Ali Wong and Randall Park talk Always Be My Maybe, D'Angelo, and romance
In Always Be My Maybe, Ali Wong and Randall Park play childhood friends who reconnect as adults. And while the actors haven’t known each other since their youngest years — rather, they met in college while doing improv — the bond between them is one of the many elements that make the film feel authentic, sweet, and wildly funny. EW dug in on Wong and Park’s rom-com favorites and a scene in the film that features an assist from an R&B star.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you guys always want to do a rom-com together?
ALI WONG: I remember it always being a rom-com, and Randall and I have the same taste in movies. We love When Harry Met Sally and Boomerang.
RANDALL PARK: We had always talked about writing a movie together one day. They did a profile on Ali in the New Yorker, and she had mentioned this project in passing and they wrote about it in the profile. That little piece got picked up by Vulture and some other outlets and it became this letter to Hollywood and before we knew it we were getting calls for the script, and we didn’t have a script, so we decided to sit down and work on it.
Did you always envision yourselves starring in it?
WONG: Randall, I remember you called me and I was sitting in a super 80s trailer, that is all orange on the inside and the only thing I could do to decorate was to give it a southwestern look with blankets from Pendleton to make it not feel like the sperm of George Hamilton was everywhere. You were like, I think we should do our version of When Harry Met Sally, and I thought that initially he had meant, I want you to write something for me to star in. Then he was like, no, I think it should be us starring in it.
Nahnatchka Khan directed the film, who you’ve both worked with on Fresh Off The Boat, was she always signed on to direct?
PARK: She was involved with another movie before, right?
WONG: It was gonna be the first movie she was gonna direct, it was a very big deal and very exciting. We were bummed that she was not available, and then as soon as we found out she was available, we kidnapped her.
PARK: We drove up slowly in a car…
WONG: Put a black bag over her head…knocked her out…
PARK: Put her in the trunk…tied her up and said, “you’re gonna direct this movie.”
It’s nice to see people coming into their own in their 30s in the film. People feel like you’re supposed to have it all together at that point.
WONG: We enjoy things that are grounded, but then we’re still fans of big laughs. I always go back to Boomerang, because that movie is so grounded. You remember Halle Berry is the underdog? That’s the ungrounded part. They didn’t even give her a pair of glasses!
PARK: [Boomerang] is a classic, and the ways it depicts black people working together and friends with each other. That’s not the point of the movie, but it is a part of their reality. We wanted to show these Asian-Americans living their lives without much emphasis on the Asian-American.
How much of the script was your own childhood experiences?
WONG: The movie is titled Always Be My Maybe because everybody has somebody from their past that they wonder about.
Prior to this film, had either of you made out to D’Angelo in a car before?
PARK: Ali and I have known each other for so long, things like that D’Angelo song are such huge parts of our life.
WONG: That was a fantasy. I want to make out to D’Angelo! [Laughs]
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Always Be My Maybe