Interview: Justin Chon from “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”
Interview: Justin Chon from “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”

The Massie Twins recently had a chance to sit down with Justin Chon – one of the stars from “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” – who portrays the Forks, Washington High School regular Eric Yorkie, to discuss his involvement with the record-breaking vampire/werewolf saga.

The Massie Twins: So how is Phoenix treating you?

Justin Chon: Dude, Phoenix is amazing. I didn’t realize how many beautiful women resided in Phoenix.

MT: That’s what ASU is known for.

JC: I was blown away walking down old town yesterday. I think I might have to move here. (laughs)

MT: We know you’re on a publicity tour, so what are the odds of us asking you a question you haven’t already heard before?

JC: (laughs) I’m hoping.

MT: How was the L.A. premiere?

JC: It was insane – there were thousands of people there. It’s a different kind of noise when 100 people scream and when 1000 people scream. You can feel the vibrations and the dust moving on the ground. It’s weird. I’m just grateful. Not very many people get to experience something like that in their lifetime and I got to, so it’s beyond my wildest dreams.

MT: I guess I’ll ask my generic question: How did you get involved with the Twilight series to begin with?

JC: I auditioned like any other movie. I’m definitely an auditioning actor – I don’t get offered roles. I auditioned my ass off, maybe 5 or 6 times, and it was during the writer’s strike, so we had improv auditions as well, where they’d put two of us together to improv for chemistry. It was pretty nerve-wracking. I heard Kristen Stewart was attached as well as Catherine Hardwicke, and I loved Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown so I really wanted to be a part of it.

MT: Were you already familiar with the Twilight novels?

JC: I had heard of them but wasn’t a diehard fan or anything. After I got the part I went and read the books.

MT: Were you always interested in being an actor?

JC: I went to business school at USC, but halfway through I enrolled in an acting program. It always interested me, but it just didn’t seem like a viable option. In the 80’s there were no Asian actors except for martial arts stars. It didn’t seem reasonable to be an actor. It was a big leap of faith.

MT: Your father was an actor, wasn’t he?

JC: Yeah, but in South Korea. He’s always trying to give me acting notes. (laughs) He tries to be specific and tells me to be natural. I’m like, “leave me alone!” (laughs) I took my dad to the premiere and he was lecturing me the whole time.

MT: (laughs) Did he critique your performance after the film?

JC: Yeah!

MT: What’s the transition been like from one director to the next over the course of the three films?

JC: People work differently. For me, it kind of sucks. For the first movie we were there for the whole two months, but for the second and third one, we were only there for 2-3 weeks. Once you get used to the directing style, then it’s over. It’s tough, but it’s also really cool because you get to work with a lot of cool people over the course of a few years. It’s been fun.

MT: What aspect of your character do you most closely associate with in real life?

JC: I’d like to think I’m cooler than Eric. I connect with him because we’re both just trying to find a place in the world. He’s overachieving, energetic and always trying a little too hard. We’re both a little unsure of everything, and as you get older in life, you become even more unsure of everything. (laughs) It just gets worse!

MT: Do you have any crazy stories about fans going wild?

JC: I saw this girl here in Arizona who had all the Twilight posters tattooed on her body. And she was saving room for the last movie poster – but now that it’s being divided into two movies… Maybe for the last movie she’ll have a huge mural done across her belly.

MT: What do you think about the last film being broken up?

JC: I think it’s a great idea. It’s the longest book and there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be taken care of and it wouldn’t do it justice if it was all crammed into one movie. It would be too jumbled. Especially for the fans, they want to see everything. Bill Condon’s directing and I really think he’ll take it to the next level.

MT: Another new director! So tell us something we don’t know about Anna Kendrick.

JC: She’s amazingly beautiful, witty, funny, but something you might not know about her…

MT: Something juicy!

JC: (laughs) Do I want to say these things? I don’t want her to be mad at me. She does this thing with her hair when she’s bored. She keeps pulling, touching and rearranging the strands of hair falling in front of her face, and she could just keep going forever. I don’t know what she’s doing with that, but she’s a really awesome individual.

MT: Do you get an opportunity to hang out with your costars outside of the set?

JC: Mostly just with the humans. With Rob and Kristen it was more during the first movie, but now they’re so overworked. This last movie I hung out with Mike the most.

MT: So are you on Team Edward or Team Jacob?

JC: Team Jacob. He’s the underdog and he’s sort of like a dog – a wolf (laughs). He wants her so bad but she just keeps putting him down.

MT: When the movie comes out theatrically, will you go see it with general audiences?

JC: Actually, I know that throughout my lifetime I’m going to see it a lot, so I think I’m going to hold off. Now the first Twilight is on Showtime and I see it all the time.

MT: If we wanted to be in the next Twilight film, could you hook us up?

JC: I wish I could. I wish I could hook myself up and write more scenes for myself (laughs). Unfortunately I don’t have those kinds of connections.

MT: You said your father is constantly giving you advice on acting. Do you have advice for other aspiring actors?

JC: Yes. It’s definitely a craft, and like football, those players dedicate their lives toward that, and being in film and television, you also have to be a professional and learn the craft. Go to acting school, read the books, and also watch the greats – the people that came before you. Study what they’ve done. If you ask a baseball player what Babe Ruth’s batting average was, they’re going to know. It’s the same thing with acting – you have to know about the history and the greats that came before you. I think that’s what a lot of young people are missing these days. They see people like Miley Cyrus who sing, act, dance, and that’s not the norm. You have to pick one thing and get a lot of training.

MT: Is there an Asian actor out there now that you look up to?

JC: It’s not like he does the most profound work, but Ken Jeong. I really respect him, even though so many people give him shit for The Hangover for playing a really stereotypical dramatization of a Chinese guy, but he has balls. Literally (laughs). He’s breaking the mold and is now part of the Apatow crew and I can see him being the lead in his own movie. And he’s a doctor! To give that up and take a huge risk is pretty amazing. And also John Cho (Harold and Kumar, Star Trek) because he’s broken boundaries as well. The guy who hasn’t gotten enough credit, and could have had a great career but decided to go to Hawaii and become a farmer, is Jason Scott Lee. He was a leading man.

MT: We loved Disney’s live action The Jungle Book!

JC: He was brilliant.

MT: For our last question, we wanted to ask about Ktown Cowboys.

JC: (laughs) Oh my god! That was a favor to a friend. He said it was going to be a web series and I looked at the script and said “OK. You want me to be the villain? How much liberty do I have with this?” And he said to do whatever I liked. I got the basic gist of the scenes and decided to go crazy. I can’t believe how many people know about that! I thought it was just a pet project, but I got messages from people in Taiwan talking about it! I get recognized more for Ktown Cowboys recently than Twilight. People love that thing!