Retirement gave Mike and Lori Jeong their shot at Hollywood stardom. Well, maybe they’re not movie stars, but you can see them in movies and television as long as you don’t blink.
They are background actors, or extras, and have been in films including “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” “Kong: Skull Island,” “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”and “Godzilla,” as well as the television shows “Hawaii Five-0,” “Off the Map” and “Last Resort.”
Their “big break” came during a walk in Chinatown in 2012. “Our friend told us that there was an open casting call up the street for a movie,” Mike Jeong said.
They went to the casting call, got their picture taken and were called to the set of “Journey 2.”
They got to meet and talk with the movie’s star, Dwayne Johnson, whom Lori Jeong didn’t recognize at first. “I didn’t know who he was,” she admitted. “During our conversation, he said that he’s an old pro at what he’s doing.” Then she found out the breadth of his experience.
Their work as extras led them to take acting lessons and now they have an agent, who gets them TV commercials and other work. Mike Jeong even got a speaking role on “Hawaii Five-0.”
The Jeongs maintain an active life in retirement. Mike Jeong is 69 and Lori says she is a “couple of years older.”
Lori Jeong, who ran a fashion design and sewing pattern company called Lifestyle Patterns, retired in 2000 and was a caregiver for her mother until she passed away. Mike Jeong retired 2014 as an accountant, but still does some part-time accounting work. In addition to their film and TV work, Lori Jeong still works as a real estate agent.
Their flexible schedule allows them to show up on movie and TV sets whenever they are called.
“It’s fun to do,” Lori said.
They are also avid bicycle riders and karaoke singers, which helped them land extra roles in a couple of productions.
They rode their bikes for a scene in “Last Resort.” “There were chicken, dogs and kids playing soccer,” said Lori Jeong. “And they wanted us to ride our bikes through them without hitting any one of them.”
They were also asked to be in a karoke scene for the film “Waikiki.”
That role came naturally. Mike and Lori Jeong have participated in many karaoke contests at the Shore Bird in Waikiki.
“It was fun,” said Mike. “We’d sing until 1:30 am. We were the last people to leave.”