By Randall Yip, AsAmNews Executive Editor
Call it a trend or a blip on the screen, but One True Loves starring Tony nominee Phillipa Soo, Simu Liu, Michael Conlin and Luke Bracey throws conventional casting out the window for this romance movie.
The adaptation of Taylor Jenkin Reid’s novel of the same name stars Soo, whose father is Chinese and mom is White, playing Emma Blake. Michaela Conlin (Bones) plays her older sister Marie.
In the book, the race of neither character is Asian.
“I’m half Asian, my mother’s Chinese, my father is White, and I have an older sister,” said Conlin. “So there’s a lot of very personal feelings that I have towards a story like this. And, you know, getting to play Lauren Tom’s daughter and Michael O’Keefe daughter, it’s very kind of emotional to walk on the sidelines and see your parents look like your parents.”
Critics lauded Broadway’s Hamilton for which Soo is best known for its multicultural color-blind casting of the story of Alexander Hamilton. Still, this is not something that happens on most days.
“Things are improving, which I think is really nice,” Conlin told AsAmNews via Zoom. “You know, it doesn’t happen to me very often. So I was grateful I was able to do that.”
She said director Andy Fickman met Soo and “had a real connection with her and really liked her for the character.” She believes Fickman chose the best possible people for the roles and doesn’t know how casting Asian actors changed the movie.
In it, Emma marries her high school heartthrob, Jesse as played by Bracey. One day short of their first anniversary, Jesse’s helicopter goes down into the ocean and the bodies of the two people on board with him are found. Jesse is never found and presumed dead.
Fast forward four years later, Emma gets engaged to her best friend in high school, Sam (Simu Liu). He notices his fiancee’ crumble to the ground with the phone pressed against her ear. She just learned that Jesse wasn’t dead after all. He miraculously survived and will be soon heading to see her.
Emma must now choose between the man she’s engaged to or the man she married. It’s an emotional rollercoaster and fans will likely be choosing sides. Are you Team Jesse or Team Sam?
Older sister Marie isn’t either, or at least she’s not saying.
“Your family always weighs in on who they like or don’t like, whenever you’re dating someone, even if think Marie is smart enough to keep her mouth shut…Being on the periphery of such an emotional situation, especially with somebody that’s your sister is heavy,” Conlin said.
She has not yet seen the final cut of the movie so she doesn’t know what made it in and what got left on the edit room floor. Still, she thinks Marie is happy with the choice Emma makes in the end.
“I think that she has a real affection for both of those guys. I think she knows what’s best for her sister in true sisterly ways.”
She considers Marie very protective of her little sister and isn’t afraid to tell her the truth.
One True Loves opens in limited release in theaters, Friday April 7th. It will be on digital the following Friday.
(Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the theater release on April 7 would be nationwide. The release will be limited. There is also no firm date yet on when the movie will be available on DVD or Blu Ray.)
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