Actress Brenda Song grew up on the popular Disney Channel show, ‘The Suite Life of Zack and Cody,’ playing the role of London Tipton. She’s not from Hawaii, but Brenda Song was right at home while on Oahu to shoot a movie for Lifetime.
By Kerry Miller
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She’s not from Hawaii, but Brenda Song was right at home while on Oahu to shoot a movie for Lifetime. The star of Disney Channel’s The Suite Life of Zack and Cody made the most of her island stay and sat down with MidWeek to chat about her career, leaving her teenage years behind and on which famous actor she has a secret crush.
“Since I’ve been here I’ve gone on a dolphin excursion, I went whale watching, I went hiking, we went into a shark cage, which was so amazing I recommend everyone to do it,” says Song excitedly. “There were like sharks swimming around us. We were hyperventilating, suffocating the first 10 minutes. So once it calmed down, it was so beautiful and so surreal.
“I really can’t believe I did it, but it was amazing, amazing. It’s one of those things, like the top 20 things you do before you die. I have it checked off,” she laughs.
Song’s mother, Mai, who came with her to Hawaii, accompanied her to some of Oahu’s hot spots, including Waikiki, the Waianae coast, Haleiwa and Sandy’s and Kailua beaches.
“I love having my mom with me,” she adds. “It’s nice, because she’s also like my best friend, so it’s really cool. It’s cheesy, but it’s true.
“Haleiwa is my favorite town, and so is Kailua. Now that we’re here in Turtle Bay it’s been absolutely breathtaking. I got to see a lot. I’ve been really lucky, like the first time I went flying, as I like to say. (It’s my) ‘First time in Hawaii’period. It’s been an amazing stay,“gushes Song.
When she wasn’t playing the part of a tourist, Song was shooting scenes at Turtle Bay for Special Delivery, a Lifetime movie that will air this Christmas.
“It stars Lisa Edelstein from House and Robert Grant, who’s on Queer as Folk. It’s a great film - she’s a courier, a special courier, and she has a job with a businessman in China, (and) he has something that he wants her to deliver, and it’s me, “Song explains.” She has to deliver me to my mom in Hawaii. There’s a whole lot of twists and turns. I can’t say too much about it, but let’s say that my dad, he hasn’t been completely honest, and there’s some people after us.
“It’s fun; it’s a movie about forgiveness,whether it’s forgiving yourself or a friend or a parent, and it kind of shows two versions of that, which means her story and mine.”
Song spent about a month on Oahu working on the movie, leaving to return to her life as a TV star in California.
Song shot her final scenes for The Suite Life of Zack and Cody when the series ended its run in the summer of 2007. She spent a lot of her young life on the show.
“We started shooting in 2004.We finished after three and a half years. I basically grew up on the show. I was 16 (when the show began). It’s been an amazing time. I learned how to drive on the show; I’ve actually started driving now. The boys are learning how to drive. Kim Rhodes just had a baby, Tabitha Jane. We’ve really become a family and it was really sad, but, you know,it’s a beautiful thing,“she says.
While it was sad to leave the original series behind, Song’s character, London Tipton, will live on in the Suite Life spin-off, Suite Life on Deck, which went into production in March.
“Disney wanted to do a spin-off, and so now the Suite Life instead of being in a hotel, will be on a boat. We’ll be traveling different places.
It opens a lot of new doors for a lot of new characters and a lot of new settings. It’ll be really, really fun. I’m really excited,” Song exclaims.
“Some characters are going to be (in the new show), but we are leaving some characters behind. But they will guest star on the show and play recurring roles.”
One of the most exciting moments Song had while on the set of the original Suite Life was when Matt Damon stopped by the set.
“His stepdaughter came to watch the show, and I almost died when I met him. Like, I almost died. He’s not just gorgeous, but such a great person. He’s so sweet, so nice and down to earth. He was so nice and he talked to me, I was like ‘ohmygod, I love you. Will you marry me?’” she recalls.
Song lives in Los Angeles with her mom, dad and two brothers, Timmy (17) and Nathan (12).
When this self-proclaimed geek isn’t working, you might find her cooking, reading or zoning out - but don’t sneak up on her, because she might just kick your butt.
“I’ve been doing (tae kwon do) for nine years, 10 now, but I’ve had to stop it because of bad injuries. I learned how to do wu shu and Shaolin Kung Fu. So it’s been really fun. It’s great self-discipline, and I really learned what my body can do and what it can’t do,“she laughs.
“I’m such a geek, you have no idea. I like to sing in the shower and I like to dance in the mirror,” she adds.
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