[PROFILE] Christina Chang - Actress, recently on "The Girl's Club"
Birth Place: Taipan, Taiwan
28 Days (2000)
Random Hearts (1999)
Her Latest Job on Fox's "The Girl's Club"
Kelley's Latest Legal Drama Should Be Outlawed
By Phil Gallo
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - The trio of young women who comprise the "Girls
Club" at the San Francisco law firm of Myers, Berry, Cherry and Fitch
are out to show just how feisty, sassy and horny they can be as they
struggle to establish themselves as junior associates in the legal
David E. Kelley raised the bar of court TV with "The Practice" --
then lowered it when the ABC hour-long felt the need to resolve every
crisis in the 42nd minute. "Girls Club" is the result of aiming for a
common denominator that wants to be titillated during a trial; it
lacks the smarts and acting talent, save for a wasted impressive turn
from Giancarlo Esposito, of virtually every other law drama on TV.
Maybe "Snoops" wasn't such a bad idea after all.
Kelley's found success with off-kilter legal shows -- "The Practice"
lacks likable characters, "Ally McBeal" charmed audiences with its
zaniness -- but in "Girls Club," worlds are colliding in far-fetched
to unnatural ways. The three main characters, Lynne Camden (Gretchen
Mol), Jeannie Falls (Kathleen Robertson) and Sarah Mickle (Chyler
Leigh), lack social graces, decorum, perceptiveness, visible book
smarts -- we'll stop there. Their lack of appealing traits is further
complicated by Kelley's script that sticks into their mouths
unnatural responses to trying situations. None of the three is
capable of assuaging one another's fears or concerns. If these women,
who shoot off their mouths insulting and contesting their superiors
at every turn, were working at a drugstore or a TV station, they'd be
canned in an instant. In the legal world, their behavior would get
This trio is so wrong for this particular law firm that most viewers
will suspect that the point of showing them bungling around at Myers,
Berry is so we'll know they had a reason to start their own firm. Or
that they get out of law and run a gym and spa instead. Show may
attract a few female eyeballs and "Boston Public" holdovers at first,
but this is a testosterone-driven show that's bound to cave after
kickoff on "Monday Night Football."
Lynne, Jeannie and Sarah are roommates in addition to being co-
workers; before that, they attended Stanford. Lynne is the first
among them to get a chance to litigate -- the others ask wide-eyed
questions about her experience like virgins interrogating a girl who
has had her first sexual experience. Turns out the client had a thing
for Lynne, which leads us down a trail that includes an autoerotic
death by hanging, a malpractice suit and -- surprise, surprise --
Lynne ignoring the advice of boss Nicholas Hahn (Esposito) and lawyer
Edmund Graves (Armin Shimerman).
***** part where Christina Chang is mentined *****
Sarah is the girl who can't control her feelings. She calls fellow
associate Randa, played with an unnerving series of ticks by
Christina Chang, a "dyke" in the crowded lobby of the law office and
is then surprised that she's the second chair in a case.
***** part where Christina Chang is mentined *****
She has a boyfriend who her friends think is gay and she appears
incapable of expressing an obvious, heartfelt sentiment, especially
in the second episode when she's somehow bizarrely responsible for a
drunken former congressman cleaning up his act. Sarah is the troupe
leader in cleavage.
The feelings Jeannie can't control belong to lawyer Spencer Lewis
(Brian Markinson). In the pilot, he is clearly making sexual
advances, stating that he has her best interest at heart and wants to
see her succeed while his actions scream lust. In segment two,
however, when the girls have raised Jeannie's suspicions and she --
surprise, surprise -- attempts to put Lewis in his place, there's a
sense that maybe he isn't completely a liar.
Kelley's dialogue for these women has the hallmarks of a test for
network censors. "Power dicks" -- their term for the men in charge --
is used so often that it could catch on as a college drinking game.
Show doesn't go more than a commercial break without going for the
loins, whether it is a lawsuit over a "vulva hickey" or Lynne's 2
a.m. booty call.
The women who play these girls -- Mohl, Robertson and Leigh -- have
been cast as much for their differing hair colors -- blond, brunette
and something in-between -- as for their acting capabilities. Mol
practices delivering an opening statement in front of the bathroom
mirror and it's hard to tell which is worse, Mol or her character;
she's much better flopping around in her bed than delivering a limp
line like "Are we still friends?" to the boss who has every reason to
fire her. And Mol, in her first series work after two dozen features,
is the best of the trio as Falls' single note is naivete and
recovery, while Leigh plays overwrought and inexplicably never learns
Todd Holland's direction doesn't rein them in any as the show tries
to bring idiosyncrasies that made "Ally McBeal" stand out and use
them in a dramatic setting.
The script for Esposito's Hahn seems to have come from a completely
different author. His character is sharp, from his wardrobe to his
deportment to his logic, and the actor plays him with a coolness that
hides the steady boil caused by these three miscreants. Kelley has
given considerable grounding to the established lawyers played by
Esposito, Markinson and Lisa Banes. Their motives are clear, their
dialogue focused and characterizations are plausible. But the show
isn't about them, now, is it?
Lynne Camden ..... Gretchen Mol
Jeannie Falls .... Kathleen Robertson
Sarah Mickle ..... Chyler Leigh
Nicholas Hahn .... Giancarlo Esposito
Meredith Holt .... Lisa Banes
Spencer Lewis .... Brian Markinson
Edmund Graves .... Armin Shimerman
Randa ............ Christina Chang
Mitchell Walton .. Eddie Shin
Filmed in Manhattan Beach and San Francisco by David E. Kelly Prods.
in association with 20th Century Fox. Executive producer, David E.
Kelley; co-executive producer, Jack Bender; producers, Kim Hamberg,
Steve Robin, Rob Corn; director, Todd Holland; writer, Kelley;
camera, Victor Hammer; production design, Paul Eads; editor, Craig
Bench; music, Rob Cairms; casting, Susan Edelman, Mary V. Buck.
Welcome to the Girl's Club guide at TV Tome. Girl's Club Three young
female attorneys are determined to make their mark on the justice
system in 'girls club,' the latest re-invention of the legal drama
from David E. Kelley, creator of "Ally McBeal" and "The Practice." A
relationship-driven series set in San Francisco, one of the world's
most romantic and vibrant cities, 'girls club' explores the personal
and professional lives of three twenty-seven-year-olds - best friends
since law school - who live together. Lynne Camden (Gretchen Mol),
Jeannie Falls (Kathleen Robertson) and Sarah Mickle (Chyler Leigh)
share a desire to achieve success and fulfillment in their lives,
despite being employed by an "old boys club" law firm
Newcomer Christina Chang (pronounced "Chong") joins the cast of Wolf
Films/Studios USA's Deadline as the bright teaching assistant in star
New York Ledger columnist Wallace Benton's (Oliver Platt) elite
graduate journalism class. (http://www.filmsandtv.com/search.asp?
Chang was born and raised in Taipan, Taiwan by her Chinese-Filipino
father and her American-born mother. At 17, she relocated to the
United States to attend college at the University of Kansas, in her
mother's home state. Chang went on to gain a Masters of Fine Arts
from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she won her first
professional acting job in the play Naomi's Road at the Seattle
Children's Theater. From there, she progressed to the off-Broadway
production of Tina Landau's The Trojan Women.
Once in New York, Chang gained several guest and recurring roles on
various programs including Cosby, Guiding Light, and As the World
Turns. She hosted Lonely Planet on the Travel Channel and appeared in
the feature films Random Hearts and 28 Days.
Chang's other interests include working with children, following in
the footsteps of her mother who is a school counselor. She speaks
fluent Mandarin Chinese, has studied the trapeze, and has an interest
in social work.
Deadline, which is filmed on location in New York City, is a Wolf
Films Production in association with Studios USA Television and airs
Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. Dick Wolf is creator and executive
producer, Robert Palm is executive producer and Don Scardino, Peter
Jankowski and Arthur Forney are co-executive producers.
Christina Chang was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan. Her father is
Filipino/Chinese and her mother is American.
At 17 she moved to the United States to study Theatre & Film in her
mother's home state of Kansas and later studied acting in Seattle,
New York City became Christina's home recently when she was cast in
an off-Broadway show right out of school. Since then she's gone on to
act in a variety of modern and classic theatre shows, daytime &
primetime television and movies. Globe Trekker is the most
adventurous show she's done so far and she's glad to be back in touch
with her intrepid side.
"When I lived in Taiwan I travelled throughout Asia, and I've been
interested in other countries since I was very young. I'm thrilled to
be a back on the road with Globe Trekker, as it gives me an
opportunity to explore different cultures once again."
In the Globe Trekker series Christina has so far travelled to
Mainland Greece, Southern Spain, and the South of France.
Christina Chang : Mixed Heritage Familiar Objects
Videotaped on location at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center
Christina Chang creates artwork that deals with her mixed ethnic
background and it's interplay with her American heritage. As a
Chinese-Italian-American Woman, Christina creates work that deals
with her complex ethnic make-up. She creates two-dimensional and
three-dimensional mixed media sculptures that use primarily Chinese
and Chinese American imagery. Non traditional at materials, such as
chopsticks and synthetic hair are used to create her works of art and
images of Chinese American culture are seen in her large sculptures
of fortune cookies.
"Chang takes inspiration from her own Chinese-Italian-American family
photos and images, the media, and American pop culture, and she takes
exception to Asian American stereotypes as she sees them in everyday
life." Massey, Annabelle, The Met, #26, July 1, 1998
FAMILIAR FACE: School of Drama denizens may recognize one of the cast
members on the new TV show Deadline. Christina Chang
(pronounced "Chong"), who plays a bright teaching assistant and
unofficial proxy for Wallace Benton (Oliver Platt) at the New York
Ledger, earned her MFA here. Chang was born and raised in Taipan,
Taiwan and came to the U.S. for college at 17. Her first professional
acting job was at Seattle Children's Theatre in the play Naomi's