Ellen Wong as Knives Chau: Ecstatic, Devastated, & Very Takahashi

March 14th, 2013 by | Tags: ,



“I’m too cool for you anyway.”
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

This image showed up on The Great Subject, a tumblr I dig. Seeing it reminded me of a few things, #1 of which was that Ellen Wong is amazing.

I liked the movie version of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim comics, but I loved Ellen Wong as Knives Chau. I liked her so much that I wish the end of the movie featured Scott trying to get back with Knives and getting totally dissed when she’s like “Nah… I’m good.” I wanted more of the movie to be about her, basically? That’s how much I liked how she portrayed that character.

What really struck me was that Wong totally sold her role. She lived in it. She was incredibly energetic and so into it that I couldn’t help but be warmed. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie, but I remember a shot of her peeking in a window and flopping on a bed as being the most Knives Chau-iest things ever. They were amazing little bits of acting, perfectly pitched for the heightened reality of Scott Pilgrim. Hey look, I found it on youtube:

That flop onto the bed is real I Love Lucy. I can’t help but love it.

I liked Knives in the book — I liked pretty much everyone in the book — but she wasn’t one of my favorite characters. After Wong portrayed her in the film, I became a really big fan of both the character and the actress. It clicked.

Wong regularly appears on Carrie Diaries, which I guess is Batman Year One for Sex & the City. (“Yes. Mother. I shall become something something.” I don’t know enough about SATC to make this joke work. Sorry.) She was on Combat Hospital, as well, which I haven’t seen. I’m sorely tempted.

Man, you know what it is? I think her approach to Knives reminds me of the extreme physical and emotional drama that Rumiko Takahashi employed in Ranma 1/2. I look at Wong-as-Chau and I see Akane or Shampoo going ham on Happosai or Ranma or each other or any of the Kunos. Every new event is the end of the world or the birth of a glorious new one. She’s in a near constant state of devastation or ecstasy.

Ellen Wong. She’s the real deal.

If you somehow missed it the first time, you can buy Scott Pilgrim Color Hardcover Volume 1: Precious Little Life, a new version of O’Malley’s original series with colors by Nathan Fairbairn. I don’t own any of these (I still have the old trades), but I want them, especially the con-only Evil Ex editions. The movie is over here, too.

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9 comments to “Ellen Wong as Knives Chau: Ecstatic, Devastated, & Very Takahashi”

  1. The color editions are very nice; Fairbairn is so damn good at what he does.

  2. Yeah, Wong-as-Knives was definitely my favorite part of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (that wasn’t Kieran Culkin as Wallace). I don’t really share the same good feelings about the movie though as I thought the second half where it shifts more into drama was really boring and too much stuff was crammed in to make it really enjoyable. And the ending… I don’t know, whether they had him hook back up with Knives (as in the alternate one) or they go their separate ways he shouldn’t have gotten together with Ramona as in the movie she feels more like a MacGuffin than a character and it winds up making her into a prize for Scott when Knives tells him to go with her with literally ~60 seconds left. That’s all off the movie, of course, I haven’t read the books.

  3. The Takahashiness of SP* in general is one of my favorite things about the series, and yeah, Wong nailed it. Her and Johnny Simmons as Young Neil were the best book-to-actor castings in a flick where everyone’s basically perfectly cast.

    (Also, if you wanted to be mean, the Year One joke would’ve been “Yes, Mother. I shall become a horse.” to mine the rich (?) vein of Sarah Jessica Parker/horseface humor.)

    *First/only time I went to Canada, I ended up buying the first 12 or so volumes of Ranma at an Indigo Books because they were cheaper due to the exchange rate at the time. So Canada/Ranma was sorta linked in my head, which I think extra sold me on the early SP books.

  4. Silliest aspect of the whole movie-what white nerd would ever let go of an Asian chick?

  5. @g: silliest aspect of your whole comment: that you would be so eager to be that guy

  6. Great article!

    FYI, you can get the evil ex editions from Oni’s website.

  7. I haven’t read the comics, so I don’t have them as a comparison, but yeah, I thought she did a great job as Knives. I loved when Scott introduced her to Wallace (like Senbu, Wallace was my favorite character, but Knives was second), and she asks if he wants to know who her gay classmates are. She’s trying so hard to get along with Scott’s friends, in a way that seemed right for a high schooler trying to fit in with older kids.

    I was wondering, was I not supposed to like Scott for most of the movie? For most of the movie, he was my least favorite character, and I couldn’t decide if that was intentional, something about Cera’s performance, or just some problem I had.

  8. Oh, Knives, how badly I wanted Scott to appreciate you in the movie (in the comics I did this for Kim). I liked her a lot more than Ramona, such a great character.

    And I didn’t like Scott either, nor in the movie nor in the comics; I think that’s the point, but it kinda reduced my interest in both

  9. Scott Pilgrim was a fool choosing Ramona over Knives. :rolleyes: