It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong is ostensibly a film about the romance between Ruby, an Chinese-American toy designer played by Jamie Chung, and Josh, an American expat played by Bryan Greenberg (who happens to be Chung’s husband). But it’s clear from the start that the movie is an ode to a third party: beautiful Hong Kong itself. The film is the directorial debut of Emily Ting, a Chinese-American with family ties to Hong Kong, and has been screened at over 20 film festivals.
We chatted with Jamie Chung to talk about her favourite spots in Hong Kong, working with her husband and co-star Bryan Greenberg, and growing up Korean-American.
1. Obvious question: What did you think of Hong Kong when you were filming here? Do you think you could ever live here?
It was my first time in Hong Kong, which worked for the story because it was Ruby’s first time in Hong Kong as well. It was fun to play the tourist. Hong Kong truly is the city where East meets West. It’s eclectic, full of buzzing energy and stunning. I can see myself living there.
2. What was your favourite location to film at?
I loved the narrow streets lined with shops. Antique Street [Hollywood Road] and Peel Street I believe. It was fun filming downhill – it was challenging getting back up the hill after 10 takes.
3. Was there a part or aspect of the city that you liked but that wasn’t shown in the film?
The art and food scene is filled with hip, successful, young entrepreneurs. I wish we showed more of their establishments like Yardbird or Little Bao. Hong Kong is also filled with great nature hikes, like Dragon’s Back. It didn’t fit into our storyline but would have been nice to show. What a view!
4. As a Korean-American, how did you find it playing a Chinese-American?
Ruby’s character had a bit of a disconnect with her culture. She didn’t speak Cantonese and it was her first time visiting Hong Kong. Ruby is a first generation Chinese-American, and similarly I’m a first-generation Korean-American. So I related to her struggles, growing up in the States having to find a balance between the culture of our parents as well as the American culture. I grew up in San Francisco and the majority of my friends are Chinese-American, specifically from Hong Kong. So it wasn’t really a culture shock when I got to Hong Kong.
5. What were the best and worst things about working with your husband?
I respect him so much as an artist. He is my partner in crime and the perfect scene partner. We worked really well together. Always trying to elevate each others’ performance. ANDDDD we’re still together! Working with your significant other can either make or break you. I’m happy it was the former.
The hardest part about working with someone you know so well is “unknowing” them. For the beginning of the movie we had to meet for the first time and throughout the movie we had to continuously discover new things about each other through our characters. To help with this dilemma, I thought it would be a great idea to have separate hotel rooms for the duration of the movie. I think it helped! I’m sure Bryan has a different opinion about that one.
Watch It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong at AMC Pacific Place until April 25 (more info). Tickets cost HKD110.