While swiping supporting roles alongside Hollywood hulks, Jamie Chung has avoided the plague of reality show fame. Now the Real World alum is ready for her giant leap
Jamie Chung’s known to duel with adversaries twice her size. In the feudal martial arts flick The Man With the Iron Fists, the Korean-American seductress goes pound for pound with gold-digging Chinese clans and faces off with WWE’s Dave Bautista. “I have a fight sequence with Brass Body,” says Chung, who plays the cunning sidepiece to RZA in his directorial debut. “He’s a giant and extremely intimidating, but a total sweetheart in real life.” Her prior on-screen opponents: A fire-wielding dragon in Sucker Punch and a slasher in Sorority Row. It’s this fondness for haphazard role-play that’s earned the ex-Real World: San Diego castmate prime screen estate in box-office draws (The Hangover II, Premium Rush). Here, Chung pumps her fists to RZA’s talents and bucks the Kardashian template.
VIBE: Were you a Wu-Tang enthusiast before working with RZA on Iron Fists?
Jamie Chung: Of course! I grew up in San Francisco, and had friends who had the Wu-Tang Clan symbol tattooed on their arm. RZA was so Zen and nurturing on set. He was kind of nervous in the intimate kissing scenes. [But directing is] something he wanted to do his entire life and he finally got to have all the creative freedom that the studio gave him.
Is he a good kisser?
He is! He’s got great lips.
Why should fans spend their cream on this film?
It’s like 36 Chambers of Shaolin, but with an urban twist and a lot of comedy. The plot is: the emperor needs to move a large sum of gold to a northern province; it’s a power struggle between different clans that want to steal it. The music is insane and what kills it is the fight choreography. It’s definitely gory.
Are we talking Kill Bill level imagery?
There are certain parts I had to turn away from because there was too much blood. It’s like a two-hour fun ride, but it goes by so quickly.
You also got to work with Lucy Liu.
I was kind of star struck to be honest, but she’s down to earth. The first time I met her, she was in a hoodie, jeans and wearing glasses—so unassuming, mellow and not a drop of makeup. Fucking gorgeous. Watching her perform and be so professional, turning it on so easily, it was really fun.
Kim Kardashian is the queenpin of reality fare. Is she a business model?
Kim’s a savvy businesswoman, but I’m not really in it for that type of attention. I want to continue to play different characters. That’s where the joy is—being a storyteller. I don’t know if I can do what she does.
If there were a role that compromised your morals, would you snatch it?
I wouldn’t show my tits just to show them or say I was in a threesome with Channing Tatum for quick popularity. As long as the material’s good, I would never say never.