"If it’s truthful, put it in"
Speaking to a room full of USC students, Park recalled how he developed his interest in acting whilst being a student at UCLA.
At the time, his parents were supportive of him starting his multiple theatre on campus but after graduation, they were less enthusiastic.
“My mom actually worked at UCLA … and she would hear first-hand stories about how hard it was,” Park said. “And she would tell me, especially as an Asian person, how impossible it would be.”
Whilst somewhat negative, the Korean American does recognise the truth behind his mother’s words.
“She was right, it was really hard,” he conceded. “I say my parents didn’t support my career, but with the perspective I have now, they really supported me during my pursuit of this career because they housed me, they fed me sometimes and maybe did my laundry here and there.”
“Ali and I are old friends, we’ve known each other for a very long time, I used to do standup, and we used to do it together,” he said. “We would talk about projects we wanted to work on and collaborate on little things and we’d always said we would want to maybe one day make a movie together; we both loved Rom-Coms… We were like, ‘why don’t we just write? We know there’s a demand for this story.’ So we just sat down, met every week and banged out a script.”
When asked about criticisms towards Fresh Off The Boat regarding perpetuating stereotypes, Park defended the show by highlighting the realism of the sitcom.
“Personally, I don’t look at a show like Fresh Off The Boat as being stereotypical; and I know that there are aspects, you can argue that there are aspects that are stereotypical but … we show so much more than that, like yeah [Jessica] is a strict mom, but she also loves her kids so much,” Park said. “So I think what’s most important is that whatever projects we continue to create, we just show people as human beings, like the whole scope of it, and not think too much of ‘oh is this going to be seen as stereotypical’ — if it’s truthful, put it in.”
In other news, Park recently announced that he is launching his own production company primarily for Asian American stories.