Izumi Hasegawa: What’s your history with Street Fighter? Did you play it? Is that a guilty pleasure?
Kristin Kreuk: I didn't play it, but I know Street Fighter. I didn't play games, and I wasn't allowed. That was banned from my childhood experience. [Laughs]
IH: Why didn't your parents let you play games?
KK: We didn't have TV, and I didn't have games. So mostly it was playing outside and make-believe and do your homework and times tables.
IH: Did you sneak and watch them at a friend's house?
KK: No, I totally wasn't interested. I know, I'm strange. [Laughs]
IH: With all of the action you had to do on Smallville, did that prepare you for this? Were you used to wire work?
KK: I did a bit of wire work on Smallville in one episode, but it hardly counts. And the stuff that I just did recently on Smallville, that you may have seen, is after Street Fighter, so all of my training that I did on Street Fighter, they got the benefit of afterward, and the fight sequence that Cassidy [Freeman] and I did was really great, due to the training on this movie. I did karate and all that kind of stuff.
IH: There's a style of acting that goes along with doing an action movie. I sometimes joke that it's not so much about the characters -- people don't come to see the great character development; they come to see the great action sequences. With that said, do you have to surrender to the genre and say, “Okay, other directors have told me too big, in this case maybe too big is never enough”? Is that something you have to do with your acting technique?
KK: I don't know if I thought about it in that way, but there is a different style of writing. I also think that, in this movie, there is a bit of character development, which is nice. Most of it is action. I think that the action sequences are really important in the movie, but it still felt like there was honesty to it, and I wanted to bring honesty to it, as best I could.
IH: Neal McDonough (Bison in Street Fighter) described this film as the ultimate chick flick. What is your response to that?
KK: I think, in the sense that it's a kick-ass female lead, yeah. But I also think that in the traditional sense, no. I think women will really enjoy it because they get to see someone [who] they can relate to go through a fairly spiritual journey in a movie that generally their boyfriends would go and see.
IH: Did you get injured at all?
KK: Just some punches and bruises, and I messed up my wrist on my own. [Laughs]
IH: Your character’s signature movement they use in the club scene was upside down. How did they shoot it?
KK: It's a mash-up, so the opening piece with the backhand-spring into the splits, I did that part, and then with the wires...Johnny, [laughs] one of my stunt doubles, did that part. So they basically took the wire and wrapped it around him and just let it go, and he just did that.
IH: How about the wire work? Because that's one of those things that, to me, probably looks very cool when you watch someone else do it, and then the first time they hoist you up it’s like, “What am I doing here?”
KK: I really like wire work...a lot. I find it really interesting to try and move my body in a way that I have nothing to push against. It's entirely different. Coming from gymnastics, you utilize the floor to propel your movement, and with wire work, you're not allowed to jump. They jump for you. So you pretend to jump, and flipping is different, momentum is different... I love it, it's so much fun. And it's hard, like, it hurts, but it's amazing. And I'm glad I'm not a male -- essentially. [Laughs]
IH: We've seen it a lot -- Karate Kid, Master, Grasshopper...
KK: I also really like that story of mentor and apprentice. I think it's really beautiful, and I think it's something that, as human beings, we all seek out in some capacity, and that's why I think it can play over and over again. It's a beautiful story -- to find somebody that you can recognize is greater than you and has skills that you want to build and that you aspire to.
IH: Is that sort of icing on the cake for you -- since this is an action film -- to do a film that is basically a good time and sends a good message?
KK: For me, that was integral to choosing the movie in the first place. I think having that story there -- having that mentor/apprentice, personal growth story is part of what drew me to the movie in the first place. I can't say for sure, but if it wasn't there, I don't know if I would have even gone there at all.
IH: Your character is a concert pianist. How much did you practice playing it? Also, you speak Mandarin. You knew it beforehand?
KK: I played piano for many years. I took classic piano classes. I am terrible at it, and I kicked and screamed through all of my lessons, but my mom really wanted me to go. But I have a little bit of training. That's not me playing [laughs] -- it's a wonderful pianist who's really great. Mandarin: I learned a little bit at some point. I also went to a summer camp where I learned Mandarin and did ribbon dancing and cooked Chinese food. My mom wanted me to learn about my heritage, but she doesn't really know about it either. [Laughs] I come from a very Canadian –- which is like mashed-up -- household, where a lot of those traditional things just don't exist.
IH: Can you speak briefly about what's coming up for you next?
KK: I'm building a company for teen girls -- it's an online contact and social network called Girls By Design that I've been working on for a while, and we're in the process of building data right now that I've been putting a lot of my effort into and I'm very excited about.
IH: What's the motivation for that?
KK: Well, being in this industry and being on a show that appeals to young people, and as a woman, I started to realize that I didn't think there was anything out there that really encouraged young women to grow themselves and to be female in the world. I thought [a lot of the industry] kind of tore girls down, and I didn't want to participate in that. I was trying to think of a way that I could help encourage them, and this was one of the ideas that came out of that.
IH: How will you do that?
KK: It's a project-oriented site, and I don't want to give too much away because we haven't launched yet, but through challenges, the girls will have the opportunity to go out into their lives in communities and create and come back and share everything that they've created and built with each other.