By Erin Chew, AsAmNews Staff Writer
If you grew up in the days of VHS and DVDs, a Friday night out with the family to choose a movie to rent at Blockbuster may provoke fond memories and nostalgia. But now with the internet and streaming services, the days of going out to rent a movie has been phased out and by 2019, the only Blockbuster store to remain was located in Bend, Oregon.
Hence, in an ironic twist of fate and time, Netflix released on Thursday, November 3, its original comedy series titled Blockbuster. And yes, its premise will be based upon the idea of saving the last-standing Blockbuster store. Starring Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) and Melissa Fumero (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) among other comedic actors, the series is about longtime Blockbuster store manager Timmy Yoon (Park) who learns that he has to run the outlet as a small business and offer a human touch to compete with the streaming services.
Park who plays the leading man of this series adds his usual comedic charm and all round nice guy persona which adds character to the series.
“For Timmy, working at Blockbuster and now owning the store is the greatest job for him, because of his passion and love of movies,” Park said during an interview with AsAmNews. “Timmy is also a people’s fanatic and to have that human connection makes up who he is.”
The role and series resonate with Park because it bought back memories of his working at his father’s photo store. These experiences coupled with Blockbuster nostalgia helped him get into character and make the script his.
“I would go there and help him out at the store and I witnessed over time the challenges and struggles it took to keep that store afloat. The desire to struggle and keep something alive is a feeling that is real to me, and that is what I put into the role and why I said yes after reading the script for Blockbuster”.
Despite playing a character with an Asian background, the series is not about cultural identity nor does it focus on it. Park plays a character which is just a regular American trying everything he can to save his business and at the same time form relationships and bonds with his employees and the community. Park mentions that it is great when Asian American actors like him can work on projects where he is just a regular guy,
“I think it’s great when projects do focus on cultural identity, but it is also great when it doesn’t, because our daily lives is really about us living it and not just who we are ethnically”.
Finally, the topic of the representation of Asian males in Hollywood and American TV was raised. Park passionately spoke about how things have changed significantly, but the fact that the conversation is still being discussed in the mainstream means there is still room for improvement.
“I will say that a lot of positive change has happened of late- which is good. I think we are entering a phase where we are seeing more nuanced portrayals of Asian characters, and we are seeing this as well with Asian men. We are starting to see a level playing field”.
The “Blockbuster” limited series will be streaming on Netflix from November 3.
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