“I personally care about all of the topics that get brought up in the film,” divulges “Downsizing” star Hong Chau during our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above), “but I’ve never seen anybody do it in a way that felt entertaining, as well as meaningful and intelligent.” Directed by Alexander Payne, this Paramount Pictures release centers on an ordinary man (Matt Damon) who decides to improve his life by shrinking himself in an effort to save the planet from overpopulation and climate change. Chau plays Ngoc Lan Chan, a Vietnamese activist who is shrunk by the government against her will.
Although Ngoc Lan Tran scores a lot of big laughs from her heavy accent and prosthetic leg, Chau worked hard to make her more than just a broad stereotype. “I think with comedy in general, characters tend to be heightened, but the only way for comedy to also work is for it to feel real and for it to feel grounded in some way,” Chau explains. “So that was the challenge with the character… to be grounded but to also be a little bit larger than life and comedic.”
Chau’s family immigrated to the United States from Vietnam shortly after she was born. Raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, she attended Boston University to major in film studies. After catching the acting bug, she received roles in “Treme,” “A to Z,” “Big Little Lies,” and Paul Thomas Anderson‘s “Inherent Vice” (2014).
“Downsizing” opens on December 22. The film also stars Christoph Waltz, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis, Udo Kier, and Rolf Lassgård.
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