’21 & Over’ star Justin Chon on playing with Asian stereotypes

Justin Chon, the star of "21 & Over," in a bar and teddy bear Credit: John Johnson
Justin Chon, the star of “21 & Over,” in a bar and teddy bear
Credit: John Johnson

When actor Justin Chon sits down for our interview, he’s coughing and looking a little worse for the wear. “I’m good,” he insists. “I’m hungover, but I’m good.” Promoting a film like “21 & Over” — about his college student character’s 21st birthday getting out of control, from the writers of “the Hangover” — can come with its own risks, apparently. But it’s all part of the job.

Between being carried around, dropped out windows, Tasered and having a teddy bear glued to your crotch, you’re taking the brunt of the abuse in this film.
Yeah. My performance is very much a physical comedic performance, and f–k, man. I’m taking a lot of abuse. I mean, my head got hit on doors, I’m getting thrown everywhere. The worst was [the scene where] we were in a Smart Car, and I had to be [squashed onto] the f–king dashboard. To get in like that, I had to twist my neck around. And I’m claustrophobic, so that was the worst.

You also had to do a very painful penis gag, something a staple for the “Hangover” guys.
Well, I’m grateful. At least they didn’t give me a tiny pee-pee. They were like, “Rest assured, we made you well-endowed.” I looked at it and I was like, “Whoa. I don’t know if my d–k is that skin-tone, but cool.”

How are you at drinking games in real life?
I’ve played them. But I’d much rather just drink, just get to the point. I don’t need games. I guess it’s just a way of getting people who don’t want to drink to drink, but for me I’ve always been willing. So I’ll just get myself drunk. It shouldn’t be a punishment. It’s a pleasure, it’s part of being human. It’s part of why we’re alive.

Have you seen this movie with an audience yet?
Yeah, I saw a screening with an audience, but I mean, people who go to test screenings, sometimes it’s tough to tell because they’re willingly kind of going. So I want to see it with an audience who paid money. Because if they’re not laughing, we’re f–ked.

A lot of the humor relating to you being Asian-American in this movie seems to be at your expense. Was there anything you thought went too far?
No, and that’s what I love about Jon [Lucas] and Scott [Moore]. When we did our first rehearsal, they sat me down and asked me if anything was too far or if anything rubbed me the wrong way. But no, I thought everything was great. I mean, you’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself. And I think people who take themselves too seriously is just ridiculous. I didn’t feel like there was a lot at the expense of my race. And I’ve gotten some s–t already from people who haven’t seen the movie. And I’m like, “Dude, lighten up, bro. It’s funny.” I’ve read some of the message boards and they’re like, “Great, another stereotype.” Dude, this [character] is against the grain. He sucks at school and he likes to party. He’s an animal. So I don’t think that’s very stereotypical to me. I’m like, “Dude, watch the f–king movie before you say anything,” you know? I’m proud of it. As an Asian-American I think it’s a great role, and I fought hard to get it.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Lesbians, men most likely…

Lesbians, men most likely to achieve orgasm Location: U.S. Study subjects: 2,850 people Results: Whether you find it shocking or not, a new study reports that…

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.