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We're Hangin' With.....
by: Lynn B.
Remember that gorgeous blonde nurse hanging out with Kate Beckinsale in Pearl Harbor? She's now a sultry brunette with an altered name. James King, who was in Blow with Johnny Depp and Lone Star State of Mind with Joshua Jackson, plays Jade aka "Bad Girl" in the new actioner Bulletproof Monk. She is now known as "Jaime" and she's not the delicate model from the cosmetic ads and fashion magazines anymore. Jaime takes on a very physical role for the first time (if you don't count running from Japanese planes in "Pearl") and she gave it her all. We spoke to the pretty young actress in L. A. recently and learned that, besides martial arts, she's into surfing and indie rock bands.
AGW: Why the name and hair change?
Jaime: I didn't really change my name. I just wanted to be called by my real name again. James was a nickname that my parents gave me when I was younger and I just felt like, as I got older, Jaime resonated with me more. It was great when I came into a hotel and they'd call me 'Mr. King'. I'd say 'this is James' and they're like 'Jane?', 'no, James, like a boy'. It was always interesting. As for the hair, I thought that it suited the character really well. She's kind of mysterious and elusive and you never know what's she's feeling. I felt the dark hair added toughness to my face. It's hard to pull off being that tough on screen. With light hair I feel a lot lighter.
AGW: What did you like about the character of Jade/Bad Girl?
Jaime: You really never know what she's doing or where she's going. The fact that she's always a bit mysterious. She just seemed the antithesis of everything that I was. When I first went into audition for the movie they were like, 'mmmmm,' you know I didn't think they'd choose me because I'm fair, blond hair, blue eyes, and I think that they were looking for someone a bit more ethnic looking and tougher. I liked the idea of going in there and going for a role that I thought was opposite of the way people had seen me before.
AGW: Were you athletic before doing this film?
Jaime: We did so much training. We trained for up to six hours a day for it. We trained for a month and a half before we actually went up to Canada, and then we trained every day while we were making the film and on our days off. I'm really athletic and I loved the idea of doing something so physically active. When I tested for the movie, we had to do a physical or strength test and I thank God that I've been doing that before because there is no way that I would have been able to do all the wire work and all the Kung-Fu and stuff if I didn't already have a strong base.
AGW: How did the physical audition process go for you?
Jaime: Well it was really funny because I came into a gymnasium and they didn't really tell me what it was I was going to be doing. There's like ten Chinese guys and all these Kung-Fu people and they're like, 'Okay, why don't you just sit down and stretch,' and I'm like, 'Uh, okay,' so I get down on the floor and they started doing all these kicks and all these moves and I would just watch the move and then do my best to integrate it into my body and mimic the move. After they saw I could do the moves, I got the movie.
AGW: Were you ever hurt?
Jaime: I broke my finger but not on set doing Kung Fu. I broke my finger falling down the stairs prior to going to the set and then I had to do a fight scene with Seann [Scott] with a broken finger. We were filming right next to a hospital. So, we'd block a scene, I'd go get my X-rays and go back and shoot the scene and go check out the x-ray and finish the scene.
AGW: Do you still use the martial arts you learned?
Jaime: Not really. I surf a lot and run a lot and other activities but it's nice to know that I've done it and I can use it in the future.
AGW: What kind of music are you listening to now?
Jaime: Kate Joy and a band called Rilo Kiley, a band called The Hot, Hot Heat. A lot of stuff I listen to is stuff my friends sing that may not necessarily be out yet or is indie rock music. I have a lot of musician friends.
AGW: Had you known Seann William Scott before this film?
Jaime: No, we had never met. We didn't meet until the screen test. He's a fun-loving, good guy. It's just such a trip when you've never met someone but you've seen their work before. You kind of feel you know someone through their characters a little bit, and then all of a sudden there you are in a room with them and you're doing a scene with them. You're under this pressure and everyone's watching you, and we just kind of clicked. I don't really know what I was expecting from Seann except I thought that he'd be kind of fun loving and he was.
AGW: Were you training with Seann Scott?
Jaime: Yeah. We got to jump on trampolines, learn flips, learn karate, Kung Fu, Hong Kong street fighting, so much. It was really good because we got to see each other progress. And it's really so much fun being able to see when we first couldn't do something and then we'd be able to do it and we'd be high-fiving each other on set. It was really great to have that support system and see one of your peers do such incredible things and Seann's just amazing. He has this incredible amount of enthusiasm.
AGW: Chow Yun-Fat is a legend. Was it fun working with him?
Jaime: It was really such a great experience. I remember the first time seeing Crouching Tiger [Hidden Dragon]. It seemed like such a magical dream to me, and I wanted to be a part of that, I wanted to be able to create something like that. I saw the femininity and the grace of it and became more attracted to it. When they said that he was doing this film, that was another major reason why I wanted to do it. He's got an incredible lightness about him and he's very practical and efficient on set. He was really generous and grateful to people and super-easygoing. He didn't take himself too seriously. He was a great person to learn from.
AGW: What were the biggest challenges for you?
Jaime: I think the physical challenge of it was probably the toughest. Being on set and having everything change. I really got to learn how to be creative and explore because the choreography would change all the time. You'd get on set and then maybe the environment wasn't large enough to do certain things so we really had to be able to be spontaneous and to have them teach us something and be able to do it there on the spot.
AGW: Do you remember a particularly hard scene?
Jaime: The fight scene with Nina [who plays the real "bad" girl] because we filmed that for about a week for fourteen or fifteen hour days. It's a lot of intensity and energy. I don't have a fighting kind of nature so to hold on to that for that many hours and days was hard. You get really into it. She accidentally knocked me in the eye with the baton. She felt so bad. God knows how many bruises I gave Seann because you get so into these fight scenes.
AGW: Are you signed up for a sequel?
Jaime: The ending leaves an opening but I don't know what's going to happen. I think that it would be fun.
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