LOS ANGELES — It’s not easy being human. Particularly if you’re in a “Twilight” movie and everyone around you is a vampire or a werewolf.
Nevertheless, solid supporting actors like Michael Welch, Anna Kendrick and Christian Serratos have watched their careers blossom over the past year, maximizing small amounts of screen time with endearing, largely improvised dialogue. Now, with “New Moon” about to hit theaters, 28-year-old Justin Chon is ready to steal scenes again alongside his non-bloodsucking buddies — and, with a role in the eye-popping Web short “Turbo,” bring some humanity back to Hollywood.
Recently, we caught up with Justin to talk about “New Moon” and “Eclipse,” Eric’s relationship with Angela and why it’s time to call “game over” on big-budget video game movies.
MTV: Thanks for speaking with us, Justin.
Justin Chon: No, it’s greatly appreciated. At least for us human beings. [Laughs.] Because, ya know, we get put in the shadows a lot of times.
MTV: The human beings don’t get enough love.
Chon: Yeah, we don’t. We don’t get nearly as much love as we’d like.
MTV: For a low-budget student film, I was amazed at how “Turbo” looks so much better than movies like “Dragonball” or “Street Fighter,” which had 20 times the budget.
Chon: Yeah, [writer/director Jarrett Lee Conaway] did it with such a shoestring budget, I can’t even believe he pulled it off.
MTV: What does Jarrett know that some of these mainstream game-to-movie directors don’t?
Chon: Well, I’m not gonna name names. I think with these people it’s a paycheck, or it’s just maybe for their stature, and it’s not necessarily because they love the genre. When you love something, you’re gonna be the best at it. And when you’re just kind of doing it for other reasons, a lot of times it ends up being sh–.
MTV: Have you already shot all of your “Eclipse” scenes at this point?
Chon: Yeah, I’m done. It’s been a great ride, and I think the second movie’s gonna be great. Chris Weitz did an amazing job.
MTV: I know you guys improv-ed a lot in the first “Twilight” film. Did you come up with any good ones for “Eclipse”?
Chon: I’m gonna be pretty honest; there wasn’t a lot of improv allowed on “Eclipse.”
MTV: Was there more on “New Moon”?
Chon: I would say, in order: Catherine [Hardwicke] allowed the most improv, Chris still allowed some, but definitely not as much as Catherine. And with David [Slade], zero.
MTV: So, the humans stuck pretty close to the book this time. How about you and Christian Serratos? What can we look forward to seeing in Angela and Eric’s blossoming romance?
Chon: We tried to spend a lot of time together [on set to prepare]; I don’t think their relationship is lovey-dovey, where I’m kissing her all the time. It’s [Eric’s] first relationship, so I don’t even know how to do it — we’re both awkward people, so it consisted of her hitting me a lot. It’s that kind of relationship that’s very awkward, like she’ll tell me to shut up when I’ll say, ‘I love you!’ And her term of affection is punching me in the arm or something.
MTV: What else have you got coming up?
Chon: Just wrapping up the whole “Twilight” thing. I’m really excited, because it’s been two-and-a-half years since we started this whole “Twilight” franchise, and now I’m really excited to get back out there, expand my horizons and get back to trying out new things and working on new projects. I’m really excited for the new pilot season, and hopefully there’s something really interesting in store for me.