FROM KUNG FU TO COP – LONDON ACTOR JAMIE CHO STARS IN LATEST BRIT FLICK
London-based actor Jamie Cho already has some top film and TV roles under his acting – and martial arts – belt, but now the 31 year old is about to hit the big time with his latest Brit flick.
Starring alongside Stephen Tompkinson in gritty thriller, ‘Harrigan’, set in 1970’s Tyneside where crime is rife, Cho plays rookie uniformed cop Lau, who, like Harrigan is disillusioned with policing. The pair make unlikely allies as they set about trying to rebuild the police’s relationship with the community, with a more ‘hands on’ approach and plenty of action.
Recently trailed at the Cannes Film Festival, Harrigan will premier in Newcastle and London in the Autumn.
Cho is no stranger to being on screen, having had parts in Hollywood blockbusters ‘Tomb Raider 2’, ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘The Dark Knight’. As well as starring in numerous commercials across the world, he has worked on popular UK shows like ‘Law and Order’ and ‘Eastenders.’
His martial arts background (Cho is a British Council for Martial Arts champion) has certainly come in handy for a number of roles he has played, showing off his stunt skills as a qualified Kung Fu and Chi Ke Chaun (a form of Tai Chi) instructor in Eastenders and as a Samoyed in ‘The Golden Compass’.
Before starting work on ‘Harrigan’ Cho starred in Simon Yam’s play ‘Yum Sing’ as part of the Yellow Earth Festival ‘Dim Sum Nights’ in London. The short comedy piece was voted best play of the festival.
He also has a keen interest behind the lens too, honing his skills as a director and photographer, having written and directed the film ‘1 Hour.’
‘Harrigan’ is his first major role in a British movie and he says working alongside Tompkinson was fantastic.
“It was great working so closely with such an established actor on a really gritty, well-written drama.”
With his chiselled good looks and stunt skills, Cho, who is engaged to TV Chef and food author Ching He Huang, is set to become a rising British star following the release of Harrigan and is certainly one to watch out for.
Jamie very kindly took some time out from his very busy schedule to speak to the London look about his latest role and how he keeps up with the latest trends!
- Jamie, with all eyes on the United Kingdom this year, how does it feel to be a part of British cinema in 2012?
It’s feels great! It’s always special to work in your home country and British cinema is some of the best in the world so to be part of it is a privilege.
- You’ve previously had parts in blockbusters like Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, how does working on a British film compare with working in Hollywood?
Comparing big Hollywood studio films to the smaller independent British ones, the main difference is size. Hollywood has way more money so the cast, crew, sets and sfx are way bigger and they can afford to spend a lot of time on each aspect of the film. It’s always exciting to be part of such a big event.
However the British film industry is incredibly well established and professional so even when you’re working on smaller independent productions it’s a great experience. As the cast and crew is smaller you get to know people quickly and there’s usually a joint sense of pulling together to tell the story.
But really whether the budget is big or small the most important thing is the story. You always hope the story is going to be one worth telling and one that really engages the audience.
- Tell us, which actor most inspires you?
Wow there are so many actors that inspire me! But if had to choose one I guess it would be Leonardo Dicaprio. The quality of the films that he’s been in and the realism that he brings to each role is amazing. He’s been able to be extremely successful commercially while still managing to play intriguing characters in great stories. Just look at Inception!
- You’ve worked on so many different jobs in the film industry; do you prefer to be behind the camera or on screen in the limelight?
My main passion will always be acting. The challenge is to bring genuine emotion and therefore realism to the role you’re playing. This is something that will always stimulate my creativity.
However I very much enjoy writing and directing as well. As an actor your job is to play out the director’s vision of the story, so film’s really a director’s medium. As an actor when you get the chance to direct it is incredibly liberating as you now have that creative control. However, with it comes a huge amount of responsibility and work.
Writing is something different altogether, it’s a hugely complex discipline which takes years to master. I’m really just a beginner but I find it a lot of fun.
So if I had to choose one it would be acting, but luckily I don’t have to. One thing they all have in common is that they are all amazing outlets for creativity.
- As a young actor who is increasingly in the limelight, do you feel under pressure to keep up-to-date with trends?
Fashion is a more individual thing for me. Something that can evoke a certain feeling or emotion e.g. confident, happy, empowered etc. I’m not necessarily concerned with keeping up with the latest trends because I can get inspired from a whole range of things.
However I do think fashion is very creative for both the designer and the wearer. Fashion is the expression of a designer’s creativity, essentially wearable art work. This in turn is then taken by the wearer and used creatively to express their personality. Just like art it can be interpreted in many different ways.
- And finally, would you say that the film industry and the world of fashion go hand-in-hand?
Yes definitely, you just have to look at most films to see how important costume is to the feel and believability of the production. I just worked on a film set in the 1970s and the attention to detail from the wardrobe department on the fashion from that era was amazing.
Fashion and how we dress says something about our personality and costume designers on movies use this to visually portray who the character might be. So it’s case of art imitating life.
However the process also works in the reverse as many people including myself have been fashion inspired by movies and the characters in them. I bet the sales of leather jackets went up when James Dean was making movies!