“I made Netflix spend all this money on this movie just so that, as a 37-year-old mother of two, I could kiss Daniel Dae Kim and Keanu Reeves,” Ali Wong cracked to Variety at the premiere for her upcoming romantic comedy Always Be My Maybe.
Her co-star and the third piece to this romantic quadrangle, Randall Park commended her, saying, “She’s a genius.”
Wong and Park co-wrote and star in Always Be My Maybe, playing Sasha and Marcus, childhood friends who hook up in their teens, but have a falling out and lose touch for 15 years.
Sasha goes on to become a successful chef in Los Angeles and is engaged to restauranteur Brandon Choi (Kim), while Marcus is a struggling musician living at home with his dad.
The two reconnect when Sasha returns home to San Francisco to open a new restaurant, and it’s not long before sparks fly again until a mysterious man played by Reeves gets in the way.
Also read: Keanu Reeves says he is a lonely guy
“What a genius writer! She was like, I’m going to write this for me, Randall, Daniel Dae Kim and Keanu Reeves,” the film’s director, Nahnatchka Khan, echoed.
“He was the sort of ideal scenario,” Khan said, explaining how they landed Reeves. “You’re like, ‘Oh, this is probably never going to happen, but here it is.’
“And then he was sent the script and he responded. And we sat down with him and he had some great thoughts on the character. So, we revised it, sent it back to him. He was like, ‘Absolutely!’ ”
She continued: “We got him in this little window – I think he was wrapping John Wick in New York and then was about to go to Morocco or something. So, we got him for this short time. The fact that he was willing to do it, when he could have gotten to sleep for five days, is amazing.”
Always Be My Maybe may feel like a typical romantic comedy, but the Netflix film has an extra layer of depth by featuring two Asian-Americans in the lead roles and a host of diverse talent on-screen.
Wong, Park and Khan are already known for groundbreaking comedy with their contributions to Fresh Off The Boat – first prime time series about an Asian-American family on US network TV since the 1990s – where Wong has been a writer, Khan served as the creator and showrunner and Park is the star.
“When you have genres that have been around for a long time, like romantic comedy or horror, the thing that feels exciting and fresh is when you see people who haven’t normally been centred and then it suddenly, like, gets a new jolt,” Khan shared.
“For us, it was really just about working together, trying to make a great movie and I think that’s all extra,” Park said. “(The diversity conversation) is fantastic and it is a part of us; it’s important to us. But, if the movie sucks … ”
“Nobody would care and be like, ‘Oh hey guys, representation doesn’t matter. Go away representation’,” Wong jumped in, finishing his sentence. “For us, it was most important that we really have fun and that hopefully that fun shows up in the finished product.”
Ultimately, this was a highly personal project for Park and Wong, so it was fitting when life imitated art at the film’s premiere.
The comedic duo met during their college days at UCLA, when they performed in the LLC Theatre Company (a theatre and comedy group which Park co-founded). So having their film premiere near campus at the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood brought them back to their old stomping grounds.
“It’s surreal,” Park said of being back where their friendship all began. “It’s really a trip being in Westwood,” Wong added with a laugh, saying that they’d done a panel for UCLA students when she was pregnant with her first child.
“I haven’t set foot near this campus since, because it would be sad if we did.” – Reuters
Always Be My Maybe is now streaming on Netflix.