Behind ‘The Interview’ with Diana Bang

by SUEVON LEE | @suevlee

Appearing alongside Randall Park, Seth Rogen and James Franco in Sony Pictures’ comedy The Interview is Diana Bang, a Korean Canadian actress who began her career in improv and sketch comedy with the Vancouver-based Asian American theater troupe Assaulted Fish. A newcomer to the big screen, Bang plays the role of the North Korean leader’s communications officer and liaison to the visiting American journalists, played by Rogen and Franco, who are preparing to interview Kim Jong-un while on an undercover CIA mission to off him.

Bang’s character, a sharp-tongued, artillery-toting bilingual brigadier named Sook, required the actress to learn a North Korean dialect, no small feat given that Bang grew up speaking little Korean at home. “I had to get my mom to help me, my mom enlisted her friends to help me. I asked friends and enlisted as many people as possible,” she tells KoreAm, on preparing her Korean lines.

Bang has a recurring role on the A&E TV series Bates Motel and has appeared in a number of TV movies and miniseries. She describes the process of auditioning for and landing the role of Sook as “a whirlwind,” and her first experience on a big-budget Hollywood production as “surreal.” What surprised her most about working on the film? The sheer level of improvisation. “Seth and James and Randall—they’re all so quick- witted and funny, so trying to keep up with that involved a learning curve,” she says.

“She’s hilarious,” Rogen said of his co-star in a promotional video for the film. “I’m like, two feet taller than she is. She’s such, like, a little powerhouse.”

Evan Goldberg, Rogen’s co-producer and co-director, said, in the same fea- turette, that Bang is “the big surprise score of the film.”

“She is just rolling with the improv just as well as Franco and Seth,” he said.

In high school, Bang took drama classes as an elective and participated in sketch comedy as a college student. While performing with Assaulted Fish, one of Vancouver’s longest running sketch comedy acts, Bang was told she should give acting a try.

“As a kid, I would watch TV and say, ‘I wish I could do that,’” she says. “I was never necessarily encouraged to do it—it was just something there that was a burning desire.” Luckily for fans, Bang is back on the big screen in 2015, appearing in the comedy-drama The Master Cleanse, starring Johnny Galecki and Anjelica Huston. She also has a role in the TV series Paranormal Solutions Inc.

For someone who still makes Vancouver home, Bang takes special note of the fact that many of the background actors for The Interview are Korean in ethnicity.

“I actually thought it was a brilliant idea or premise, and when I read the full script, I thought it was hilarious,” she says. “In terms of how the audience receives it, it’s really up to them. I think in the end, it’s really just a funny comedy in the same vein as Pineapple Express. I think it’s great that it’s featuring Korean leads; it’s nice to see familiar faces up on the screen.”


This article was published in the December/January 2015 issue of KoreAmSubscribe today! To purchase a single issue copy of the December/January issue, click the “Buy Now” button below. (U.S. customers only. Expect delivery in 5-7 business days).