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Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.

Élodie Yung

Élodie YungÉlodie Yung, born February 22nd, 1981 in Paris, France. Yung is a French actress whose father is Cambodian and mother is French.

She graduated from The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and also obtained her Masters Degree in Law from La Sorbonne. She has practiced Karate for over ten years and her first roles were on TV. Following her 2004 film debut as female lead Tsu in Les Fils du Vent she played the gang lord Tao in District 13: Ultimatum.

Yung returned to TV for the successful police series, Les Bleus, premiers pas dans la police for seasons 1-3 along with Clémentine Célarié and Mhamed Arezski. She appeared in the 2011 film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo as Miriam Wu, a romantic interest of Lisbeth Salander. In 2013, she appeared on the silver screen as ninja member Jinx, of the Joe squad, in G.I. Joe: Retaliation and currently is filming a couple thrillers and a romantic comedy with Evan Rachel Wood - 10 Things I Hate About Life, from the director of 10 Things I Hate About You.

Élodie YungHer father left Cambodia when the political situation started to erode.

"My dad managed to escape the Khmer Rouge because he was in the army," explains Élodie.

"He was on the Lon Nol side. They had recieved their military training in Thailand, so he was not in Cambodia when the Khmer Rouge took over. The last time that he saw his mom, he told her that it was getting really bad and that he would never see her again. My dad likes to throw bad jokes, but that was actually the last time he saw his mom and the rest of his family. He lost everyone in the war."

After a year in the army her father sought political asylum in France where he met her mother while working in a supermarket. The couple raised their three children in District 93, an impoverished neighborhood in the suburbs of Paris. Élodie's younger brother is a break dancer and her younger sister is a graphic design student.

Élodie YungBecause the neighborhood where they lived was so rough, her father suggested that she and her little brother take karate classes. Élodie was a tomboy and karate sounded appealing to her, so she opted for that instead of taking classical dance classes. A decade later she did earn her black belt - an accomplishment that would later play a big role in her future career.

She never entertained childhood fantasies about becoming an actress. It managed to happen by chance, while she was attending law school, after a friend told her that she should audition for a commercial in order to make a little spare income. Even though she didn't get the role, another casting director for a TV series in France cast her in a popular teenage drama, La Vie Devant Nous, which ran from 2002 to 2003.

"After I landed the role and did it for a year, I went back to my studies," says Élodie.

"At that time, I didn’t really want to be an actor. I was going to school and acting at the same time, but the decision to focus on acting was a process for me. Later, I met some directors and actors and realized this is actually a real and proper job."

Élodie YungYung went on to star in a number of French television and film productions, but she received her first big break in Hollywood when she was cast as Miriam Wu, the lover of Lisabeth Salander - played by Rooney Mara, in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Shortly thereafter, she decided to try out for the role of the ninja Jinx in the sequel to the G.I. Joe movie. She sent numerous tapes to director Jon M. Chu, but it was Lorenzo di Bonaventura, the film's producer, who had previously seen Élodie in the French action film, District 13: Ultimatum, who pushed for her.

The role of Jinx would be no easy task, so Élodie began her training in London before she was scheduled to fly out to New Orleans to begin shooting the film. In addition to working with a dialogue coach to develop a British accent on top of her French accent, she also had to train with her stunt double, Ming Qiu, to learn the action choreography.

"You have five months to shoot, and you have to be really on top of everything, physically," says Élodie.

"There’s no rest, and you have to take care of yourself constantly. I had to fight with two katanas (Japanese swords). It required a lot of coordination and was very difficult."

Not one to complain Yung says: "If I’m hired for an action film, there’s no point in me not trying everything, or at least as much as I can," she adds.

"This is not Shakespeare. It's not about what I'm going to say. I'm not going to have a beautiful monologue. It's about the action and as an actor, you should invest yourself as much as you can. I want to give 100 percent. It's more fun that way."

Élodie Yung"In the last 10 years, there have been good years, and there have been bad years. Sometimes I don’t understand why you work so much when you don't even have work,” she says, referring to the grueling process required to even land roles in the first place. Fortunately, her family has always supported her in whatever she persued.

"We didn’t grow up with artistic parents, but they are very free- spirited in their minds," she says.

"They told me, 'You have one life — enjoy it. We had a hard life, so find something and be serious about your work.'"

In the end it was Elodie’s career as an actress that helped her father reconcile with his past.

"My dad, for years, didn't want to go back to Cambodia. I actually went to Cambodia before he did," she says.

She had gone to Thailand to shoot a movie and decided to visit her father's native country while she was there.

"When I called him from there, he was crying on the phone with me," she remembers.

Élodie Yung“After a couple of years, he decided to go back. He was going back and forth between France and Cambodia, but now he's living in Cambodia and he is happy living there now."

It's something she constantly carries within her, this bond to her father's native land. She and her brother are hoping to do something creative to give back to the country.

"When I went to Cambodia last year, my brother and I said to ourselves - We're not here as tourists. Let's just meet people and see what we can do."

"We went to an orphanage and some NGOs. My stepmother is from there and is aware of a lot of things because she works there. She told us that this country is difficult — you have to look where you go and be selective of how you work with people. We want to do something, but we have to do it properly."

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Year Title Role Notes
2004 The Great Challenge Tsu N/A
2007 Fragile Isa N/A
2008 Home Sweet Home Marie-Jo N/A
2009 Little Wenzhou Su Television film
2009 District 13: Ultimatum Tao N/A
2010 Let Her N/A Short film
2010 Opération Casablanca Isako N/A
2011 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Miriam Wu N/A
2013 G.I. Joe: Retaliation Jinx N/A
2013 Still Christina Post-production
2013 Dreck Eva Gray Filming
2013 10 Things I Hate About Life N/A In production


Year Title Role Notes
2002–2003 La vie devant nous Jade Perrin 8 episodes
2005–2007 Mademoiselle Joubert Fanny Ledoin 3 episodes
2006–2010 Les bleus: premiers pas dans la police Laura Maurier 29 episodes
2007 Sécurité intérieure Joséphine TV mini-series
Episode: "Flash-Back"

Elodie Yung - G.I.Joe: Retaliation Interview


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