Actress of the Day: JAIME KING
What she’s in: THE SPIRIT coming out December 25, 2008.
Her Character: Lorelei Rox
Why we like her: Jaime King can morph from a seductress to a clumsy girl, while keeping her grace and beauty. Her role in The Spirit will once again show what a versatile actress she is.
In 1999, King began her acting career and made her debut in the Daniel Waters’ comedy Happy Campers, as Pixel. Happy Campers was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001, and in 2003, King was nominated for “Best Actress” at the DVD Exclusive Awards for her portrayal of Pixel. Filmed in 1999, she also appeared in Filter’s music video for “Take a Picture”. Following her debut acting roles, King appeared briefly in the film Blow, portraying the adult Kristina Jung, daughter of George Jung (portrayed by Johnny Depp). Blow was based on the real-life stories of cocaine smuggler Jung.
King made her first appearance in a large Hollywood production with her role as the seventeen year old nurse, Betty, in the World War II epic romance Pearl Harbor (2001). Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine had commented that King “has a lively minute or two” in the film, however, her part was small and the “young cast is mostly pinup packaging”. King went on to be featured in the Incubus music video “Wish You Were Here”. The roles King took part in during 2001 garnered her the “New Stylemaker” title at the Young Hollywood Awards.
In 2002, she appeared in the teen comedy Slackers as Angela Patton, Four Faces of God as Sam, and the crime comedy Lone Star State of Mind as Baby. Slackers received negative responses from critics, including one who found that the characters “are not so strikingly original as to elevate the slack material”, while Four Faces of God and Lone Star State of Mind did not have wide theatrical releases. 2003 saw King in the film Bulletproof Monk, alongside Chow Yun-Fat and Seann William Scott, an adaptation of a comic book by Michael Avon Oeming. She auditioned five times, did a screen test and a physical test in order to obtain the role of Jade, a character skilled in martial arts. This was King’s first leading action film role, however, Bulletproof Monk had received mostly negative reviews from critics, who cited that the fight scenes were not as well choreographed or directed as those other genre films, and that the alternating comedic and action scenes were jarring. Despite those negative reviews, Bulletproof Monk was nominated for “Choice Movie in a Drama/Action Adventure” award at the Teen Choice Awards. Late 2003 saw King in the music video for the Robbie Williams song, “Sexed Up”, and on the cover artwork for the single’s release. In 2004, King appeared in the comedy White Chicks, playing Heather Vandergeld, with actress Brittany Daniel as her sister Megan Vandergeld, a parody on socialites Paris and Nicky Hilton. White Chicks was also negatively reviewed by critics, receiving five nominations at the Razzie Awards in the categories for “Worst Actress”, “Worst Director”, “Worst Picture”, “Worst Screen Couple” and “Worst Screenplay”. Despite the multiple Razzie Awards nominations, White Chicks received “Outstanding Directing for a Box Office Movie” and “Outstanding Writing for a Box Office Movie” at the BET Comedy Awards.
2005 saw King in a variety of film and television roles. She first appeared in the independent black comedy and satire Pretty Persuasion, playing a small role as Kathy Joyce, the step mother of Evan Rachel Wood’s character. Afterwards, she gained lead roles in the film adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel Sin City. She had met with director Robert Rodriguez, who was a fan of her work, and at the time King was unaware that Rodriguez wanted her involved in the film. Eventually, “we started reading [the Sin City graphic novel], and it was really fun”. King portrayed Goldie and Wendy, the twin prostitutes in charge of the girls of Old Town, in the segment The Hard Goodbye opposite Mickey Rourke. Sin City featured a large ensemble cast of well known actors which included Rosario Dawson and Jessica Alba, with whom King had “kinda grew up together” in New York. Sin City had opened to wide critical and commercial success, gathering particular recognition for the film’s unique coloring process, which rendered most of the film in black and white but retained coloring for select objects; King was one of the few in the black and white film to have color, that being, red lips and blonde hair when acting as Goldie. The film was screened at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival in-competition and won the Technical Grand Prize for the film’s “visual shaping.” The family comedy Cheaper by the Dozen 2 featured King as Anne Murtaugh in yet another large ensemble cast, and the Al Pacino drama Two for the Money as Alexandria; both films had negative critical and box office reception. In television, she had a one episode guest appearance on the teen drama The O.C. and a recurring role on the short-lived situation comedy Kitchen Confidential. King was featured in the Zach Braff directed music video for Gavin Degraw’s “Chariot”.
In 2006, King appeared with a small role as Heather in the comedy The Alibi, and a starring role in the thriller True True Lie. Her largest role that year was in the David Arquette horror film The Tripper as Samantha; Arquette had, in addition to directing the film, had produced, written, and acted in it. King had a recurring role on the short lived comedy The Class, which ended its run on television after an announcement in May 2007. The Class had been nominated for an Emmy in 2007, and won the People’s Choice Award for “Favorite New TV Comedy”.
In 2007, King filmed They Wait, a horror-thriller film inspired by true events, with Terry Chen as her husband and Regan Oey as their son. She stars as a mother attempting to find the truth and save her son when threatened by spirits during the Chinese tradition of Ghost Month. It was featured in the 2007 Toronto Film Festival, but has not yet had a wide theatrical release.
Currently, King has five films in production that have release dates estimated for 2008 and 2009. The first of three to be released in 2008 may be the Star Wars-themed comedy Fanboys. Its release date was pushed first to January 2008 when director Kyle Newman received additional funding to shoot new scenes, but the busy schedule of the actors postponed filming. Still delayed, the filmmakers and its distributor, the Weinstein Company, are involved in a dispute over which version to release. In May 2008, King featured in another Newman-directed film, Act I of The Cube, the beginning of an online movie-making contest.
The Pardon, a film based on the true life story of Toni Jo Henry, the only woman to be electrocuted by the State of Louisiana, stars King in the lead role. The Jim Kouf comedy, A Fork in the Road, has King portraying the character of April Rogers, alongside Daniel Roebuck. Upcoming films include The Spirit and Sin City 2. The Spirit is a live-action film adaptation based on the 1940s newspaper strip The Spirit, created by Will Eisner, in which King portrays Lorelei Rox. The role reunites King with Sin City writer, Frank Miller, who is attached to write and direct The Spirit. The film has a slated release date in January 2009. King will reprise her role as twins Goldie and Wendy in the part sequel and part prequel of the Miller written and co-directed film Sin City 2.
Read all our coverage of The Spirit.