New Delhi: “Searching” star John Cho says it was sad to read about the bullying that “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” actor Kelly Marie Tran went through.
Tran, in a New York Times Op-Ed opened up about deleting her social media account after being subjected to severe sexist and racist trolling for her role of Rose Tico in the film, which, she said, fed into her own childhood insecurity of growing up as an Asian-American star in America.
Cho, one of the prominent Asian-American actors in Hollywood, said he was emotional after reading the “forceful” statement from Tran.
“When I learnt the bullying that Loan (Tran) was going through, I felt tremendously sad. I find that people somehow tend to be meaner online. They tend to pick up fights that they would not face-to-face.
“But it also galvanised a lot of support for her. The only positive thing to come from this, if any, is that it brought this forceful statement from Kelly. I found it quite an emotional read and I think it is something that resonated around the world,” Cho told PTI in a phone interview from Los Angeles.
Asian-American stories and actors are having a groundbreaking moment in Hollywood with the success of “Crazy Rich Asians” and all the positive buzz surrounding Cho’s technology-driven thriller “Searching”, which hits the screen tomorrow.
In the film, being released in India by Sony Pictures Entertainment, Cho plays the role of a recently widowed man, who wakes up one day to find his teenage daughter missing. He starts to look for clues on websites, social media, smartphones and computer screens.
The thriller, that premiered at Sundance Film Festival to good reviews, is directed by Indian-American Aneesh Chaganty.
Cho revealed that he initially refused the film because of all the technology involved but Chaganty conviced him otherwise.
“Aneesh reached out to me personally and explained how he would make it look like a traditional thriller. I was just bowled over by what a charismatic and intelligent person he was. I realised he can do it.”
The film is being called as the next big project to drive the momentum ahead about authentic Asian-American stories.
Cho said he is hopeful about the future but also acknowledges the contribution and mentorship of films and people that preceded his work.
“What is happening is that the audience is getting more boisterous. They are getting louder and they are being heard.”
The 46-year-old actor, best known to the viewers internationally for his role in franchise films such as “Star Trek” and “Harold and Kumar”, believes American public has always been open to diverse faces but the studios have been slow to realise the potential of telling varied stories.
“The studios are realising that actually it is great publicity. Putting together a diverse cast attracts positive attention. People tend to like it, so why not?”
Citing the example of “Harold and Kumar”, which he did with Indian-American actor Kal Penn, Cho said it would not have worked with white actors but became memorable because the lead faces came from different ethnicities.
Asked whether there were any plans to come up with another “Star Trek” movie, he said, “I don’t know anything about it yet”.
He is, however, more enthusiastic about a possible fourth film in “Harold and Kumar” series and even has a new idea.
“I have talked with them and I had a fun idea for number four. They (Harold and Kumar) have to deal with being an adult as now they have children. I don’t know if it will ever get made but I would love to do one.”
Meanwhile, he would next be seen in “Grudge” reboot, for which he has finished shooting.
“I think we are coming out next year. We wrapped it already. I am very excited. It was a great acting experience with a wonderful director (Nicolas Pesci), who had a real sense of vision and worked with this amazing actor Betty Gilpin, who was in this wonderful show called ‘Glow’. It was a great joy to paint the portrait of a family with her in this film. (PTI)
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