By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent
Netflix this week released a podcast with commentary from director Nahnatchka Khan and actor Randall Park to go along with their hit movie, Always Be My Maybe.
The two gave fans a sneak peek of what you might expect from the podcast when they made a surprise appearance, along with Ali Wong, in San Francisco after an advance screening in May.
Wong revealed during a 2016 interview with the New Yorker that she and Park had a desire to do an Asian version of When Harry Met Sally. That lead to calls for a script when, in reality, there was no script.
The two then began collaborating. Khan, was not yet even in the picture. When approached, she declined the opportunity thinking she would be too busy.
“Nanahtchka was advising us on writing the script, but when it came time to find a director, she was busy,” said Wong. “She was committed to this other movie. When that fell through, she became available. We snatched her. Thank God, it all worked out.”
This is Khan’s first feature film and a reunion of working buddies. She served as executive producer of Fresh Off the Boat for its first five season. Wong worked on her crew as a writer from seasons 1-4 and Park, of course, costars as Eddie Hung’s father, Louis.
“I got to make a movie with my friends,” said Khan. “We had such a great time . We shot in Vancouver and SF last summer. It happened so fast.”
Khan and Park quickly learned during filming how cold San Francisco’s foggy weather can be.
“It’s a tundra. Do not be fooled by its beauty,” Wong, a native San Franciscan, said to the two others.
In Always Be My Maybe,” Park plays Marcus, lifelong best buds with Wong’s character, Sasha. They had high hopes for their film and decided to dream big. That dream lead to Keanu Reeves making a guest appearance.
“We had a whole A list,” said Park of actors they wanted to bring on board. “We’ll never tell you who’s on that list, but yeah, there was no way we were going to get that person. Netflix and our producers Nathan (Kahane) and Erin (Westerman) were like let’s just try and we tried and it happened magically.”
The idea wasn’t just to bring on an A list star. The idea was to bring one on whose character would add to the movie.
“I think when he, Marcus, finally decides he has feelings for her, we thought in terms of story , it would be great to have somebody who would be Marcus’ worst nightmare,” said Wong. “We thought who would be his worst nightmare. It should be an Asian American icon who could act (as himself) and who is also funny and willing to make fun of himself. Only one person in the entire universe fits the first three of those parameters.”
They sent a script to Reeves, who to their surprise, really took the opportunity seriously.
“He read it and liked it and wanted to meet with us,” said Khan. “I was really impressed that he read the whole script. Like he didn’t just read his section. We talked about his role in the movie and how it affects Marcus character. He had a lot of funny ideas and pitches. We went back, revised the script and sent it back He was like ‘I’ll do it.'”
Reeves took the script and made it his own. Park says the whole idea of glasses without lenses came from Reeves. He also improvised much of the shadowboxing scene.
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