22nd March 2023
Photography: Blake Eiermann
Interview & Digital Editor: Pankhuri Bhutani
Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent
Cover Design: Emily Curtis
Currently under the spotlight for playing ‘Eugene Choi’ in the blockbuster film “Shazam! Fury of the Gods”, Ian Chen is garnering a lot of support through his impeccable acting range. Initially witnessed in the first installment of the DC project, Chen embodied the role of one of Billy Batson’s siblings, showcasing his prominence through his phenomenal wit at technology, acting as an ally to Shazam and ending up with the ability to transform into his own superhero (played by the talented Ross Butler) at the latter half of the film!
With a star-studded cast of Zachary Levi, Helen Mirren, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Rachel Zegler, Ross Butler, Lucy Liu, and many more, Chen recently adopted the role of ‘Eugene Choi’ once again for the sequel to the superhero project. We recently had a chat with the wonderful Ian Chen in order to talk about his acting process, his experience working on the set of the highly anticipated second installment of Shazam! as well as get more insights into his character within the film.
Hello there Ian. So lovely to have you over at ReVamp! How’s it going? How has the start of 2023 been for you so far?
My 2023 has started with the typical ups and downs of a High School Junior, but I’m excited to continue working and sharing the projects I’ve been working on.
I know you recently went to the premiere of your latest movie “Shazam! Fury of the Gods”. What was your experience like with the event? How did you feel finally getting to see this movie on the big screen alongside your cast mates?
The premiere of Shazam! Fury of the Gods was amazing — to be reunited with all of the cast was an absolute blast and I’m glad we got the chance to watch the movie we worked so hard together on.
First of all, huge congratulations on your brilliant involvement and portrayal of “Eugene Choi” in the movie! I’d love to know what it was really that grew you closer to this role.
One of the biggest aspects of the first film was family — and that really drew me closer to the role and story. The first Shazam! depicts a foster family; Billy, Freddy, Darla, Pedro, Mary, and Eugene, but also highlights their complex and genuine relationships with each other. Even though they’re not blood-related, they’ve still found their brothers, sisters, and partners in crime (or in our case, stopping crime). That’s how I felt about working with the Shazamily in these movies. We’ve really been able to create relationships with each other that felt personal and connected on-screen because they are that way in real life!
How did the overall audition process go about with your character?
We auditioned and filmed the first movie way before the COVID-19 pandemic, so in-person auditions were still very much the norm. I recall having one of those auditions and then a call-back with David Sandberg, the director. After a little bit of waiting, they called up my agent and let me know I got the job!
What was your experience like reuniting with the cast for the second installment of the film? I’m sure you must have a lot of memories from working with the wonderful people affiliated with the movie.
It was great to be able to work with everyone on the sequel to Shazam, along with new members of the cast — Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, and Rachel Zegler — who are all so talented and have so much to share from their career experiences. Obviously, filming under the pandemic created some restrictions on when and where we were able to interact, but we all formed a bond with each other on set that made filming the movie so much fun.
I’m very curious to know the research you did in terms of embodying the character. Did you immerse yourself in any such acting ritual to ensure that you were fully into the character before finally going in front of the cameras?
Well, my character Eugene is played both by myself and Ross Butler — his superhero version. I recall back in the first film, we sat down together at a restaurant having popcorn chicken, and we discussed the direction that we wanted to take the character. Having two actors portraying one character, especially considering that superhero Eugene still has the mind, technical age, and experiences as his younger counterpart, means that Ross and I had to ensure synchronicity with our portrayal of Eugene. Our discussions and ideas that we bounced off each other really helped me get integrated into the role.
If you could have the opportunity to have your character interact with any of the other characters from the DCEU universe (be it a superhero, a villain, or any character), what character would you personally love to have Eugene interact with?
Definitely Batman. I think Eugene and Batman would really hit it off, him being obsessed with gadgets, technology, and probably all of Batman’s arsenal.
Now that we are almost near the release date for the movie, how’s the anticipation period going for you, Ian? Feeling nervous or excited?
I’m definitely anticipating the release of the Shazam! sequel a lot — but I’m mainly excited for audiences to be able to see the movie! I think we’ve really created something that captures the aspects of family, heart, comedy, and action that fans will love, and did love about the first film.
What’s next for you, Ian? Is there anything else you’re currently working on that you’d like to tell your fans about?
Over last summer, I worked on an indie short film in Vancouver called “Fishboy.” This short film follows the life of Patrick, who I play, and his journey through navigating teenage life — exploring his sexuality and his relationship with religion.
Lastly, is there any message you’d like to convey to the fans reading this interview?
Get out there and watch Shazam! Fury of the Gods!