“When I see someone like a Harry [Shum, Jr.], I get excited. I think about me as a kid — like, ‘oh my god, I want to be cool like that.’” — Jon M. Chu on Asian role models.
ISSUE: Spring 2011
STORY: Katrina Guevara
Jon M. Chu may be known for directing dance films, namely Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D, but don’t pigeonhole him just yet. The 31-year-old says he’s just a modern fairytale story- teller, whether it be through dance, superhero stories, or an old fashioned boy-meets-girl romance. He even considers his latest film, the 3D musical documentary, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, a modern-day fairytale. “[It’s] about a kid from a small town who follows his dream, has Usher as a mentor, finds his way and is anointed by the king,” says Chu.
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Apparently sitting a few feet away from one of the biggest (and cutest!) Asian American YouTube stars (and by that I’m saying 130,000+ subscribers and 24,000,000+ upload views) wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be, at least not with Jason Chen. I mean, his latest video cover on “Never Say Never” got 50,000+ views in just one day. But still, it’s crazy to believe that I spent two hours eating Taiwanese desserts and chatting with the guy whose songs I put on repeat.
So before I tell you how the interview went over tea and boba drinks, (with two interruptions by fans wanting to take pictures), here’s a quick intro and some fun facts:
How many of you cried at Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never? You ain’t gotta be ashamed. So did we. If you did, it’s all thanks to the talented director Jon Chu who directed the teen mega-star’s documentary and infused it with an extra dose of heart as opposed to cheese. The director has Bieber Fever and a veritable man crush on Glee‘s Harry Shum Jr. (don’t we all?). After this interview, we think we may have a crush on Jon. Featured in Audrey’s Spring 2011 issue, and we’ve got the extras here.
Audrey Magazine: Tell us about a day in the life of Jon M. Chu.
Jon M. Chu: It’s The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers or Never Say Never or Step Up 3D DVD release — it’s all coming in at the same time. So yesterday we wake up at 6 in the morning and work on sound, music and sound effects. And at the same time we’re doing color timing. So I had my editors work on the pictures with color timing and the mix. In the afternoon we switched, and then I came back to the office because I had to do a Twitter conversation online to help promote the Step Up 3D DVD release, which came out yesterday. So we did that or a couple hours. Checked out visual effects. And then we’re meeting about a secret project, and then we had to do a Christmas party, with our white elephant craziness. And I had to recheck the movie last week to see if it’s good to preview. It depends on the day.