Precious Chong talks about playing a “tortured soul” in the new dark comedy Homewrecker, currently on release through Uncork’d Entertainment and Dark Star Pictures.
Hi Precious. Where are you based these days? Hi, right now I’m in Toronto.
How have you found it during lockdown there? Not that bad. I’m with my boyfriend and son and we have a backyard so I’m lucky. I’ve also been teaching stand up on zoom a couple times a week which gives me a little structure.
Learn some new skills while stuck inside?
I take ballet classes with my mom’s teacher who’s in Los Angeles. It’s not a new skill but it keeps me sane. I’ve also got Chris Hemsworth workout app Centr. My good friend, Nicole, who’s in Atlanta told me about it. When the quarantine started I had so many big plans but now I’m happy if I workout meditate and write. I’ve also watched a million Murder She Wrote episodes and RuPaul’s Drag Race and I love Unhhhh with Trixie and Katya.
Has 2020 been hard, as an actor and storyteller?
Yes and no. I’ve decided to really use this time to focus on finishing up some scripts that I’ve started and write new ones. My next big goal is to direct a full length feature that I wrote. My son who’s 15 has started getting into film making so the plan is to shoot something over the summer .
Though known for your roles in “Pearl Harbor” and “Falling Water”, not to mention all the wonderful short film work you’ve done, is it fair to say “Homewrecker” is the biggest win of your career so far?
And by ‘known’ you mean, if you look me up on imdb! But I’ll take it. And yes, this is the biggest ‘win’ of my career for sure, it has been a fun, exciting, scary, intimidating, overwhelming, exhilarating process. I’ve written stuff for myself in the past, solo shows and things like that but mostly live performance. On camera, I’d never had this big of a part before.
How did it come about?
Zach and I had been working together on different smaller projects on and off for the past five years or so. He edited a short film I wrote, he shot some of a web series I created with fellow comedian Melissa Story. And I met Alex through him and we had talked about collaborating on something together. She had seen one of the sketches and liked my work. They came to visit me once while I was in Los Angeles and I figured she wanted to meet my dad. Zach was like, no she really likes your work. Zach told me about the idea for Homewrecker and I had my house we could use as the location and Alex was game to come and shoot in Toronto. It was all very quick and dirty. And by that I mean we did the story beats in February and by mid June we were shooting.
How important was getting the casting right here?
Well, to be honest we cast the movie before we wrote it, which I guess is a bit unusual. Even Kris Siddiqi was who Zach had in mind to play Robert. It was all serendipitous.
How well did you get to know Alex Essoe before production, to make sure the ‘chemistry’ was down pat before the shoot?
Not very well, but we had Zach as a mutual friend and we clicked right away. She ended up staying at my house for most of the shoot since it would be easier for her and I had room. We went to H&M together to buy our wardrobe before we started shooting. We also got manicure/pedicures. Once we started shooting it was really fun. Alex is such a great actress. It was a real joy to work with her. We both had to do self tapes (where you audition for things remotely) during the shoot and we helped each other with that. I remember my son who was 13 at the time filming her in my living room while I read lines with her off camera for a couple of auditions. She ended up booking one of them so that was nice bonus.
Tell us about your character.
Oh Linda, she’s a tortured soul but I also relate to her on a lot of levels. I put a lot of my own personal stuff about ageing, regret, loneliness, and betrayal into Linda. It was fun to parody vision boards, self help stuff, 90s music, exercise classes, 80s nostalgia which are all things I’m into. It was fun to make a girly horror movie. Also female dynamics are very complicated and you don’t get to see many movies where it’s two women interacting with each other without men around most of the time. But back to Linda, honestly she was probably a bully in high school. She had this idea of what her life was going to look like and then it didn’t turn out how she expected and she’s mad as hell. But also she’s trying to stay ‘positive’, because she loves Oprah and Brene Brown. Just to clarify, I love all the things that Linda is into as well so it’s not like I’m judging her.
What do you hope audiences get out of the film?
I hope they have fun and get uncomfortable and laugh and be surprised and then tell their friends to watch it and then their friends like a multi level marketing company. And also the 30 Rock quote, “never go with a hippie to a second”. I’m paraphrasing but never go with Linda to a second location.
Homewrecker is on DVD and Digital now.
DC Fanboy! Superman is the greatest comic book character of all time. Favorite movies are Man of Steel, Goonies, Back To the Future