Christina Chong as La’an and Paul Wesley as Kirk in episode 203 “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+
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Interview: Christina Chong’s Flame Grows Stronger on ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’

Christina Chong‘s character La’an Noonien-Singh on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is not one to fade into the background. Over the first season La’an has proven to be a Starfleet member who has more to her than what we see on the surface. This season the actress’s flame has grown stronger on both on and off the screen. Not only has Chong recently released her debut single ‘Twin Flames’ (listen below), she was also the star of an episode Star Trek fans are calling an instant classic.

Awards Radar spoke with Christina about the emotional new episode ‘Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow,” where La’an travels timelines with none other than James T. Kirk (Paul Wesley) on a mysterious mission with potentially grave consequences. Below is our conversation. (Some spoilers are included – we recommend watching the brilliant episode first.)

Christina Chong as La’an and Paul Wesley as Kirk in episode 203 “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+

Steven Prusakowski: First of all, let me say, I listened to twin flames. And it’s such a soulful performance. Are there any other talents that you’ll be sharing in the coming? Days? Weeks? Months?

Christina Chong: Oh, yes. I have another single coming out, July 7th and then another after that, and another after that. So “Twin Flames” is one to four songs on the EP, which drops on August the 11th. I’ve got loads of things in the bag coming out. We’ve got acoustic versions, a Christmas song potentially, and a club remix of ‘Twin Flames’ coming. So loads loads of stuff.

Steven Prusakowski: I can’t wait to hear it all. Let’s jump into Strange New Worlds. Was it a relief when you first took on the role to have an original character rather than a pre-established character?

Christina Chong: Yes, very much so. Because I didn’t know much about Star Trek. And so I was like, ‘Oh, okay, thank goodness.’ I did have to watch a couple of things like ‘Space Seed’ and ‘The Wrath of Khan.’ But there’s not actually much on Khan to watch. And also because she’s not like Khan. She’s a descendant but nothing like him. So I didn’t, I really had free rein to do whatever I wanted within the parameters of the script, obviously. So yeah, very much relieved.

Steven Prusakowski: La’an is such a great character, she’s an outcast who proves to be such a badass. And one who leads by example, what is it like getting to explore and portray this ultimately strong character?

Christina Chong: It’s amazing, because she has so so far to go. We see her as this kind of very reserved, standoffish character in season one. The reason why people are like that is because they have so much vulnerability, and they just need somebody to love them. So that’s her quest, really, from day one has been I was want to be loved. This is a defense mechanism, because I’m just scared that if I am loved, or I do love, I’ll lose it, because that’s what’s always happened to her. When we come to episode 3 she it is like, it happens… it happened. She had that connection that she hadn’t have felt since she was a child, before the Gorn, and then is taken away from her. But she knows she can go there, she’s brave, she’s strong. She’s good at self examining and listening. She definitely listens to Una. And she finds a way to kind of potentially make more connections. I think we’ll see.

Steven Prusakowski: She’s very strong. But like you said, she’s very vulnerable. This episode is a such a big story but it’s also a very small story, it’s always very personal. You get to take part in these fun moments throughout the series with you in the trenches, standing up for others, even doing a clean drinking game, and then in this episode, it kind of strips that I’ll strip that all away and get some more raw kind of approach to La’an. I won’t get into spoilers too much so fans can have a chance to enjoy it on their own, but what was your reaction when you read that script for the first time? And did you notice coming at all were you given a heads up like?

Christina Chong: Yeah, I was told I was going to do a two hander with Paul Wesley. So I was like, ‘Okay, that’s cool.’ But then when I got the script, I was like, ‘Oh, oh. I want in that scene too. Oh, wow. Oh, wow. Okay, it’s fine.’ I tend to look for the where the main chunk and bulk of the script is so I can focus on that – if there’s big monologues or a really dramatic scene I focus on those bits first so they’re really in me the really important dramatic scenes. And I was like, ‘Oh my god, it’s all it’s all frickin’ important. Every page is important of this.’ Not that other things wouldn’t be. But there are scenes where you’re less in, or you’re not in at all, so you can prioritize and schedule. But the schedule is really tight for this one, especially because we had weather problems. We were outside in minus 17 degrees was snow on our hair after the takes. Then we had COVID issues, shutdowns because of COVID and things. We had to have reshoots of scenes. And we had the daylight issue because everything was outside in daylight, which meant that we only had a certain amount of hours that we can actually film. And normally on a set, each day your call time slightly later, so that you can have a full 12 hours off to have some sleep, chill out, unwind after the day, learn your lines for the next day. But there was none of that on this shoot. We were you literally were back to back. I can’t remember the exact hours, but as soon as it goes dark, we can’t shoot. So wrap, go home, sleep a little bit, work on the lines for the next day. Come back super early. It was a challenge, not just in stamina, but also focus, to really not allow the tiredness to sink in. But I loved it. And I it made it so much more fun having Paul there because obviously we get on so well and make each other laugh. So it was just a fun, fun episode.

Steven Prusakowski: Such great chemistry between the two of you which is crucial. By the end the scope of emotions, and what you get to play and how you get to interact is also quite, quite powerful – ultimately a lot of fun and then it becomes much, much more. So bravo. What did you want to bring to La’an in this episode.

Christina Chong: For me, I just wanted to make her as relatable as possible, because I think everyone has had some form of loss and shame. I wanted people to connect to her on a very primal level. My thing is always when I’m when I’m working on preparing the characters is to put my personal experiences into her. Everything you see on that screen is something I’ve been through also. It’s just so easy with the La’an because I can relate so much to her. Even to the point of which is also coincides with my music, ”Twin Flames,’ you know? It’s just so funny, it wasn’t really planned like that, that it would come out with this episode, but I was going through a very similar experience at the time of shooting that episode of breaking up with a ‘twin flame.’ La’an and Kirk are twin flames and ‘Twin Flames’ is about having the same part of one soul or two parts of the same soul and you meet every four lifetimes and you never quite get together because there’s always something you need to heal in yourself before you can be together. It was very kind of cathartic and felt very easy to open up, because it was on the surface for me.

Steven Prusakowski: What a twist of fate that these two pieces of your art have this kind of connection to them. It’s amazing. I really enjoyed this episode. There’s so much going on. There’s a ton of stuff that’s not typically in your standard Star Trek episode: car chases, walking through a modern city… poutine. Did you have a favorite scene to shoot?

Christina Chong as La’an and Paul Wesley as Kirk in episode 203 “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+

Christina Chong: I will tell you this story, the most non-fun seem to shoot. That was the car scene, the interior of the car, because it was shot on the VR wall, a virtual reality wall. They shot the plates of Toronto, the outside of Toronto, projected it onto the virtual reality wall and then we brought the car into the studio. We were in the car and watching the screen move, but the car was stationary. You can imagine that creates motion sickness, and both Paul and I are massive motion sickness people. We were like, ‘Guys, we can’t do this. We can’t do it. We can’t look at the wall.’ We’re literally were getting out of the floor, getting out of the car onto the floor, heads and hands like, ‘Oh my god, we’re gonna throw up.’ We have plastic bags down by our feet and we had the seasickness tablets coming in. There was one scene, one take of it, where the camera must have been behind us. Yeah – looking at the wall, but it was behind us. We were doing the scene and we have to look forwards otherwise the cameras gonna see that. I’m looking up and trying not to feel sick and doing my lines. I say my line and then I look over to Paul and he’s got his eyes closed with his head down. Oh my God, it was the most funny moment. Literally we were just trying to survive shooting that scene. It was just the worst thing ever if you have motion sickness. So that’s a little story of the most non-fun to shoot.

Steven Prusakowski: I could totally imagine and it doesn’t sound like fun. It’s your atypical Star Trek story, but I love it. Well, thank you so much for your time. I’m really, really enjoyed this episode and am loving Strange New Worlds as a whole. Have a great day.

Christina Chong: Thank you, Steven. Bye.

Season two of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is streaming exclusively on Paramount+ with new episodes of the ten episode season premiering each Thursday.


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Written by Steven Prusakowski

Steven Prusakowski has been a cinephile as far back as he can remember, literally. At the age of ten, while other kids his age were sleeping, he was up into the late hours of the night watching the Oscars. Since then, his passion for film, television, and awards has only grown. For over a decade he has reviewed and written about entertainment through publications including Awards Circuit and Screen Radar. He has conducted interviews with some of the best in the business - learning more about them, their projects and their crafts. He is a graduate of the RIT film program. You can find him on Twitter and Letterboxd as @FilmSnork – we don’t know why the name, but he seems to be sticking to it.

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