“Like most amazing ideas, it started off entirely as a joke"
Producer Sev Ohanian has confirmed theories that Searching had an alien invasion subplot.
As reported by Gizmodo, Searching producer and co-writer Sev Ohanian confirmed that the film had a subplot about an alien invasion.
Starring John Cho, Searching tells the story of young father David Kim who searches for his missing daughter. The entire film is told through computer and smartphone screens in a similar style to 2014’s Unfriended.
Aside from Cho’s intense and gripping performance, some eagle eyed viewers noticed other happenings on his character’s screens. Bizarrely, news stories, article headlines and comments all seemed to allude to an alien invasion.
Ohanian has now confirmed that the easter egg was purposely written in. “Like most amazing ideas, it started off entirely as a joke,” Ohanian said. “[The] joke was the idea that since we had to write a bunch of stuff anyway, maybe we could use the background of our movie to tell a completely separate plot from the main story.”
When Ohanian floated the idea to the film’s director Aneesh Chaganty, both initially laughed before seriously considering it.
“Maybe something REALLY crazy, ‘like aliens, how funny would that be?’ Aneesh laughed at the idea,” he said. “After a beat, I said, ‘No, but seriously Aneesh, what if we did it for real?’ And then Aneesh laughed even harder. And then I said, ‘Yeah I think we should definitely do an alien plot in the background of Searching.’ And then Aneesh stopped laughing. I don’t think he’s laughed since.”
The filmmakers were committed to the easter egg despite it becoming quite a challenge. “Trying to tell a massive Hollywood-style alien story using only snippets of news articles, or Facebook comments, or hashtags,” was the biggest challenge according to Ohanian.
In a spreadsheet provided by Ohanian, we are able to see how he tracked the alien subplot throughout the film.
“You can see the chart indicates which scene each segment should go in, and what the copy should say,” Ohanian said. “The photographs were all photoshopped by me of photos from our filmmaking team. The shot of the White House was from our editor Nick Johnson’s trip to DC a few years ago.”
Ohanian and Chaganty didn’t think viewers would notice the subplot for a while and were taken aback when it surfaced online.
“I remember the comments on Reddit as people started to point this out,” Ohanian said. “And that lead to quite a few people re-watching the film and posting all of their observations each time they saw it. One particular person mentioned they were about to buy their fourth ticket, and I intervened and bought it for them because I was so touched.”
“Our same filmmaking team is in production right now on our next film, Run,” he added. “And I can promise you that our commitment to fun easter eggs remains strong as ever. We got a cool reference to Searching planned, and there may actually be a reference to Run in Searching also.”
However, the alien invasion subplot does not really have any significance to the main story nor a potential sequel.
“[There were] no ulterior motives at all,” Ohanian said. “It was always intended to be purely a fun joke, and it definitely does not set up a sequel in any way. I swear.”
In related news, John Cho be honored at Kore Asian Media’s 2018 Unforgettable Gala.