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Lynn Chen Discusses Her Role in "Saving Face"


Lynn Chen stars in Saving Face

Lynn Chen stars in "Saving Face"

© Sony Pictures Classics
Lynn Chen on the Asian Culture in America: “When I grew up my parents were really trying to be more traditional. They came from Taiwan and so they tried to raise me in a way that they thought would tie more into the traditions of Taiwan. Then as I grew up they realized that they weren’t going to be able to do that in America. And my brother sort of broke them in first. As we grew up we sort of Americanized them. There’s still a lot of ties but we’ve definitely grown past a lot of issues that we had when I was younger.”

On Relating to Her Character in "Saving Face:" “I think one of the things I related to was that whole thing of the character, she grew up in that [culture] but she got away and so did her mother. And while she still has respect for the Asian culture and she’s proud, she also sees what’s wrong with it. She takes and chooses the parts that she wants to hold onto. She lives her life the other way and that’s pretty similar to me.

I think that a lot of my parents’ relatives are going to be very shocked when they find out that I’m naked in this film. That’s something that I was really nervous about because my mom has told me from a very young age, ‘Don’t take off your clothes,’ so that was ingrained in me. I think that part of that was, ‘What are my friends going to think about me having a daughter who I let get naked on TV or in the movies? What are they going to think of me?’ I was really nervous to tell her but when I finally did, I think she’d grown past that. There are definitely going to be people in my family who see it and are going to be thinking what kind of mother lets her daughter do that? But I’m proud of how it was shot. I don’t really have a problem with it. They can say what they want.”

Lynn Chen on the Necessity of Nudity in “Saving Face: “First I approached Alice [Wu] when I was first cast, I knew there was nudity and I said to her, ‘Is there anyway we can not do nudity? My mom’s going to kill me.’ And she was like rolling her eyes and she was like, ‘Listen. I don’t want to make this like a cookie cutter love scene. I don’t want you to be like trying to get the sheets up and I don’t want for it not to feel organic and for it not to feel like you’re sharing a moment with these two people.’ I think that’s really important to really show two women having sex in a way that’s not lustful. Because I feel like a lot of the lesbian scenes that I’ve seen are filled with passion and lust. Not to say that this was a passionless scene, but it was very tender and sweet and I think more indicative of what a relationship love scene would be like. I didn’t really have a problem with it and I thought it was done in a very tasteful way. I never felt uncomfortable with it, about actually doing it when it came time to de-robe and do it.”

Researching Her Role as a Lesbian: “Not much actual research. I was a Women’s Studies major in college so I had done a lot of gender studies and a lot of gay and lesbian studies, had a lot of gay friends, and I’ve always been drawn to the gay and lesbian culture. I think it’s really interesting that a lot of people don’t accept something I find to be so normal. I was really comfortable with the subject matter and just drew from my experience and people who I knew. I just basically looked at it like falling in love, as you do anyone. It was also very helpful that Michelle [Krusiec] was the woman because she had never done a love scene with a woman before and I had never done a love scene period. So for it to be both of us going through this together it felt really comfortable and we really communicated. It wasn’t awkward at all.”

Balancing the Comedy and Drama of "Saving Face:" “I think my character, for the most part, is the sort of emotional part of it so it’s a little bit more dramatic. But there’s so many funny moments in the film that just arrive out of circumstance and really reflect what life is like. They’re little things, so just keeping it natural and just letting the comedy shine through in circumstances that are reflective of real life. I think that’s just how we approached it.”

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