Charlet Chung is a Japanese/Korean-American actress known for her roles on truTV’s FAMELESS, Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, and the voice of D.Va from Blizzard Entertainment’s OVERWATCH and Seraph from Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Check out my interview with her from this year’s MOMOCON.
Are there any new projects you have that you can tell us about?
“Heroes of the Storm and StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void was revealed this year, so I feel kind of safe. I am on three additional video games. One is a performance capture, and that’s really exciting. I also have a series regular role on an animation show that will be out in 2018 or 2019. I am also coming out in a Jeffrey Tambor film, as well as featuring in TruTv’s Full Court Pranks.”
What do you nerd out about?
“I love Game of Thrones. Queen Cersei is my spirit animal. My dog is named Joffrey, but with a ‘G,’ so he’s not named after the character. If I met anyone who works on Game of Thrones I would really freak out.”
What is your favorite D.Va skin or event?
“I really like the summer event skin. It’s white, clean and simple. I also like the ‘Happy New Year’ version, because she’s wearing a traditional hanbok.”
What was your inspiration as you were working on the voice for D.Va?
“I didn’t know I was actually auditioning for Blizzard initially. I was told that she was a Korean pop star. I’m half Korean and half Japanese, so had I been born in either country it would have been different, and I probably would have gone the pop star or actor route if I were born in Japan or Korea. So when I did the voice, I just did what I wanted to sound like if I was a Korean pop star you know, to bring out my inner diva, and I didn’t know her name was D.Va. I think the key is to draw on your own inner voice. It’s funny, and it’s completely unofficial, but I’ve given her an anthem, which is ‘Hello Bitches,’ by CL. D.Va has that same bad-assery that the song embodies.”
What was the process like for getting the role on Grace and Frankie?
“That was a smaller role I ended up taking. I had read for the casting director many times over the years. When I got the role I knew that my scene was going to be with the legendary Jane Fonda. I thought to myself, ‘I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to work with such a legend,’ so I took the role and it was a lot of fun. It was also the first time I worked with a female director, which is really sad. I’ve been in show business for eleven years, and it was the first time I worked with a female director. She was a British lady and one of the most skilled and nuanced professionals I have ever worked with. It inspired me to continue to want to take roles with female leadership.”
How did you get into acting?
“I was impersonating my parents’ friends, but I wasn’t necessarily encouraged to do anything about it. I was five years old, and I remember being on a plane. An agent was staring on me throughout the trip, and I didn’t know who she was. I just thought, ‘That’s what adults do.’ About half way through the trip she asked my mom if she was willing to put me into show business, and even at five I knew exactly what that meant. I thought, ‘This was my chance, I’m going to be a star.’ My mom was just like, ‘No,’ and I was devastated. Later, when I was eight, I went in for a commercial and I got it, but my mom was like, ‘This is the only thing you can do.’ It’s funny, because I actually got recast. And so everything kept getting derailed, and I ended up doing everything but acting, ironically. I started taking some acting classes in college, and I knew I really wanted to do this. Somewhere along the line people in my family where like, ‘Why don’t you be a news anchor?’ I worked at FOX, getting up at 3am and shadowing an anchor, and I wasn’t happy. So right out of college I got into some acting classes and just followed my heart, and thus began my career into show business.”
How hard was it to fall out of the stereotype of being Asian in the film industry playing a doctor or an engineer?
“I appreciate that question, but it’s not just that, it’s more like masseuse, nail technician, and housekeeper. Then you go into more of those blue-collar jobs. It’s interesting that it’s tiered like that, but I was coming into the industry as a 20-something playing 14. I didn’t have to deal with a lot of that in the beginning. I set out to be very picky about the work I was going to do. As I grew older there were opportunities to play very one-dimensional, sexy people. I hate to say that, but a lot of times Asian women are very objectified on a greater level, and I never took those roles. I passed on one of those roles last year. I just want to send a message to writers that not all Asian people are on board with that stereotype.”