s because Thailand is 95% Buddhist, and the Buddhist philosophy is pretty accepting.
Speaking of acceptance, how do you feel about Mel Gibson’s cameo being pulled from the movie?
Yeah, I know nothing about that. I’ve read the same websites that you did, probably. Same thing about Bill Clinton. I know nothing about that, either. I just hear all these rumors.
Damn, so no juicy stories about Bill Clinton, like, palming your butt?
Oh man, we’re buddies. We were drinking whiskey at this bar…
…And he was hitting on you, and then…
No, no, no. [Laughs.]
That’s cool, your secrets are safe with us.
WATCH JAMIE'S BEHIND-THE-SCENES VIDEO:
ADDITIONAL CREDITS: (STYLING) Kelly McCabe. (HAIR) Scott Cunha. (MAKEUP) Karan Mitchell. (PROP STYLING) Eddie Walker. COVER IMAGE: Top by Herve Leger / metal cuffs by Robert Lee Morris / shoes by Rock & Republic. FIRST IMAGE: Shirt by Obesity and Speed / swimsuit by Zimmerman / bracelets by Lia Sophia / metal cuffs by Robert Lee Morris. SECOND IMAGE: (Left) Top by BCBG Generation / swimsuit by Mara Hoffman; (Right) Top by Zimmerman / pants by Reiss. THIRD AND SIXTH IMAGES: Top by Herve Leger / metal cuffs by Robert Lee Morris.