Jamie Chung: Packing a Punch

Failure is not an option for this driven actress.

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WWD Accessory issue 04/04/2011

It’s a good thing Jamie Chung, 27, has a promising career in movies. “I’d be an awful temp,” she says. “I look at my friends with office jobs, and I can’t think of anything worse.”

By now, audiences may be familiar with Chung’s visage from numerous billboards and ads for the big-budget movie Sucker Punch. A fantasy-action tale of five young women who escape the reality of confinement in an insane asylum by creating an elaborate escape plan in an alternate universe, the movie stars up-and-comers Abbie Cornish, Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens and Jena Malone.

Even though Chung’s character, Amber, piloted the planes during the action-fantasy sequences, she did the weapons training for two months with her co-stars. “Within one month we’d gotten so ridiculously ripped, we were deadlifting 180 pounds. There was crying at times. There was throwing up. It was pretty gnarly, but it helped build this camaraderie. When you suffer together like that, you celebrate together.”

Director Zack Snyder (300, The Watchmen and the upcoming Superman reboot) says it was all part of his master plan.

“I tortured them all so they could see each other at their most vulnerable. It’s not as hard to imagine the bond these characters have when the actors have been through these real trials.” Chung, he says, “trained just as hard as everybody else. She went strong, and that was cool.” Snyder even added a few scenes just for her, so she could also partake in the shoot-’em-up action.

“Out of all the experiences and friendships I’ve made on set, no other movie can compare. I want it to do well, but I feel like I got the best experience already,” she says.

Chung isn’t one to rest on her laurels, having made three films since wrapping Sucker Punch. Premium Rush, a thriller co-starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon, centers around a New York City bike messenger trying to deliver a package to a human trafficker. Chung plays a Chinese woman trying to smuggle her son into the States, a part for which she had to learn Mandarin. She followed that with Hangover 2, which hits theaters in May and promises the same laugh-out-loud shenanigans as the original comedy.

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