Produced in association with Marvel Television and set in the X-Men universe, the Fox drama series The Gifted follows Reed and Caitlin Strucker (played by Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker), whose ordinary lives are suddenly turned upside down when they learn that their teenage children (played by Natalie Alyn Lind and Percy Hynes White) possess mutant powers. Forced to go on the run from a government that’s hostile toward mutants, the family seeks help from an underground network and realize that they must rely on each other and fight to survive.
During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, actress Jamie Chung (who plays the mutant Blink) talked about her approach to her audition, how intimidating it is to take on a character that people know and love, the parallels between the mutant story and what we’re going through in society today, Blink’s look, and how weird it is to work with the special effects. She also talked about how excited she is to be reprising her role as Go-Go for the Big Hero 6 TV series on Disney XD.
Collider: When you read this script, was there just no way that you’d let such a cool character get passed you?
JAMIE CHUNG: There have been so many times where I’ve gotten so close to playing a really rad superhero. I’m sure a lot of actors and actresses have that story, but you get so heartbroken that when another one comes around, you’re like, “I’m not gonna put all my eggs in one basket. I’m just gonna go in and do it.” For this, it was just one of those things. You never know how a show is gonna end up. You tell yourself not to lose your shit because you want to play it cool and act like you don’t care. I tried to do that because I’ve been heartbroken so many times, and it totally worked to my advantage because that’s the character they wanted. They wanted someone who’s grown up in a time of discrimination of a particular group of people, someone who’s been bullied, someone who has thick skin, someone who doesn’t give a fuck, and someone who doesn’t feel they need to be a part of a group because they’ve been about self-preservation their entire life. That’s the mentality they wanted, and that’s what I played. I was like, “I’m not gonna get my heart broken again. Fuck you! Here’s my version of her.” And it totally worked!
Did you ever get to a point where you just weren’t going to let anyone else get this role?
CHUNG: No, not at all! It was like, “Fuck it! If you want someone else, great. If you want me, let’s do this.” And I’m never that confident. Usually, I’m like, “I hope they like me! I hope they pick me!” This was just a different thing. I was like, “If it’s my thing, it’s my thing. If not, whatever!” It’s intimidating, auditioning for a role and going in with a “fuck you” attitude, and then meeting someone as nice as (showrunner) Matt Nix, who’s giving you any amount of information that you need or want, in order to better the character and the project, and it’s so collaborative. When you go in originally, you don’t know if you’re gonna get it. You just do your thing, and if it works, it works. But he was engaging, and I felt like I really had a shot at it. I immediately liked him. We were having a artistic and creative conversation about how to bring this version of Blink to life, and it was so cool. It was exciting. And then, I got to the test and saw Bryan Singer and Lauren Shuler Donner, who are two of the biggest big-wigs of the X-Men universe, and I was trying not to freak out, literally.
After such a great pilot script, were you even more nervous about getting and reading the script for Episode 2?
CHUNG: You would think that, but I got Episode 102, and it was just as good as the pilot. It’s always nice when a network, as well as a studio, has your back and really wants it to succeed. I’ve been on shows where they’re like, “We’ll see what happens.” When they don’t have your back on a show, it’s the worst feeling ever. That energy trickles down to the cast and crew. You can feel when it’s not gonna be a winner. But when you have the support of the network and the studio, it’s a really good feeling.