Randall Park: Moving Mountains through Movies


You’ve probably already seen one of Randall Park’s movies. His IMDB profile boasts several notable flicks and TV series: Aquaman, The Disaster Artist, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Trainwreck, The Interview, The Mindy Project and The Office, to name a few. Most recently, the hit series he stars in, “Fresh off the Boat”, was renewed for a 6th season, and the film “Always Be My Maybe”, co-written with co-star Ali Wong and fellow writer Mike Golamco, dominated Netflix and film reviews all over the net after its launch.

Born to Korean immigrant parents, Randall grew up in LA, very much connected to his TCK experience of being an Asian-American in the US. He completed a master's in Asian-American studies at UCLA, and most impressively, co-founded the LCC Theatre Company: a creative group of Asian-American college students who are still changing the diversity of the American acting landscape. Through their work, the LCC Theatre Company creates more opportunities for audiences to watch Asian-American actors, battling stereotypes and challenging dated norms about the talent we’re used to seeing in western arts. 

At the LCC Theatre Company, Randall met superstar comedian and actress, Ali Wong, and this is where, with fellow LCC member, Mike Golamco, the initial script for “Always Be My Maybe” was born. If you haven’t seen the film, it’s a must-watch, especially as a TCK. Yes, we’re invited into Randall and Ali’s characters' homes, where we see some of the struggles and the intimate cultural moments of being Asian-American—a nod to our own cross-cultural upbringings. More importantly, though, we see two TCKs expertly lead a film with masterful (and hilarious) story-telling that will make you howl with laughter, mist-up, and then wonder: “why the hell haven’t more Asian-American stars been cast in western films like this?” This movie is certain to continue the momentum of changing our non-diverse, mainstream film experiences, which began with the blockbuster “Crazy Rich Asians” a few months ago and is continuing with films like “The Farewell”, which is still in theatres and receiving impressive critical acclaim.

I first really saw Randall Park in the TV series “Fresh Off The Boat”, and was instantly smitten. The comedy is centered around celebrity chef Eddie Huang’s memoir of the same name, where we watch his Asian-American family setting themselves up in American suburbia, constantly pulled between the East and the West. The show is a ton of fun, the characters are extremely likable and, even as a Sri Lankan-Australian who grew up in Dubai, I found I was chuckling along at our shared TCK experiences through many episodes. 

Randall Park’s dedication towards representing the Asian-American experience through his craft, his skill and the recognition he has brought to his work is reshaping our popular film and television landscape. He has been paving the way for more Asian-American actors since the beginning of his career, allowing more TCK actors (to this day!) to be recognized for their undeniable talent in a field where they have historically been unfairly underrepresented and stereotyped. It’s an exciting time to be an Asian-American TCK in the mainstream film industry! As the audience, it’s an absolute pleasure watching actors like Randall Park continue to grow the category so more diverse stories can be told. 

Do you think any of your TCK cultures are fairly represented in your industry? Do you know any groups in your field that are trying to promote change? Tell us more in the comments below!

Learn more:

Check out The LCC Theatre Company, their upcoming shows, and events!

This is a very personal interview by Vulture about Randall Park, his family, and his career, with a few stories from Ali Wong and their journey to create ”Always Be My Maybe”, too.

Jimmy Kimmel & Randall Park chat about his parents' attitude towards being an actor. It takes an odd turn at the end with an awkward graphic design job he had, but it’s still a fun interview to watch!

Photo: Clarke Tolton