Hong Chau didn't plan on becoming an actor. She studied film at Boston University and planned on pursuing a career in documentary filmmaking. But after landing roles in Treme, Inherent Vice, and the off-broadway drama John, Chau had her breakthrough performance in Alexander Payne's sci-fi comedy Downsizing. In 2019, Chau played the hyper-wealthy futurist Lady Trieu in the critically-acclaimed HBO series Watchmen.
Currently, Chau can be seen in the Amazon Prime anthology series Homecoming. She reprises her role as Audrey Temple, an assistant at the shadowy Geist Group who rapidly ascends the corporate ladder. Homecoming's entire second season premieres on Amazon Prime on May 22nd.
Recorded remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, NPR's Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton talk to Chau about researching tech billionaires for Watchmen and her Homecoming character's unusual rise to power.
Later, Chau plays a game where mundane things that shouldn't be movies are adapted into movie trailers.
On Researching Tech Billionaires For Watchmen
"We have so many, oddly. The interesting thing is that they're all men, so the fun thing for me to imagine was, what would it be like if she were female? Would anything change there, or is there something universal about somebody who is maniacal in their drive? There is something universal about that type of person and there's something genderless about it."
On Homecoming's Second Season
"My character is introduced towards the end of the first season, but I knew going into it...that my character Audrey Temple would return in the second season. For me, when I was filming it, I felt very uncomfortable because I didn't know why I was doing what I was doing. They didn't have a season two charted out yet. They just told me, in general, 'your character is gonna come back and take over the company.' I was like, 'Okay!'"
Heard on: Hong Chau & Nico Santos: Superheros And Superstores.