Back in November of 2010, The Mag got the chance to speak with SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD creator Bryan Lee O’Malley and Knives Chau actress Ellen Wong! After publishing it on the old version of themagazine.ca, we thought we’d pull the interview out of the vault.
Here’s what O’Malley and Wong had to say when SCOTT PILGRIM was just released on DVD/Blu-ray…
Is there anything specifically that you’re really excited about in the Blu-ray bonus features that people will get to see?
Bryan: Bloopers! No seriously, there were some hilarious flaws.
Ellen: I haven’t had a chance yet to check out the features on the Blu ray yet, but I’m really stoked about even seeing the “Making of” documentary.
B: We lived through it, so it’s kind of like having your own home movies for everyone to see. It’s kind of awesome.
You guys have been traveling around, trying to promote the movie, to Comic-con, etc. What’s it like meeting your fans?
E: I think, being at Comic con, it was just like a great way to start off our press tour, and that’s where we started it all off as well. To have all the SCOTT PILGRIM fans there, it was just an amazing experience because everyone was there for the same reason: for the love of the material. It was great to just be able to be in their presence and to feel the excitement for it, and it got all of us excited for it too! It’s SCOTT PILGRIM the comics, and the film, it’s a refreshing, original story, it’s a grounded story that’s set in a fantastical world, so it’s fun and it’s – for me, it was my first time reading a comic book, so I was totally drawn to it. It’s opened up a new world for me so go check out SCOTT PILGRIM, and read them, and go watch the movie, buy the Blu ray, and play the video game!
B: I’ve been at it, doing the comics for 6 years, so gradually the audience keeps growing and it’s always been really sweet. You see some comic people, or whatever people, getting really upset about their fans and like, I’ve always had just the nicest people come up to me. The debut of the film was at Comic Con and there was like, 1200 people, packed house, and the whole cast we all sat down and watched it together for the first time. Then we showed it the next two nights and I think almost everyone came back. The cast came back and watched it again, which is, I think that’s kind of rare and every one was just so blown away. We all walked out of there in a daze, like the movie is really intense and amazing, and hilarious as well.
Ellen, you had martial arts prior to the role, what was it like training with everybody? Did you ever accidentally kick anyone in the head or anything?
E: No, I never kicked anyone in the head, maybe other areas, but not the head! The fight training was a lot of fun because that’s actually the first time we all met each other, like the entire cast, even some of the crew, and it was just a great way for us to get to know one another and develop friendships before shooting the film. What better way to get to know someone than to put you two in a ring and fight? It was really cool because we also got to learn other types of martial arts, like I was introduced to various other things that I had never touched on before, like wire work…
B: Sword fighting…
E: Yeah! Sword fighting, duh, right. It was just an exciting time, it was cool, and if anything, it just opened up a new world for me because it made me realize how much more I really want to continue to pursue martial arts.
B: She was famous for being, like, so gung ho in the training. They had nicknames for [her], “Ellenator” was one of them.
E: I did really love training, it was the best part… one of the best parts….[
Director Edgar Wright also described you as a “sweetfaced young lady being a secret badass,” how do you feel about that?
E: I don’t know. Is that good or bad?
B: It’s good!
E: Um, I don’t know, I think that that’s Knives as well. That phrase actually in itself epitomizes us because I think we all have a badass in us, but what’s cool about Knives character is her ability to show all of those feelings, like she in uninhibited. And unlike all the other characters in the series, she’s the only one that hasn’t been tainted by the real world yet. She’s the one living in the most honest way, and so that’s one of the reasons why I was so drawn to her character, because she was refreshing.
You’ve always maintained in past interviews that Knives isn’t crazy, rather she’s just passionate and genuine.
B: Ya, she goes from being totally innocent, kind of a super geek to for a while, then she turns into an action hero,
How did you go about approaching the character in a “not crazy” way?
E: I didn’t even really think of crazy! I just embraced those emotions the way that she did, so, I think hopefully that that’s how it was conveyed.
What were you like when you were 17? Would you say that’s what you were like?
E: Definetly! I think there’s a Knives in all of us. There’s a point in our lives when we find something that we really love and we zone in on it, and might obsess over it, and for me it was just knowing that I wanted to get into this industry, you know? Obsessing over that and doing anything and everything that I could to pursue this and in a way, that’s kind of like Knives.
Why the name Knives?
B: It’s hard to explain, um… I guess the one story that I knew a guy who, when he broke up with his girlfriend she pulled a knife on him, so that’s part of it! I don’t know, there are so many elements to the character and to her name, I mostly just thought it was funny at some point, it’s also badass. I like the fact that in the movie, no one comments on the fact that her name is Knives, they’re more interested in the fact that she’s Asian, or whatever.
Bryan, you said you were in awe after you watched the movie, was it a strange transition to go from writing the comic to seeing it in front of you?
B: Yeah, but you know, I was also there every step of the way, I was part of the process so it wasn’t like, jarring, but definitely seeing it all put together was mind blowing.
So what’s next for SCOTT PILGRIM? Is the series done?
B: The series is done yes, I’m moving on to new pastures. Can’t say any yet!
Bryan was summoned for another interview, but Ellen Wong stuck around to answer a few more questions!
What was your favourite Knives look? Did you like the short hair or the long hair?
E: Oh, that’s a hard question! You know, I don’t know if I have just one favourite look. I think all of her different looks are all very crucial to her as a character too, because I feel like her look on the outside was also paralleling her both on the inside, you know? She was almost wearing her emotions, and you see the change physically as well as emotionally so, I don’t know, I feel like each look is very special in its own way so I don’t really feel like there’s one that I love more than the other. They portray her in a way that they’re all needed to be there.
How has playing Knives changed your life? How has the transition been?
E: Getting to work on SCOTT PILGRIM was an amazing experience because I got to work with a really great cast and with Edgar Wright, Michael Bacall, Bryan Lee O'Malley, they were always there, and the producers, everyone at UNIVERSAL, I learned a lot at that time in my life going through the filming process, and even now going through the press, if anything, being so close with Knives, I feel like she has taught me to really go after things that you love, and to have the courage to really go for it, and I feel like if anything, she’s given me that confidence to continue pursuing my dream!
What was it like working with Michael Cera?
E: It was an amazing time working with Michael Cera, and the entire cast. Michael is so funny, just sincere, genuine, and he just really created a comfortable working environment for us all there, and he is a really really great actor, so I learned a lot from him. You get to see all of that, there’s a lot of the behind the scenes stuff, a lot of making of stuff, and it’s all on the Blu-ray as well! Everything that I’ve mentioned, you can check it out on the Blu-ray and there’s a really awesome “making of” thing, and you get to check out the music videos – aside from just the stunts, fighting and all that stuff, music was a really huge thing for the film too. It inspired every one of the characters, which was a big deal for the film. So yeah, go check it out!
Thank you Ellen Wong and Bryan Lee O’Malley!