You may know him as the Asian dude from Twilight. But the Internet knows him as Justin Chon: YouTube regular with his numerous videos, and now, Hollywood leading man.
Already trademarked with messy hair and a cheeky smile, Chon has his own YouTube channel and is often seen in numerous videos with comedian KevJumba and web superstars Wong Fu Productions, to name a few. He is now starring in the movie 21 and Over, and we had a chance to chat with Chon about life in the big leagues, Mexican parties and tranvestites.
ESQUIRE MALAYSIA: Acting. How did that start?
JUSTIN CHON: It started when I was studying business at the University of Southern California (USC). After I finished my freshman internship, I decided that I didn’t want to work in a cubicle for my entire life and so I decided to take an acting class. Who knew that it would kick-start a career of playing transvestites and drunks? [laughs]
ESQ: The biggest difference between mega-Hollywood films and indie videos?
JC: The scale of production is really different. Basically, the bigger the film, the better you eat.
ESQ: 21 and Over is about a guy who gets drunk, parties and is knocked out. We're sure you've had similar experiences.
JC: I love to drink, so yes. And crazy s**t happens to me all the time. I’ve woken up in all kinds of crazy places--bus benches, sidewalks… once I even passed out on Hollywood Boulevard.
ESQ: What were you like at 21?
JC: When I was 21, I was absolutely insane! I could never sit still and my energy was through the roof. If I could go back and talk to my 21-year-old self I would tell him: sit the hell down and read a book, you dummy.
ESQ: How similar are you to Jeff Chang in 21 and Over?
JC: I'm very different. I love to enjoy a glass of wine while sitting next to a fireplace and listening to Dave Matthews band. [note: we couldn't tell if he was being serious or if he was joking]
ESQ: Are you the one who's always getting your friends into trouble?
JC: I would say that I've gotten my friends into extreme situations on numerous occasions. This one time, I was in Mexico, and we got into a random person's car because he said he knew a great place where we could party. We ended up driving 40 minutes to this bar in the middle of nowhere. I thought we were all going to die, but we ended partying with a bunch of local people and had an amazing night.
ESQ: Is it still tough for Asians to make it in Hollywood?
JC: It’s definitely hard for Asians to make it in Hollywood, but you can't dwell on that. You have to stay focused on why you’re doing it. You have to love acting so much that it doesn't matter whether you’re acting in a basement or on the big screen.
ESQ: What’s next?
JC: I wrote and directed a movie over the summer called Man-Up with KevJumba from YouTube. We're going to release it this summer. I'm really excited about it, so keep an eye out for it. The Justin-Kev duo is coming for you