The film that depicts the LA riots from a Korean American perspective will be released on 18 August 2017
Justin Chon and David So participated in an ‘Ask Me Anything’ Reddit thread to promote their upcoming film Gook.
Directed by Chon, Gook marks the 25th anniversary of the LA riots in which tensions between the Korean American community and African American community escalated violently. The film was inspired by Chon’s own experience in which his family’s store was looted during the riots.
Although Gook has already screened at Sundance Film Festival and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, its official release to the wider public is on 18 August 2017.
To promote the film, Chon and fellow co-star David So ran an ‘Ask Me Anything’ thread on Reddit. Participants asked a variety of questions about the upcoming film as well as questions related to the wider Asian American community.
When asked about how the demand for Chon’s acting and directing as an Asian American has changed over the years, the 21 And Over actor replied, “My perspective on things have changed a lot over the years. Earlier on i fell in love with acting. but over the last 16 years i started to realize my options as an asian american actor were very limited [sic]. so ive come to realize that creating my own films in addition to the more mainstream work i do is very important in changing that reality [sic].”
“I’m just trying to do my part to slowly change the way we are represented in film/television.”
Chon also took the opportunity to praise So, as well as jokingly knocking him too. “also david has done a huge part on youtube to represent asian americans[sic],” Chon said. “He doesn’t play into those stereotypical portrayals of asian americans. he’s not quiet, he’s not polite, and he’s disgusting as fuck. hahahahaha”
The actor and director also expressed the importance of promoting Asian American voices. “As an asian american i feel its important that asian american voices are supported in media[sic]. especially when they aren’t stereotypical roles where we are represented as nerds and accountants even though i’m totally a nerd and am good at accounting.”
When asked about how the Asian community and black community can come together in LA, So emphasised the importance of education. “Two communities that hurt in two different ways is hard to bridge together,” So began. “We actually highlight this in the film with the relationship between two of the characters. When people of different communities hurt and different ways its hard to empathize with each others struggles. Immigrants have a hard time understanding the black community as well as the black community have a hard time understand Asian immigrants.”
“At the end of the day education and reaching out is the best way to do it. I see it in my small community in Sacramento and even with My parent’s small business in Sacramento. We own an African American beauty supply store and we have been a staple in the community for 28 years. It’s going to take the youth who can see both sides of each community to bridge that gap.”
So, who is known primarily for his YouTube channel, was asked how his experience behind a film camera differs from being behind a camera for YouTube.
“It’s WAY different,” So said, comparing the two experiences. “A real film set is nothing like a youtube production or sketch. Time, money, crew, vision, complications, script, acting, you name it, the level of artistry is NOT THE SAME. Film making isn’t like 6 second vine clip or a 3 minutes sketch you know? It was difficult and way beyond anything I’ve ever been involved with.”