The Interview’s Randall Park on How Vice Prepared Him to Play Kim Jong-Un

Plus: some recommended reading on North Korea


Age: 40

Claim to fame: Portrays Kim Jong-un in The Interview (in theaters Dec. 25); guest stars on HBO’s Veep as Minnesota Governor Danny Chung; will star in the upcoming ABC series Fresh Off the Boat (premiering 2015)

Base: Los Angeles

Twitter: @parkrandall

What’s the first information you consume in the morning?

The first thing I do is I check my emails and my texts. I guess I shouldn’t feel guilty about it at this point; it’s kind of the norm. Sometimes I’ll bounce around Twitter. And if I have time, I’ll catch up on the news, usually on Huffington Post or Salon. There’s a site called Angry Asian Man where I learn a lot about what’s going on in the community.

Tell us about your social media habits. Who do you follow?

I’m on Twitter, but I’m not super active. I follow a lot of the same people that a lot of people follow: Rob Delaney, Megan Amram, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, people I’ve worked with.

What’s your favorite app?

The one that I use the most is Waze. I live in the Valley and my current job is on the Fox lot on the West Side. There’s generally a ton of traffic, so Waze helps me get there a little faster.

What TV shows do you watch?

Veep is definitely one of my favorite TV shows, and not because I’m in it. It’s just such a great show, and the fact that I’m on it is crazy to me because I love it so much. I’m also really into The Comeback right now. There’s a show on Comedy Central that I love called Nathan for You, which is kind of a reality show, almost a prank show, where this guy Nathan Fielder goes around helping struggling businesses. He’s so hilarious and so awkward.

What was the last series you binge-watched?

I never saw the first season of The Comeback, so when the new season came out, I went back and watched the entire first season in a few days. There was a stretch not that long ago when I was actually binge-watching a lot of classic shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show. It’s the best.

What’s on your reading list?

I’ve been reading a lot about North Korea ever since I got the part in The Interview because it’s just such a fascinating place. There are so many amazing stories of bravery coming out of there. There’s a book called The Aquariums of Pyongyang that I just finished, which is this incredible story about a kid in North Korea and his experiences in a labor camp with his family. Before that, I read a book called Escape From Camp 14, which is another tale of a guy who escapes from a labor camp.

What else did you watch or read to prepare for your role as Kim Jong-un?

There’s very little information out there about him, especially information that would inform how I would approach the character. But there are bits and pieces that I was able to use. There’s an episode of the HBO show Vice where they went to North Korea with Dennis Rodman, which was really helpful for me in creating the character. You see video of Kim Jong-un with Dennis Rodman, who he kind of idolizes. He’s actually a little bit nervous around him, and it sort of parallels what goes on in the movie with me and James Franco’s character.

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