“The Hangover Part III” opens in theaters today and fans of Ken Jeong’s character Chow should be very happy to find he has returned for the final film in the franchise and he’s got a major role in all the drama.
BOSSIP had an opportunity to see “The Hangover Part III” prior to it opening in theaters and we have to say the true star of this film is Ken Jeong, aka Chow — the nefarious drug addled con artist who has been a big source of laughs for the franchise ever since popping out of the “Wolf Pack’s” trunk bucky nekkid in the original movie.
BOSSIP had a chance to interview Jeong about his role in the latest film check out some excerpts below:
On Taking It All Off For “The Hangover” Films:
KJ: When I read the first script where I’m in the trunk, initially I was wearing pants, but it just made sense to me that he would be nekked. When I asked Todd if we could do it that way he said yes. He didn’t want me to change my mind. That was his concern. You know most directors, when you say “nekked,” “Can I do this nekked?” “What are you talking about? Get out. Just get out. Don’t even talk to me anymore for the rest of the shoot.” But Todd was so…it was kismet, because I think Todd, deep down, was probably thinking of that, but would never ask an actor, you know, especially a guy who was just only in the movie for like 4 minutes, ever to do that. That’s a lot to ask. But for the actor to like, volunteer that and know that this is fitting the tone of the movie…And I think from there, Todd and I just bonded on this kind of like…I mean, deep down inside, there’s this kind of love of chaos that – you know, I like Pesci in ‘Goodfellas.’ There’s something like chaotic and completely funny about that. Like in the second movie, I would watch Pesci a lot. I would actually be in my trailer watching Pesci in ‘Goodfellas’ a lot in the second movie. So there’s a shared sensibility of a love of mayhem and things spiraling out of control that I actually do respond to, comedically. Everything else since then just comes organically. I’m not like “Todd, I think it would be great for the fans if we –“ No. That doesn’t happen at all. All of that is like story-telling at this point. Even if ‘Community’ was R-Rated on HBO, I would never in a million years do that as Chang. There’s no way. I would refuse because it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t, at all.
On Taking On A “Stereotypical” Accent For The Role Of Chow:
KJ: Let me tell you a secret about the business, man: every Asian actor has auditioned for a role that required an accent. That’s just kind of the system you guys designed. So, safe to say – and I’m a doctor, I’m not an idiot. I know what I’m doing. And when it comes to stereotypes, if you talk comedy, Chow is a meta-joke on a stereotype. I mean, why do you call a guy Black Doug? Just call him Doug. There’s so many tropes that you’re puncturing without – you’re not doing it on a ‘Community’-type level where you’re not like, being that academic about it. But you’re doing it definitely on a subversive level, especially with Zach and his brand of comedy. When you’re falling – you know, when Zach’s falling out of a car – you know my favorite scene in all three movies is “Haha! Fat guy fall down. Funny.” It’s just a meta-joke. It’s just like Ahmed, it’s just like anybody else. So you’ve got the Asian guy mocking that stereotype mocking the fat guy mocking that stereotype, there’s so many levels. Me and Zach, we bonded over that in the first movie, because that was an ad-lib of mine. It was an ad-lib, and it just kinda – it totally validated that character for me. And trust me, I’ve done several movies where I’ve never had an accent and they’re truly more offensive to me, because those parts were boring and they sucked. And it was like I can’t do anything with this character, the director doesn’t know what to do with me, and it doesn’t matter if it has an accent or not, it just sucks. I’d rather do something that’s amazing and be remembered and have an impact than do something that’s by-the-book and suck.
On Chow’s Most Quoted Lines:
KJ: Toodaloo Motherf**ka. All the time. Toodaloo Motherf**ka is always, like, once a week. I was at a Wells Fargo ATM and a middle aged White dude in a convertible, just staring at me for the longest time, and as he drives away he says “Toodaloo Motherf**ka!” And I’ve said this on talk shows before, but what I haven’t said is that that happened three months ago with a new – with a different white guy, a different convertible, yelling “Toodaloo Motherf**ka” again. Same ATM! I’m like “What the fawk is this? Groundhog’s Day meets Wells Fargo?”
On His Flying Scene In “The Hangover Part III”
KJ: Yeah. Well, those were incredible stunt doubles. I have nothing to do with that. Except, well there’s close-ups where I am suspended 40 feet in the air and I’m uncomfortable in a real parachute harness in pain, saying “I Love Co****e” or whatever. That is me – I’m not sitting in a Lay-Z-Boy with my latte and a green screen “I Love Co****e.” You gotta sell it. You gotta sell the metal. And I have a massive fear of heights. Like, legit. I’m the kind of guy that cries at roller-coasters and ferris wheels. And I worked with Jack Gill, the stunt coordinator for H3, he was the stunt coordinator for Tom Cruise’s “Mission Impossible 4.” He found a way to desensitize me. I worked with him for 6 weeks. So I’d work on Community and every Friday I’d go to Warner’s and be in a harness 10 feet above the air and the next week 15 feet, 20 feet and then learn how to move on that because I was scared. But that was the greatest day of my life, where I do a 30-foot freefall drop with hundreds of gallons of water falling behind my back, and then I gotta act? I mean, that was the greatest moment of my acting career because I was able to kind of conquer that fear – legit fear of heights. He cured me, kind of. And that was a personal triumph for me. Whether people know it or not.
Photo Credit: Warner Brothers