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Exclusive Interview: April 2009

As you may know, I had the chance to talk to Emmy via telephone on March 29, 2009. Right before we got off the phone, I asked her if she would mind answering some of the questions that I didn’t get to ask her – ones submitted by fans and some from myself. She kindly agreed and said she would. She’ll be doing these in batches, so here’s the first batch.

You stated that you worked with U.S. Marines to get into character for Bulma. Did you enjoy the experience? (asked by Ryan)
It was an incredibly exciting experience to be around the Marines. It was surprising that a lot of these boys are not any older than I am, and they are incredibly brave and respectful. It was a humbling opportunity to be able to train with them. I went into this experience having never had any kind of combat training before I grew up singing and dancing, so firing a rifle and being believably tough was a challenge for me. I got to go to the shooting range and got a lot of practice. The first time I fired the shot-gun, the kick-back was so strong I was knocked on my butt! But I got right back up, laughing at myself, and I got the hang of it. I liked that even though the character was a weapons expert, she’s not an aggressor, she wouldn’t want to fire on someone unless she was in distress.

In Dragonball Evolution, you play a pretty tough chick. I’d love to see you play a really effective villain in a movie. Are you interested in playing a villain? If so, what kind? (asked by John Kelly)
I’ve always admired what Ed Norton did in Primal Fear. Playing that kind of mult-dimensional unexpected villain is appealing to me.

Who’s your favorite character in Dragonball? (asked by Kati)
I watched the cartoon of DBZ when I was a kid and I always got a kick out of Roshi. But I admired Goku’s heroism the most.

I read that you played video games with other cast members during breaks whilst filming Dragonball Evolution. Who was the best player? (asked by Kaitlin)
Chatwin was definitely the best. He kicked all of our butts.

It seems, from your various posts on Twitter, that you have become close with Jamie Chung. Did you get close to any of the other actors while on set? What did you guys do for fun while out on location? (asked by armondo22)
We mostly had to spend our downtime training or in the gym, but when we had a day off we’d catch up on our favorite tv shows that we’d missed or buy box sets and watch all the episodes back to back. And I’d try to get her to cheat with me and indulge in gelato (there was a great gelato place around the corner from where we were staying) even though we were on strict protein diets to muscle-up for our characters. Life is too short not to eat dessert!

Dragonball Evolution is a fantasy film, where characters have magical powers. If you could have a magical power, what would it be and why? (asked by John Kelly)
I think I�d like to be able to hear other people’s thoughts so I could know what they were really feeling and thinking. I definitely wouldn’t want to go into the future because I’m a very in-the-moment kind of person.

Can you share some behind-the-scenes Dragonball Evolution secrets? How did it feel to be an action star in this movie? (asked by Faith)
I was very excited to be able to work with Chow Yun Fat. I was and am a big admirer of his work on films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and his films with John Woo. I was very nervous to meet him, as I felt I was so new to this action genre and he was such a master. But he was so warm and kind and welcoming, he made me and Justin and Jamie feel so comfortable. He was really a big practical joker, too. Our first week of shooting, he convinced me that he was a vegetarian; that’s how he gets his focus to do all of his stunts, he told me. So, out of respect, I decided I was going to be vegetarian on set, in front of him. So for lunch I got a big heaping plate of broccoli and sat down in the catering tent, only to look over and see him at the next table, happily eating a big juicy steak! He started to laugh and said, I got you!

How did you hear about Dragonball Evolution? Did you receive an invitation to work in the film or did the studio approach you? (asked by Lucas)
I heard about the film, and remembered the character from the tv show I’d watched as a kid. I read the script, was really excited about the opportunity to play a tougher chick like Bulma and I auditioned for our director James Wong.

I want to be an actress, but I’m so shy and I am trying to break out of it. I’m going to the ninth grade and I went to audition for GT drama but I didn’t make it and I cried like some had passed away. Could you give me some advice on not caring about what other people think? (asked by Kynnedi)
That’s awful. I’m so sorry that you were upset; the reaction that you had is a natural and understandable one. When you get rejected for a role, or by someone you like or a friend, it’s the same feeling, and even though it’s hard, I’d say TRY not to take it to heart. It’s an unfortunate part of auditioning, we don’t always get everything we put our hearts into, and it can be upsetting and hurtful. But I think we learn and grow and become more proficient artists every time we try something new and challenging and different, and even if you don’t get the part, sometimes that stretch is beneficial in and of itself. My advice would be to keep your head up, know who you are inside and to believe that if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. We can’t control the outcome and that can be frustrating, but we can do our best and ‘leave it there’ and know that we did all we could. One day, you WILL get the part, and it’ll be that much sweeter!

Emmy, I have an important question. I am going to be in L.A. from Aug. 1-9 at a Film Student’s workshop on the UCLA campus. Assuming I have some time to visit some places in L.A. at night, where should I go that wouldn’t be too expensive and not too far away from the UCLA campus? (asked by John Kelly)
Check out The Groundlings, they do fun comedy sketches that are pretty affordable. And also there’s an outdoor market on Fairfax on Sundays that has cool vintage-y things that’s fun to walk around. Also, Swinger’s diner is great, make sure to get a “black and white” milkshake!

After being in The Phantom of the Opera, and doing your own music, is there a musical dream role you would die for if it were being made into a movie? (asked by Melissa)
I love the film Camille, which is loosely based on Traviata. I think it would be amazing to do a musical of Camille with some classic Traviata music.

Is there somebody you would love to work with? (asked by Almi)
I really admire Sophia Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ang Lee, Christopher Guest, Jodie Foster, Russell Crow, Eric Bana, Helen Mirren.

Is there somebody who inspires you? (asked by Almi)
Different things inspire me everyday, but working with the women at the Susan G Komen foundation was really enlightening and inspiring. Seeing how they come together to help each other, seeing the passion with which they fight to find a cure, those experiences really make me value my ability to raise awareness. And it reminds me to value my health and my family every day.

What do you do in your free time? (asked by Almi)
I love to travel, learn different skills, and to be creative in new ways. I love to dance, bike, and swim. I’m very outdoorsy and I love to read. There’s nothing better than a great book on a Sunday afternoon.

Interviewed & Written by Brooke