Gemma Chan graces the cover of February’s issue of Elle UK, and discusses how the worldwide success of “Crazy Rich Asians” propelled her career to the next level.
“Because ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ did so well internationally, I definitely felt a shift at that time,” she says in the interview. “Like, on the ‘Captain Marvel’ press tour, not being able to walk through an airport [in Singapore]. But then again, I feel like things have settled a bit more now and the slight craziness of that time has gone away. I do feel like I can — touch wood — go about my life normally now.”
“Crazy Rich Asians” also brought the British actress opportunities that hadn’t existed before.
“Before ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, I was not being considered for lead roles in feature films,” Chan explained. There is a very select group of actors and actresses who are in that pool and I wouldn’t even get an audition, I was just not even in that conversation. Whereas now… Well, I’ve been told I am being talked about for certain things and then you may meet the director, or you at least get to have your shot. So that does feel a bit different.”
Chan can currently be seen as part of the all-star cast of Steven Soderbergh’s “Let Them All Talk”, alongside Dianne Wiest, Candice Bergen, and the legendary Meryl Streep.
“Obviously I jumped at the chance. It was just such a dream project,” she says of the film, which was filmed guerrilla-style on a cruise ship.
“A lot of the dialogue was improvised,” she added. “There’s a scene, a lunch in New York with Meryl, which was actually the first scene that I shot. So I arrived on set and the whole restaurant was full of 200 extras, you could hear a pin drop, I went in and sat down, then Meryl came in and sat down, and we just had to improvise a scene. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a clenched bum! I was petrified. There I am, with possibly the greatest actress of all time, and… ‘Action!'”
Chan also shared the wisdom that she’s learned during her years in show business. “Over 10 years, you learn the importance of privacy, what you choose to share and what you don’t,” she said. “When you start out, you don’t even know what is important to keep for yourself — I didn’t anyway, at the beginning, whereas now I think there are certain things that I absolutely know, ‘That’s mine and it’s private.’ For me, my comfort level is to have a clear distinction between what is for me and what I’m happy to talk about.”
The entire interview can be read in the February issue of Elle UK, which goes on sale as of Jan. 7, 2021.