Christine Chang

Christine Chang melds past and present in Prime Video’s The Wedding Hustler

For Christine Chang, art is imitating life. In Prime Video‘s upcoming film The Wedding Hustler, this real-life wedding planner plays a much more Type-A wedding planner—bringing her practical experience to the movie’s more elaborate situations. But the film isn’t just a fun opportunity for Christine; it’s also a chance for her to spread her wings in a not entirely new direction.

I spoke to her ahead of the movie’s streaming debut to talk about playing a character both different and similar to herself, the journey that brought her to the film and a few interesting facts about what it really means to plan a wedding. Get to know Christine further in our interview before The Wedding Hustler‘s big day on Feb. 7.

Brittany Frederick: Had you had even a passing interest in acting before The Wedding Hustler came around? Or was it a complete surprise to end up in the movie?

Christine Chang: Believe it or not, about 10 years ago [when] Jersey Shore was at the top of its game, they tried to make an Asian version of it called K-Town Reality Show…I was on that reality show. E! picked it up and it was supposed to air right after or before the Kardashians. But there was a change-over in [the company]. Whoever it was decided to cut K-Town Reality Show, so it didn’t make it on E! But I have that experience being on a reality show, which is obviously very different from scripted, but I’ve been on-screen before.

BF: Every actor has a different process to prepare for a role. But how do you prepare when you’re not only new to acting, but you’re playing a part that you have real-world experience in?

CC: The base was there. I’m already a wedding planner…It didn’t take much out of me to memorize the script because it’s just normal. However, being able to translate that into actual emotion and being able to figure out how to bring this character which is me but not me to life was very strange. I worked with an acting coach for four to six weeks, where I had to sit down with her like two to three times a week, going over literally every single line of the script and saying okay, what do I feel from this and how do I deliver [it]? Figuring out what what the nuances are like bringing a character to life.

The character in the movie is completely different from who I am as a real wedding planner. She’s a lot more stern. She’s all business. There’s almost like no emotion with her in the in the movie. So I had to learn to take a lot of my giddy attitude of helping couples get married out of the picture and have it more straight-forward. I had to learn that skill, and I did it with the acting coach.

BF: Did that create a surreal element in your head? Like reading the script thinking well, this would never be this way in real life, but it’s not real life?

CC: I did do that. (laughs) When I read the script like, this would never happen in real life. And they’re like, Christine, this is a story. It’s a fictional story. It’s a part of what makes the [movie] unique and different from what your real life is. I had to really get myself out of that mindset, that this is not real life. Even though I am playing this character that’s based off of me, it’s still not me.

Christine Chang
Christine Chang. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of ICON PR.)

BF: So was there a particular scene in The Wedding Hustler where it finally sunk in, or that challenged your acting skills?

CC: There is a scene where I have to play drunk, which I’ve seen drunk me in the reality show, because a lot of [what was] shot was me intoxicated—so I had to reenact what I did from the reality show, but sober. And to me that was a huge challenge because I really had to act. Everything else was like, I’m a wedding planner. It’s something that I could pull out more easily. But that drunk scene, I was like okay, I’m really acting. This is not real life. That was a moment where it kind of clicked to me because that was actually the second or third scene that we shot for the entire movie. And so at the beginning of shooting was when it hit me—you’re doing something out of the norm.

BF: Is there anything about real-life wedding planning that you wish people would know and they don’t? Because weddings usually don’t look like we see them in the movies.

CC: What people don’t really know is, I’m Korean-American living in Los Angeles, and there’s a huge population of Asian-Americans in L.A. getting married every single day. However, what I’m starting to see is we identify ourselves as two things: Asian and American. There’s this gap where we are so westernized because we live in the States that we forget about a lot of the Asian or Eastern roots when it comes to weddings in general. We’re not privy to that information, because we have not grown up in that atmosphere.

I had to learn and I really dove into the history behind what tea ceremonies are, which [are] the Eastern ceremonies for weddings. I bring that to life, and I’m one of the few wedding planners in L.A. who specializes in that. That’s something that I really want people to know—that I am here to help bridge the gap between the different cultures of being Asian and American one of the biggest milestone events that one would have. And I’m super-proud of that.

BF: Obviously you’ve got that successful career working for you. But having gone through the experience of The Wedding Hustler, do you want to continue acting as well?

CC: I want to go into this with my whole heart. I’ve already invested so much time trying to learn the behind the scenes of what it takes to build the craft. It was so challenging, but I loved it…To be given that challenge and for me to come out on the other end where I feel good about it makes me feel like I can do this more, and I’m having a lot of fun doing it. I’m going to be out there auditioning for every single role that may come my way because I love it.

The Wedding Hustler streams Feb. 7 on Prime Video.

Article content is (c)2020-2023 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr and on Instagram at @BFTVGram.

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