Fans of J.K Rowling's wizarding empire (read: every man, woman, and child) all remember the moment we were introduced to Cho Chang, the lucky Ravenclaw who gets to paint the town (and do a bit of snogging) with Mr. Potter himself. But Voldemort has been vanquished and we can't all stay at Hogwarts forever, so now 24-year-old Scotland native Katie Leung is packing away her robes and trying her hand at something other than Quidditch: the stage. Leung stars in Wild Swans, a theatrical adaptation of Jung Chang's fictionalized family memoir about life amidst the rise of Communism and the Cultural Revolution in Mao's China. I caught up with Leung over email in between rehearsals in London, where the show is set to open after its Stateside debut.
SO, IN THE SPIRIT OF GETTING THESE OUT OF THE WAY, I'M SURE YOU GETHARRY POTTER QUESTIONS ALL THE TIME. WHAT'S THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION? "Is Daniel Radcliffe a good kisser?" And the answer is "Yes, he is."
WOULD KATIE LEUNG GO FOR HARRY AS WELL? I would be attracted to any man who possesses half the balls and loyalty that Harry has.
WHAT WAS THE STRANGEST, MOST SURPRISING MOMENT ON SET FOR YOU? In answer to both, it was on my first day on set, when I saw the sea of people standing behind the camera whilst we were filming, and the vast number of crew involved.
WHAT DREW YOU TOWILD SWANS? HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED? China has such a fascinating history that has become more and more important to me as I've grown older, so there was no doubt I would accept the offer to play one of the many inspiring women in the story. I auditioned for Wild Swans after reading the script and recall my mother's delight at hearing the news that I was offered the part, since she is a big fan of the memoir.
WHY IS THIS AN IMPORTANT STORY FOR MODERN AUDIENCES? I think it's vital for all of us to be aware of China's history in order to grasp its traditions and culture, particularly in today's society with the unstoppable rate at which the economy of the country is growing and changing. It is also important to understand the struggles and sacrifices of the older generation in order for us to be grateful of all the things which we so easily take for granted nowadays.
YOU ATTENDED THE CHO AUDITION ON A WHIM, CORRECT? AND NOW HERE YOU ARE DOING THEATER. HAD YOU EVER PLANNED ON ACTING? WHAT'S IT LIKE HAVING FALLEN INTO IT? Prior to acquiring the role of Cho Chang, I was unsure of my career path at school. Auditioning for the role itself made me realize the possibility of acting as a profession and now that I have a chance to be on stage, I think the passion for it will only grow from here onwards.
WHAT'S ON YOUR AGENDA AFTER THIS? Preparing for my photography degree show this summer. And then hopefully continuing the life of a struggling actor.
AND, FINAL QUESTION, JUST BECAUSE: BUTTER BEER OR FIREWHISKEY? Butter beer. Have yet to try firewhiskey, but would highly recommend staying away from pumpkin juice.
KATIE LEUNG STARS IN WILD SWANS AT ART'S LOEB DRAMA CENTER FEBRUARY 11–MARCH 11