"The family looked a lot like mine, especially the dad"
John Cho has revealed that one of the main reasons for taking on the lead in Searching was its Korean American family.
When asked if the script originally featured a Korean family, Cho replied, “Yes. That was one of the reasons I wanted to do it. Aneesh is from San Jose. The movie is a valentine to his family. That was one of the payoffs of the movie for me, as well.”
“There is a whole Asian-American family, and no one is running away from their culture. They love one another. The family looked a lot like mine, especially the dad, and so it was unexpectedly meaningful to me.”
In the film, Cho plays young father David Kim who searches for his missing daughter. Kim enlists the help of a detective played by Debra Messing, but realises he is ultimately left to his own devices. The film is told entirely through computer and smartphone screens, in a similar fashion to 2014’s Unfriended.
Cho revealed in the GQ interview how the film was shot to give the effect of a laptop camera. “Shooting was weird,” Cho said. “My favorite stuff was the stuff that was more traditional, like when we were creating all those memories with the daughter.”
“Then we went into the computer stuff, and that was very strange, because it was very specific. But there was nothing there. Like these tiny movements with your eyeballs would be a plot point.”
He added that the camera was very close to his face. “It was the distance of a laptop. We used a GoPro, not an actual laptop, but they had a dummy laptop so I could mime typing.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Cho discussed being a symbol for Asian American representation.