In recent years, we’ve seen Asian Americans break out of stereotypes from films like Harold and Kumar to web series like the K-Town Reality series. Actor Justin Chon’s role as Jeff Chang in the movie “21 And Over” offers the next step in increase the visibility of Asian Americans in non-stereotypical roles. So how did Justin Chon land the lead role for the film. “The old-fashioned way. I auditioned,” he quipped. After sending in an audition tape, Chon was called back a few more times, ultimately leading up to a reading to test his chemistry with Skylar and Miles. The result was fantastic; just what everyone was looking for. “We had instant chemistry,” said Chon. “I mean, right off the bat we were so comfortable with each other and it didn’t take us any time at all to become really good friends… Jon and Scott: they didn’t compromise on the casting. They really made sure that they cast the people right for the job and we had instant chemistry.” For Justin, the opportunity to work with Jon Lucas and Scott Moore added to his excitement. “I was completely floored because they’re great writers and to be in their directorial debut was, you know, totally an honor.”
Your 21st birthday is when you really celebrate and go out with all your friends. This day when America recognizes you as a grownup. You can now do everything you haven’t been able to do. That moment when you first walk into your first bar and you finally don’t feel like you have to lie to get in. Jeff Chang, who is really the primary story, gets himself in trouble as a result of traveling in his father’s footsteps.
In the film, straight-A college student Jeff Chang (JUSTIN CHON of the Twilight Saga) has always done what’s expected of him. But when his two best friends Casey (SKYLAR ASTIN of Pitch Perfect, Wreck-It Ralph) and Miller (MILES TELLER of The Spectacular Now, Project X, Rabbit Hole) surprise him with a visit for his 21st birthday, he decides to do what’s unexpected for a change, even though his critical medical school interview is early the next morning. What was supposed to be one beer becomes one night of chaos, over indulgence and utter debauchery in this outrageous comedy.
Not long ago, Casey, Miller and Jeff Chang were as close as friends could be. Sure, Casey is a bit more buttoned-up compared to Miller’s wild child, with Jeff Chang serving as their foil, studious and ambitious, but that’s why they’re best buddies; they complete each other. Going to different colleges may have put physical distance between them, but they’re still as tight as ever. This trip to Northern Pacific University in Seattle is about attaining newfound glory; the three of them finally being able to party freely in the eyes of the law, unencumbered by the nuisance of fake IDs and bothersome bouncers.
Only problem: Jeff Chang’s overbearing Doctor-father (Francois Chau) has a Med School interview scheduled for 8AM the next morning, and he’s determined his son follows in his footsteps as a physician. Luckily, Miller offers a compromise: only one drink, one single drink. It’s only fair since he and Casey traveled all this way to surprise Jeff Chang, and they’ll even have him back by midnight. Certainly sounds reasonable enough, until that one drink turns into many.
Barhopping for Jeff Chang’s birthday is quickly becoming a night for the ages, complete with copious shots and mechanical-bull rides. Even Casey loosens up enough to hit it off with Jeff Chang’s friend Nicole (SARAH WRIGHT of TV’s Parks and Recreation), a smoking hot coed. It’s as though nothing can go wrong! That is, until Jeff Chang starts blacking out and it’s time to take him home. Naturally, this should spell the end of the evening, only Miller and Casey are in unfamiliar territory; they have no idea where Jeff Chang lives!
With the hours till Jeff Chang’s crucial interview ticking away, Casey and Miller embark on an epic quest to put their drunken friend to bed. Along their journey, they draw the ire of a Latina sorority, the NPU mascot, an angry buffalo, and Randy (JONATHAN KELTZ of Breach), Nicole’s cheerleader boyfriend. But when their friendship is called into question, that turns out to be the biggest test of them all.
The mystery’s as much about getting Jeff Chang home as it is learning about what’s happened to Jeff Chang since the guys have been living away from each other. Part of the inspiration for the movie character-wise, was this idea that dudes have great friends that they only talk to maybe once a year.
Before you judge this film, watch it. channelAPA.com saw similar reactions about the K-Town Reality Show before one piece of footage was even released. What’s great about the character Jeff Chang is he is the core of the movie, but he is definitely passed out through a lot of it, and you have to learn about him through the guys uncovering information and clues from different individuals they meet along the way as to what’s going on with him. Who is our friend? What happened to him? Where did this guy go wrong? You’re peeling away an onion the whole time. It’s an interesting way of telling a character’s story by discovering things through his friends. If you watch the film and don’t like it, that’s fine and least give the movie a shot before you judge.
channelAPA.com’s 21 And Over interview with Justin Chon
More about Justin Chon
Justin Chon will next be seen in the feature film, From the Rough playing opposite Oscar nominees, Taraji P. Henson and Michael Clarke Duncan. Also coming up are roles in Detention of the Dead, Hang Loose, Rock Jocks, Innocent Blood and in the title role of the dramatic festival short, Jin. Chon is known world-wide by film audiences for his role as Eric Yorkie in Twilight, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. In 2009, he had a supporting lead role in the Weinstein Company feature film, Crossing Over. The film, directed by Wayne Kramer, also stars Harrison Ford, Ray Liota and Ashley Judd. This busy actor was also seen in the feature film comedy, Balls Out: The Gary Houseman Story opposite Sean William Scott. In addition, Chon had another starring role in the comedy/horror film, Hack. TV fans remember Chon as a series regular starring on Nickelodeon’s Just Jordan and from the Disney Channel as one of the stars of Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior. Born and raised in Southern California, Chon’s parents migrated from South Korea where his father was a well-known television and film actor and his mother was an accomplished pianist. A typical Californian, he grew up on the beach while surfing, skateboarding, playing tennis and hitting the golf course. This multitalented actor also plays the guitar, piano, violin and the saxophone.