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Christine Ko Is Ready for the Action

Christine Ko Is Ready for the Action Image
  • Posted on 22nd Aug, 2022 18:17 PM

The Only Murders in the Building star talks to BAZAAR.com about diversity in cinema, her love of high fashion, and her next dream role.

Christine Ko is entering her action hero era—and it's about time. The Taiwanese-American actress has been making movies for a decade, but it wasn't until her role in the series Dave that she was recognized as a talent to watch in Hollywood. Most recently, Ko was also cast as Arconia board president Nina in the comedy thriller show Only Murders in the Building, and next month, she'll be joining the cast of The Handmaid's Tale as a leader of the resistance.

BAZAAR.com spoke to Ko last Friday, while she got ready for OMITB's interactive VIP preview at New York City's Third Arm Gallery. Looking striking in a black, white, pink, and neon green plaid Roberto Cavalli blazer dress with matching over-the-knee boots, she talked candidly about her love of high fashion, the strides the Asian community has made in cinema, and her next dream role.

Efren Landaos/PictureGroup for Hulu

How did you and stylist Rob Zangardi land on this look? Are you a fan of Cavalli?

Rob and I have this thing where we always end up picking the first look I try on! The Cavalli suit had everything we wanted: It was chic, sexy, and had simple splashes of color (pink and green.) The plaid made a classic suit feel young and vibrant. And the thigh-high boots sold us! (Have you seen the heels on these things? They’re really comfortable to walk in.) Rob has such impeccable taste and a quick eye for what fits. I feel so lucky to work with him.

Are you interested in fashion? And if so, what have been some of your favorite red carpet looks this year?

I love fashion! I know everyone says that, but ever since I was a kid, I loved going into my mom’s closet and trying on all her clothes. I remember when I was in kindergarten, I was obsessed with this black and white ribbon bamboo heel from Gucci and I was mad I couldn’t a) fit into it and b) wear it to school.

Some of my favorite looks this year include Jessica Biel’s Kenzo look wearing the 1970 beret celebrating Nigo. So chic and effortless. Madelaine Petsch wore this super sexy bodycon long-sleeve Fendi dress that was to die for and just the perfect color with matching boots. Lastly, Lily Collins wore this blue Prabal Gurung suit skirt that was beautiful from every angle, emphasis on angles, while promoting Emily in Paris. So, so good. I loved that she paired it with a classic updo too.

Christine Ko

How would you describe your personal style, and are there any closet staples you haven’t stopped wearing this year?

My personal style ranges from comfy menswear to really glammed-up looks. During the day I love a simple cream ribbed tank or crop top from Nati Boutique, Levi’s jeans, APLs, and a good bag. Lately, I’ve been wearing the Calfskin Fendi FF 1974 Embossed Mini Mon Tresor Bucket Bag because it goes with everything and the material is so durable that you’re not worried about bringing it everywhere. I also bought a strap to wear it crossbody when I’m running errands.

At night I’ll wear something more colorful. I’ve really been liking Paloma Wool’s dresses; they’re flattering, comfortable, and sexy. Pair it with some classic gold Christian Louboutin Loubi Queen Metallic Red Sole Sandals. I swear by these heels; the platform makes them walkable and they go with every outfit. I packed a carry-on for a 10-day trip to Europe and these were one of the three shoes I brought.

Efren Landaos/PictureGroup for Hulu

Any designers you’re loving or hope to work with in the near future?

I’ve been such a huge fan of Valentino forever, so it was a "pinch me" moment when I wore and got to try on so many amazing Valentino looks for the Only Murders In the Building premiere. Pierpaolo Piccioli has such a vision and I hope I get to collaborate on more looks with him in the future.

You play such an interesting character in Only Murders in the Building—one we can’t tell if we want to cheer for, until she ultimately shows her vulnerable side. Is that something you can relate to?

I hope the audience cheers for Nina in the end because we realize she’s just trying to be the best board president she can be after Bunny. I love that John Hoffman, the show’s creator, gave Nina so much range in just one season. These are the type of characters I love playing because it shows their human side. Some days are good, some aren’t. I can definitely relate to that.

Christine Ko

What has it been like to work with such an incredible cast? Anything you’ve learned from Selena Gomez, Martin Short, or Steve Martin?

I think the combination of kindness and talent is so overwhelming that sometimes it doesn’t feel real working with them. But then you realize, they’re the realest people you’ll ever meet. They’re warm and inviting and never make you feel like you’re coming onto their show. It’s a group effort and they make that known on day one.

I love learning from their comedic timing—especially Steve when I had to do my water-breaking scene. I never thought we’d be pretending to take deep breaths while I squeezed his hand for dear life. Selena has a calmness and ease to her on set that I really love. I want to take that energy with me on my future jobs. Marty just might be the most talented person I’ve ever met and he makes me smile every time I see him.

How is this show different from other TV/film projects you’ve done in the past—in terms of the complexity of character, the audience, the attention it has gotten, and in general, on set?

This show is the first time I’ve worked with so many established actors from different generations all at the same time. It’s just incredible when you get to do scenes with Selena, Shirley Mclaine, Michael Cyril Creighton all in one day. It’s an honor and it makes everyone step their game up. I love going to sets where everyone is so prepared and really to play. My character, Nina, has such a strong presence and I like that I get to play a character that chooses to take up space in a room. As an Asian American actor, I don't get this opportunity often, so I really thank John Hoffman and Jess Rosenthal for writing this role.

You entered the show at a pivotal time in terms of cultural diversity in the film/TV industries. Do you feel more of a presence in Hollywood from your Asian community?

I definitely feel more of a presence in Hollywood from the Asian community, and I really love cheering my peers on. There’s so many great shows and movies that feature such incredible Asian American talent, like Stephanie Hsu in Everything Everywhere All at Once, Sherry Cola and Kara Wang in Good Trouble, Joel Kim Booster in Loot. I’m so proud to see how far we’ve all come, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store, because we’re going to be seeing more and more of our community in entertainment!

Christine Ko

You’re also joining The Handmaid’s Tale for the next season. How does it feel to be part of a strong story of resistance at such a key moment in history, with Roe v. Wade?

The Handmaid’s Tale has been on my vision board for years, so it was truly a dream come true to work on this show. Working with Elizabeth Moss and Samira Wiley really upped my level of focus on the craft and I’m in awe of these women every day on set. They are able to handle such difficult material with ease and grace and I’m constantly learning from them. I feel proud to be a part of a show that makes us think about what’s going on in the world and really challenge different perspectives. I love that I get to play a resistance leader because I’ve been a fighter all my life and I got to channel that in this role. You’ll see in September. (Season 5 premieres on September 14.)

What projects do you hope to do in the future? What is your dream role?

I’m about to start working on season 3 of Dave, which I’m really excited about. We left off with my character, Emma, discovering her love for directing in the episode "Ad Days," so I hope we get to see more of her personal journey. I’m currently stunt-training during my free time because my dream role is to do an action movie. Maybe Tomb Raider or Mission Impossible? I will gladly do sprints for 50 takes to jump on a train if I have to! I loved the original Ocean’s Eleven, so I’d be lying if I didn’t say that a dream role would be in the reboot they are working on with Margot Robbie.

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