Behind The Lens: Charlyne Yi, Co-Writer and Star of Paper Heart


Behind the Lens is a feature where we pose a series of short, offbeat questions to inspiring filmmakers, actors and artists in order to get to know them a little better.

Charlyne Yi is a comedienne, musician and actress who up until now was best known for her small role in Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up, but with the release of the indie comedy Paper Heart this month in select theatres, she is finally getting her chance to be in the spotlight. We loved the movie when we saw it at Sundance earlier this year (you can read my review here), as Charlyne and director Nicholas Jasenovec use a hilarious and charming blend of documentary and fictional storytelling to explore what it means to be in love.

Paper Heart is currently playing in select theatres in North America. For more info on where you can see the film, visit the official website, or follow PaperHeartMovie on Twitter. Don’t miss out! Now, check out our quick Q&A with Charlyne after the jump.

What movies have most influenced your work over the years?

I’m actually not sure to be honest. I suppose movies that make me both laugh and cry. Movies that take me on a journey as well as an emotional one. Wow, I sound cheesy. But it’s true. I want to feel something when I watch a movie. I want to care. Otherwise I don’t like investing my time in experiencing the film. Because much more than watching, it is an experience.

Eternal Sunshine [of the Spotless Mind] is a great one. I laughed, I cried, I was amazed how real I felt their relationship was even though there was this element of surrealism with the erasing of the mind concept. I really loved this movie. I remember as a kid, whenever I would write something it usually be something a bit strange and surreal. So it was comforting to experience something that was strange but great at the same time. And not too strange that there wasn’t any substance like some of those weird artsy films. There are so many movies where there’s a guy character who is a bit introverted and a free-spirited woman. And every story has been told. But the way the story was told, and how this movie was executed with the characters and such… was great. Just great…

What are your current addictions?

Food. I have to eat food every day or I’ll just die! Oh and water!

Recommend a movie that more people need to see and why.

A great documentary called, Murder on a Sunday Morning. The people in this film are amazing, and the it’s a crazy adventure because they’re all real. I can’t believe they captured something so incredible. I don’t want to give anything away so I can’t describe what happens. Personally, I like watching a film blindly and not know what it’s about. I like the surprise.

What is your most prized possession?

My big brain?

What is your biggest pet peeve?

People who are rude.

Name someone living or dead that you would most like to work with.

Pyotr Llyich Tchaikovsky.

List a few songs or bands currently in rotation on your iPod playlist.

The Dirty Dancing Soundtrack, Man Man, Alden Penner, Beirut, Edward Scissorhands Soundtrack, Becoming Jane Soundtrack.

What upcoming projects can we look forward to from you?

I am writing a comic book with Oni Press and an incredible artist, Paul Maybury. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. And a woman must save what’s left of the world against the devil.

  • Rusty James

    I’ve seen Paper Heart and it’s quite good, it was a real crowd pleaser.
    Charlyne Yi is like a cute, girl version of Reed Farrington.

  • Mike

    @ Rusty James


  • I think Charlyne has a bigger brain than I do. And she would probably be more fun to hang out with.

    I could probably beat up her boyfriend, Micheal Cera. I don’t know why I said that. It’s a guy thing.

  • Neil M

    But Reed, apparently they’re not dating. This is your big chance. Put yourself out there, although I know you hate that idea.

  • Falsk

    “I don’t know why I said that. It’s a guy thing.”

    Hahaha. Brilliant.

  • Kim

    I saw Charlyne Yi on The Tonight Show a few days ago and she was great. Like all talented comedians she seems to effortlessly walks the line between being herself and a character of her own invention.

  • Kim, regarding your last sentence, I wish I could say that about the guy who invented me.