Jaime King: the Next Big Thing
By Andrew C. Stone
There's Something for Everyone to Love about Jaime King, the Omaha-born teen modelturned-silver screen siren who’s coming off the buzz from two eye-candy films and has comiccon types worshiping at her altar. More than just a world-class beauty, King (formerly James King in her days of walking runways and hosting MTV’s House of Style) has built an impressive, decade-long movie and TV résumé, bringing to each project a talent and enthusiasm to rival her mesmerizing looks.
Films like Pearl Harbor, Blow, and Slackers helped King shake off that “model-actress” stigma, and the Wayans Brothers’ White Chicks showed her to be a capable comedian. On TV she’s dolled up Kitchen Confidential, The Class, and, most recently, Gary Unmarried. Her seductively stylized sister roles, as Wendie and Goldie in Sin City (parts she’ll reprise this year in Sin City 2), brought her to a whole new level of visibility, making her a go-to star for action projects like the recently released My Bloody Valentine 3D. And her overall “beautiful woman who’s into video games and comics” persona landed her a hilarious role in the recent nerd comedy Fanboys, directed by her now-husband Kyle Newman.
Next up, King directs her first short for Comedy Central (with Selma Blair in the starring role) and does a powerful turn in the 1940s true-crime drama The Pardon. Needless to say, the gal is busy. Still, she let us fawn over her a bit, because she’s cool like that.
LOS ANGELES CONFIDENTIAL: So, My Bloody Valentine was a big hit. Are you happy with how it turned out?
JAIME KING: It was awesome! I’m really proud of it.
LAC: The big gimmick was that it’s in 3-D. Does that increase the fear factor?
JK: Whatever usual fun you’d have at a slasher movie, it’s that times a thousand. They used a brand-new kind of 3-D that’s the wave of the future. Being at the premiere and seeing my friends watch the 3-D was a wonderful experience.
LAC: Personally, I’m kind of squeamish at horror films, but I loved it.
JK: If you’re a wuss, it’s more fun! It isn’t like the recent trend of torture-porn-gross horror. There’s blood, but also a great sense of humor. It’s more of an eighties cult throwback. This is like going to Disneyland—the whole film is literally in your lap.
LAC: Are you into slasher movies yourself?
JK: I don’t like a lot of gratuitous horror, and I’m a scaredy-cat, but this one had suspense, a love triangle…. It was so much fun.
LAC: You played down the sexpot factor. What gives?
JK: I wanted [Sarah] to be authentic looking. She’s from this coal-mining town, so I wore flannels and
baggy jeans and dyed my hair dark. We have sexy girls in the movie, and I let them do that—I wanted her to feel more real than that.
LAC: It’s pretty great that the studio didn’t expect you to be more, you know… naked.
JK: I really need to applaud Lions Gate for that. At first it was challenging, because people want you to look a certain way. But they let Patrick [Lussier, the director] and me develop the character in a way that suited the story best.
LAC: Were there any scenes that are particularly great that you can give us a spoiler for?
JK: I’ve been working since I was very young, so I don’t self-promote a lot, but this was one film I told all my friends to go see. As far as my favorite scenes… I guess the opening scene with the naked girl….
LAC: Yes! That’s some fine, fun filmmaking. Speaking of fun movies, Fanboys is a total love letter to comic-con fans. You’ve been the recipient of their affections, yes?
JK: I married one! My husband [Kyle Newman] directed and cowrote the movie. What the comiccon crowd likes is what I like—Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars. If you look at my résumé, I do a lot of fantasy films. It’s very exciting to be a part of them.
LAC: Speaking of Star Wars, you’ve gotten
involved with that franchise, right?
JK: I’ve done voice work for the series The Clone Wars, and that’s been a dream come true.
LAC: Tell us about working with your husband.
JK: Well, I met him while working on Fanboys, so obviously it was pretty great! I’m constantly looking for stuff for us to do together. We have to leave each other a lot for jobs, so any chance to collaborate is perfect. We have the rights to the Brigitte Bardot story, so we’re developing that.
LAC: Your characters in Sin City and its sequel are totally tough chicks. How fun was it to kick Mickey Rourke’s butt?
JK: It was really satisfying. Mickey is such a great actor and is so giving. He allowed me to really go all-out. There are plenty of “hot girl” or “girlfriend” parts, but it’s awesome to play a kick-ass, strong woman because there aren’t that many roles like that.
LAC: What do you make of Mickey Rourke’s huge comeback?
JK: It’s crazy! He’s so deserving of it, because he’s a hard worker and a brilliant actor.
LAC: I know you’ve got your sights set on more serious roles. Do you still have to fight the whole “model-actress” stigma?
JK: It’s weird, because I stopped modeling over 10 years ago. I feel very blessed that I’ve been able to play more challenging roles and explore greater depth. I study really hard and work with the best acting teachers, so I just want more of that. I couldn’t give a shit about the way I look. All I really care about is doing good work.
Photograph by Matthew Welch/Icon International
LAC celebrates the women of its May/June 2013 issue at Palihouse in West Hollywood.