“Missing,” the standalone sequel to the popular 2018 thriller “Searching,” will be released tomorrow with Aneesh Chaganty returning as a producer and writer. The new film uses footage and internet communication to solve the whereabouts of a girl’s missing mother.
“Missing” stars Nia Long and Storm Reid as a mother-daughter duo and features a supporting cast with Asian American actors Daniel Henney, Megan Suri and Ken Leung. While vacationing in Colombia, Grace Allen (Nia Long) goes missing along with with her new boyfriend (Ken Leung). Her daughter, June (Storm Reid), panics and begins to search for her mother online from her residence in Los Angeles. After discovering new information, June starts to question how well she actually knew her mother.
The innovative use of digital sleuthing as the backbone of the movie proves that a film can be emotionally gripping without live action scenes. In an interview with AsAmNews, Chaganty discussed the importance of capturing daily moments that resonate with audiences.
“It took a lot of conversations about software, sounds and applications we showed in the film and realizing that all this technical stuff works only when the story behind it is about family, relationships and has emotion,” said Chaganty.
“Web browsing usually involves zero emotion, so we had to hone in on the critical moments in our daily lives which are somewhat meaningful and the actions carried out on the computer like uploading photos, using voicemail, texts and emptying the file trash, which would evoke these feelings,” Chaganty added.
Though planning for “Missing” was done prior to the pandemic (“Searching” was made in 2018), its format mimics the move to remote, online communication that has became prevalent.
“It’s weird that our film concept which started with ‘Searching’ and now with ‘Missing’ was all planned prior to the pandemic,” said Chaganty. “When the pandemic hit, we adjusted elements of ‘Missing’ to be even more relevant in showing the significance technology plays in keeping the world alive and sane.”
Besides technology, “Missing” also shows the importance of featuring a culturally diverse cast. Chaganty says cultural diversity is important to films, but it needs to be more than a buzzword or checklist. For him, it’s about seeing cultural diversity as a part of everyday American life and judging films by their story instead of the characters’ skin color.
“Just walk around the streets of America and you will see mixed race relationships, friendships, and family units. For me, cultural diversity in my films is a default reaction,” said Chaganty.
“Being Asian, Black, Hispanic, or Native American in film and TV is what America looks like, and instead of always pointing it out as cultural diversity, we need to say this is America, and our films, TV and media need to reflect this.”
“Missing” will be released in theaters on January 20, 2023.
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