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January 23, 2018

Spotlight: Diana Bang


Kee Chang/ Anthem Magazine

In 2018, Bang is exploring something quite different. Jason James’s Entanglement shadows Ben (Thomas Middleditch), a severely depressed individual. How depressed is he? The film begins with a montage of his failed suicide attempts. Fortunately, he meets Hanna (Jess Weixler) at the pharmacy while picking up his medication, and she slowly drags him out of his funk. Here’s the kicker, though: Hanna was at one point almost his sister. Thinking they couldn’t conceive, Ben’s parents had adopted an infant girl. But with Ben suddenly entering the picture, the adoption agency took Hanna back. If this all sounds a bit crazy, so thinks Tabby (Bang), Ben’s friendly neighbor who makes up most of his support circle and has serious reservations about his new dream girl.

Entanglement opens in select theaters, and via On Demand and Digital HD on February 9.

I checked out an interview with your director, Jason James, where he described Hanna as the chaos factor in Ben’s life in relation to Tabby’s control, which is grounding him in reality. I thought that was an interesting angle. The film is very conceptual in that way.

Yeah, and I think the script changed a little bit. Initially when I grasped it, it had much more of that chaos and control element. I think some of that was stripped from the final film. I don’t remember having an explicit conversation with Jason about that, but that was quite evident in the script.

The film’s portrayal of Tabby and Ben’s rough and tumble friendship is affecting. We often neglect friendships when we’re too busy working on our own personal details.

I do think it’s about friendship. I think it’s about self-love as well. Ben’s trying to figure out the journey that he’s on. When you talk about this chaos and control aspect, it’s also the fantasy version of himself versus a more realistic version. That’s sort of how I interpreted the characters of Hanna and Tabby. It’s about coming to terms with the different versions of himself and finally accepting himself in the end. I think’s that’s a universal story. It’s the journey that a lot of us travel sometime in our lives, or throughout our lives. With Tabby specifically, the cool thing about this particular film was that I got to play a girl who owns her own clothing shop. Most of the roles prior to this in which I had a substantial role, I had to have some kind of an Asian accent, or I was asked to. I guess what I related to here is that she’s a fuller character than anything else I ever played. In that way, it was definitely a nice thing to inhabit. And in talking about control, you definitely want to control the outcome of your life sometimes. I could definitely relate to that, for sure.

The film doesn’t fixate on Tabby’s Asianness at all. The character you play is devoid of stereotypes, which is always thrilling. It’s a clear contrast to your North Korean propaganda minister role in The Interview, which is obviously a very different brand of comedy. It’s farce in many way. Did you find your experience on these two movies vastly different?

Honestly, they weren’t that different. It’s interesting because I come from sketch comedy and that’s my background. Obviously, I try to make my characters as human as possible, but sometimes I push it, too. Initially, when I was doing Entanglement, it was funny because Jason would sometimes come up to me like, “You know, just a little less.” [Laughs] “Just ground her a bit. Less.” Eventually, I figured it out and got the tone of it. But at the very beginning, it was sort of like Jason was trying to be as polite as possible: “Not so much energy. Tone it down.” In terms of the environments, they were pretty similar. I mean, one might have better catering or something like that, but overall, I found them to be quite similar. I guess with indie projects there are less luxuries, you know? But that stuff doesn’t really matter. That’s not important. For me, getting to be one of the leads or getting to be in a supporting role in both of those movies was nice. I was able to have more of a say and feel like I was part of the filmmaking process, more than just dropping in and being a barista with a few lines. But yeah, I felt like they were quite similar to be honest.