I’ve interviewed Bai Ling twice and both times her nipples worked their way free of her clothes. It was… weird both times and she was pretty unfazed by it. She didn’t really mind that she was sitting at a roundtable showing all.
It’s stuff like that which has earned Bai Ling a reputation with the press as eccentric, to put it kindly. Her interviews can be unexpected, odd, off topic and above things much loftier than ‘Was it fun working with Jason Statham?’ You would think that when you’re used to sitting in a room and having actors spew the same rote lines again and again someone like Ling would come across as refreshing. Instead most of the reporters I know smirk about her weirdness.
Lionsgate has opted to do no junket or screenings for Crank 2: High Voltage (which is crazy, as people seem to love it, but whatever), and as such the junket press missed their opportunity to sneer at Bai Ling. But Todd Gilchrist – hands down one of the best interviewers working today – sat down with her, and he got a lot of fascinating information from her. I liked this bit, where he asks her about her eccentricity:
You have a fearlessness whose motivations you’ve already kind of explained, but it seems to sometimes translate to viewers as eccentricity. Do you find that because of that perception of yourself, people expect or call upon you to provide that when you take on a role?
Ling: That’s another good question, how you put that. I think it just invoked me to say something, I hope I don’t lose it. Oh yeah, I learned the word, I don’t know if it’s good or bad, “eccentric.” I said what does that mean? People said it’s good and I said what does it mean, because I don’t really know. What does it mean?
Um, unusual or potentially weird.
Ling: Yeah, so I learned that a lot of journalists or press trash me, and I wanted to say, if you’re daring to trash me, then dare to celebrate me. Do both. Look at all of my work. You know I’m not just that. So I learned, like you said, the fearlessness and braveness of what I do, I came here and just put myself [out there] totally naked – emotionally, physically, whatever way I am. I think that’s really difficult and brave, hard to do because you’re really opening your life, like always taking a breath of fresh air – that’s how you realize you’re alive – and I think the gift that I have is not for me to keep, it’s for me to give. And for me to give, I have to be loyal to who I am; otherwise, you waste your life. Like for me, I feel like you have to be the most truthful, brilliant, honest extreme version of who you are and then you’ll fulfill the purpose of being alive. That’s why I behave this way, because I just want to be the pure me, to show you, whether that’s good or bad according to you.
One time I was in Asia and someone said, be careful when you talk to journalists because they have their agenda, and sometimes they just want to write what they want. I said I don’t really care. When I talk to them, if I’m being careful then I’m not happy. I would be like, yes, no, I would become like a robot. I wouldn’t want to be there. I lived the moment, it doesn’t matter the result – that’s your problem. I’m giving my pure thing. When I’m having fun, this little spirit, she’s crazy, she dresses sexy and having fun and she doesn’t listen to me even. She’s like, “oh, I like red. I like short skirts. My nipples are out – so what? They’re beautiful. They’re sexy. They’re erotic.” That’s her, so I have to let her out, and I have eight spirits, and some of the wise ones and the calm ones say, “why are you doing that?” and she says, “it’s a moment of fun to give joy to others. Why not?” I think she’s right. It’s all from a very innocent point of view of being there, showing you the truth of who we really are.
For the rest of the interview, head to Todd’s site here.