The Eternal Engine keeps on rolling! This past Sunday, TNT’s re-imagining of Snowpiercer made it’s hotly anticipated debut. And while on the show the passengers of the circumnavigating locomotive might seem to be constantly at war with one another, in reality, all the actors that contribute their talents to the series couldn’t be more humble and close to one another. In addition to being able to speak with Jaylin Fletcher early last week, The Nerds of Color was also fortunate enough to chat with Snowpiercer star, Susan Park, who plays the train’s chef, Jinju, to discuss her role, the show’s themes, and the magnificent chemistry with her co-stars.
NOC: Congratulations on the show! It’s a lot of fun, and it’s going to be an amazing success. You’ve even already been greenlit for Season 2!
Susan: Thank you!
So one of the things I wanted to ask is this — I’m a big foodie. And your character has some amazing scenes with food preparation. There’s an episode where you are making sashimi and it looks amazing! Did you have to do any culinary training for the role, and did you ever get hungry at all while making these scenes?
You know what, I did! They were so great about giving me certain types of training. I got some breathing lessons and diving training as well [for a few of the underwater scenes on the show] to go underwater and stay underwater as long as possible. And I got some training from a sushi chef in Vancouver. And we spent a couple of days and he told me how to scoop the rice up with your hands, and how to make that perfect. It’s been a while, and I’d find myself with rice in my hair by the end of the day! And [he also told me] how to cut the sashimi right. How to place it on there. And these people train for years. So I tried my best, but it was a lot of fun!
You had me fooled! I would have thought you’d have been doing that for years! Are you applying this at home now that you’ve learned it?
No, I haven’t made my own sushi at home. I don’t quite trust myself yet. I’m a huge fan of sushi though.
If I could get a bit serious, as The Nerds of Color, we want to shed light on underrepresented voices. And the beautiful thing is your character, not only serves as a representative for Asians on the show, but you’re also co-representing the LGBTQ community as well. How do you feel about Jinju being a character that’s able to represent both diversity groups on a mainstream show? And how did that influence your decision to take the part?
I love Jinju as a character as a whole. And I find that my stance on LGBTQ and on being a person of color myself, is that at the end of the day we’re more alike than different. We’re just human beings. These don’t define who she is, but they’re part of her. And so it just became layers of her character. And the show is really great about exploring her relationship with Till. And I just think she’s a special character. And I was so proud to represent all those aspects. I think the show in general does a really great job at including everybody. It is a post-apocalyptic train that has the inclusion of the entire world.
Thank you for contributing to that. In the same vein, when you got involved with the show, were you surprised to see that it took a different direction from Bong Joon-Ho’s original film, and how do you think it’s able to capture the spirit of the film, while retaining its own identity?
I think as with anything, you take the original idea — which started as a comic — and you have to make it your own story. Snowpiercer has its own house, in which it’s created from. And then you just go with the flow. You just have to trust the creator, and the directors, and writers, and do everything possible to bring it justice to what they bring you.
You and Mickey Sumner have some beautiful scenes. Did you guys get to know each other or coordinate before filming to achieve the level of chemistry that exists between you both?
You know, Mickey is so awesome, just in person. You can’t help but love her from the get-go. And we actually filmed the pilot a year before we filmed the rest of the show. And that was really lucky because during that time we got to know each other as friends. And so when we got back on set to film the rest of it, we were so much more comfortable with each other. It was really easy going. And she just makes the best scene partner. It felt really just lovely.
If I can ask one final question — Have they given you any hints about Season 2, and personally where would you like to see the show go from here?
So I have to keep mum about Season 2. I’m not allowed to say. And [for where I’d like to see the show go] — so much happens. I really don’t know. Everything’s a surprise. There’s so much that moves the story forward with every episode that I can’t really — it would be like plucking something out of thin air. Who knows? I just hope people fall in love with the show and the cast, and just keep trekking forward.
Thank you very much for your time, and I look forward to the rest of the world seeing the show!
Snowpiercer airs on TNT Sundays at 9pm!