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‘The Interview’ with a Bang

December 16, 2014

Scheduled to make her big-screen debut this Christmas, actress Diana Bang says, “for an Asian female character to be a lead in a big film, it was really important to me that she was both strong and funny.” 

Diana Bang plays Sook in Sony's semi-controversial political comedy "The Inverview." She co-stars alongside Seth Rogen, center, and James Franco. (Courtesy of Sony Pictures)

Diana Bang plays Sook in Sony’s semi-controversial political comedy “The Inverview.” She co-stars alongside Seth Rogen, center, and James Franco. (Courtesy of Sony Pictures)

(Photo Credit: Danaea Li)

(Photo Credit: Danaea Li)

By Brian Han

A day before the premiere of Sony Pictures’ “The Interview,” Diana Bang is perched on the 15th floor of the luxurious Beverly Hills Four Seasons hotel.

“I could get used to this,” the 33-year-old Korean Canadian actress says.

Bang takes on the character of Sook, a vivacious North Korean propaganda minister and right hand woman to Kim Jong-un.

This will be her very first role in a Hollywood blockbuster as a female lead.

“Basically, when the two main characters played by Seth [Rogen] and James [Franco] come to North Korea, I act as their tour guide and let them see only what I want them to see,” Bang says. “Sook is very strong and feisty and I think I have that in me. That’s very much tied to me being small and short and wanting to put up a fight.”

“The Interview” has become a must-see film primarily due to controversies ranging from a company wide hack to a public condemnation from the North Korean dictator himself.

Bang is unfazed by the media swirl though.

“I’m not really a media hound and I feel quite removed since I spend most of my time in Vancouver,” explains Bang. “Maybe I’m just oblivious or ignorant, but I haven’t let it affect me as much as it has others.”

The topic is a bit more sensitive in South Korea and at the moment, no plans exist to screen the film there.

Looking past all of the film’s sociopolitical baggage is Bang’s proud mother who happens to be a South Korean immigrant.

“For my mom, this is a bragging point,” Bang says with a smile. “She’s very proud. She came to the set once and she was wowed. Her face just lit up and she said, ‘This is what you do.’”

(Photo Credit: Danaea Li)

(Photo Credit: Danaea Li)

When asked if there were any reservations about starring in a film centered on such a controversial issue, her answer was mirrored by her bold personality.

“No, not at all,” she responded. “It’s just a very foreign place that not a lot of Westerners know about. I think it allowed for the material to have more freedom.”

Even though the film inevitably relies on using North Korean stereotypes as a source of humor, Bang realizes that the role did allow her to break away from the usually reserved nature of Asian females in American films.

“Honestly, I don’t mind playing softer quiet characters,” Bang said. “For an Asian female character to be a lead in a big film though, it was really important to me that she was both strong and funny.”

 
 

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