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

March 14th, 2013 Posted by david brothers



“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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