Even though Kristin Kreuk's Street Fighter origins story is a realistic approach to the beloved video game, that didn't stop her and Michael Duncan from recreating the game, costumes and all, on their own time.
We got a chance to talk to the delightful Kristin Kreuk about starring in the action-packed video game adaption and origins story Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li. Kreuk spilled about recreating a true-to-the video-game spoof clip with some cast-mates, challenged those that said she's too tiny to be Chun-Li's leg and explained why you won't be hearing her say "yup yup" in this film - but who knows, maybe in the sequel?
Were you nervous taking on this beloved character? Although, surely you've dealt with fan expectations before?
I think the reason I decided to take this character was because of the Spiritual arc of the script, even though in the movie you see her street fighting, for me that was what was appealing, and I thought it was a way to encourage people, in our own little way, to do that in their own lives.
So, when taking on the character, I didn't think of it as "Millions, millions and millions of people love her," but I did go, "Do I want to do another one of these characters?" Because I've done so many, and I know what it's like. I know that people are going to hate me as the choice, and I know that people are going to love me as the choice and I know that it's going to be split. And I don't know how game fans are, but I know how comic-book fans are. So I know how it's so brutal and so amazing at the same time. And I get that, so at least I'm versed in it.
Whenever we write about you and Chun-Li, people always bring up the difference in body types between you and the video game character. Although, I don't really know anyone who's that size. And she is a video game character, after all. Is that hard for you hearing [criticisms about your body type] when you're making a realistic translation of the game?
I actually can't think of any Asian women that fit that body figure - maybe some halfies - but nope, not even close. And it's funny, because my proportions are... Well, I'm small, which is totally fine with me. I think it's more important to have a believable character than somebody who fits what the physical is. It's sort of like going outside in, instead of inside out. And I think inside out is more important.
This is a pretty tormented character. How did you try and understand who Chun-Li is, and did you explore any of the past Street Fighter mythology?
Well I think some of the mythology is there, and Justin [the screenwriter] was on set and I drilled him, because I signed on about a week or two before I left for Thailand. So the character, she's one of those crazy characters with a perfect childhood, which is funny because I'm familiar with this character. She has this wonderful childhood and these great parents who are encouraging of her. And at a very important age, her father is taken away, right in front of her eyes by this really horrible man, and she doesn't know how to deal with that.
And I think there's a shift in her at that point, and she becomes a little angrier and a little wanting things to be different. I honestly think that her mother kills herself after that experience. I mean she dies from cancer, but I think that was a part of why her mom left as well. I mean, I made all this stuff up in my head. But really, her arc is learning to let go not only of her physical attachments but more importantly her emotional attachments as well. Losing her family was so important to her, but [she's] understanding that getting revenge won't change what happened, and that her anger did not make anything better. By doing, that she was blinding herself. When we're driven by emotion, our filters are on.
In the end of the movie, Chun-Li kind of blows off the possible set up for a sequel, does that mean you won't be involved in a possible sequel?
I have no idea what will happen, if they do a sequel, they're going to do whatever they're going to do. I'm signed on, so if they want me I am obligated to be there. But apart from that, it's all up to the producers.
So you have a contract for multiple Street Fighter movies?
I believe it's only one more. I believe so.
So I noticed you did the spinning kick.. but I didn't see the other special moves for your character, or any yup-yupping?
[Laughs] No, there's not going to be any yupping - "Yup yup." It would have been odd. It would have been unintentionally funny. We did some choreography with the side kicks at one point. But we ran out of time to shoot it.
Who was your favorite character to fight with, because you tackle everyone really?
It was fun fighting with Neal [McDonough who plays the evil Bison] because he's such a good fighter and our fight is much more hand-to-hand combat, which I think is more fun than the wire work. The fight with Taboo, who's Vega, was more wire-work-oriented, and he and I didn't fight too much. It was mostly me and his double, or he and my double.
Did you at any point consider putting on the costume and having some fun, I mean no one is in the Street Fighter-wear on set. But just for kicks?
We were actually reading what was online and everyone was saying, "This isn't realistic, it's not like the game." So we thought, we should do something that's just like the game, that would be hilarious. So what we actually did, and I don't know where this footage is. We bought gloves for Michael [Duncan, who plays Balrog], who is the loveliest man. We thought it would be really funny if Chun-Li and Balrog had a fight on the street in the style of Street Fighter, where you fight on a straight line. And we did it! We filmed the whole thing. I wore an Asian mandarin collar, I put my hair in the buns, we went out to the pool and we shot it with the temple in the backdrop by the hotel. And he's in short shorts and the whole kit and caboodle. I do the side kick and I say "spinning bird kick" and we did the whole thing. It's somewhere, I don't know where it is. What we wanted to do is put in all of the power bars and all of the video FX, it was all planned.
So to change gears for a quick second, if Smallville gets another season will you guest star again?
If they go, I don't know. I think that the character is pretty much done, unless it's really necessary, I think that it might...I just think that the show has changed so much that it would be weird to have Lana come back and be all super powered.
Did you get irritated as an actress that after you left, they started hinting at your bigger destiny on the show.
That's a funny question. I've never been asked that before. I haven't thought about it. After I left, I left. It would have been nice to have that development for Lana, not necessarily with superpowers. I would have loved to played her growth earlier.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li will be in theaters on February 27th.