Right now, chances are the name Jennifer Tung doesn't mean squat to you. But trust your friends at TV Guide Online — by the time the weekend is through, you will at least recognize her face. You see, Sunday night at 9 pm ET, she not only returns as Chuck Norris's daughter in A Line in the Sand, a sequel to the 2000 CBS movie The President's Man, she also begins a two-part guest gig as Quentin Tarantino's sidekick on ABC's spy yarn, Alias.
"I don't know how I got that role," she says, bowled over by her good fortune. "It was originally written for a man. Then, at the last minute, the wardrobe department asked, 'Who's Tony? Is it a boy or a girl?' And they decided it would be more interesting to make it a love interest" for Tarantino's character, the ringleader of a band of badass renegade operatives.
Believe it or not, Tung's luck didn't run out with her Alias counterpart's sex change, either. "I was supposed to die in the first episode," she reveals. "I got shot. But a few days later, the producers said, 'We don't want you to die.' So instead, they made me a double agent who speaks with a British accent. And that, because I'm Chinese, made me so happy, to break out of that whole stereotypical mold."
Of course, the Armageddon stuntperson didn't leave her fate entirely to destiny. Rather, no matter how much it hurt, she took advantage of every opportunity that Alias presented to her. "We did a scene where the director said, 'Run for your life!'" she recalls, "and since I didn't have a bra on at the time, I really looked like I was running for my life. Oh, the pain!"
Even if you miss watching the actress suffer for her art on Sunday, it's still almost inevitable that you will catch a glimpse of her in the next few days. "You're drunk too much," she jokes, if you miss all the ads that are currently running for Kung Pow – Enter the Fist, the martial-arts parody (opening wide Jan. 25) in which she plays Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls screenwriter Steve Oedekerk's spiritual adviser. "I have one breast in the movie," she says, "and it's a rather large one."Although bringing to the screen a babe whose singular abnormality is sure to cause double takes might give pause to better-known "names," the up-and-comer eagerly dares to be different. "I love the sexy woman in the stilettos who's slowly walking toward you... then she has a booger hanging out of her nose. That's real," she declares, "and that's good."