Randall Park talks about stereotypes and taking risks
As THE father of the Huang family in Fresh Off The Boat, Randall Park has a tough job, of keeping it all together. His character and their family move from the comforts of Washington DC to the predominantly white suburbs of Orlando, in the 90s. Opening his own steakhouse, he feels it is a great opportunity, but the family doesn’t. Lead actor Park explains what he thinks of the show, meeting the real Huang family and how an Asian family takes centrestage on television after 20 years, to bring Louis Huang’s son Eddie Huang’s memoirs to life.
What research went into prepping?
I studied the memoir, I obsessively listened to recordings of the real Louis Huang, and I’ve been taking Mandarin classes to get a better grasp of the character’s voice and accent. I also talked to the producers about the character to make sure that he was more than just an Asian version of the classic cheesy American sitcom dad.
Stereotype versus reality.
Before the series went into production, I was very mindful of these things. I felt the pressure from the community for this show to represent “properly”, to be as authentic as possible without being stereotypical or offensive. But the scripts are not only funny, they are extremely smart. I think the show does a good job of humanising our characters. I’m proud to say that viewers feel the same way.
Meeting Eddie and Louis Huang.
The real Louis Huang is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. Louis showed us the original location of the real Cattleman’s Ranch steakhouse. I noticed all these people in the area started coming out to say hello to him, to shake his hand. It was like he was the mayor of Orlando. I saw firsthand that this was a man of the people. Everyone loved him, and he loved everyone back. That’s definitely an aspect of the Louis we see on the show.
The importance of a family show.
It’s something that we all can relate to. That’s why it’s really important that we start showcasing more families with unique perspectives and different points of view. It reminds people that despite all our differences, we are all ultimately human beings, getting into trouble and getting out of it, family intact.
The Interview created an uproar. Was it worth the risks?
Risks are worth taking, especially in comedy, and especially if those risks are taken for a good reason. Despite everything that happened, I love the movie we made, and I’m proud to have been a part of it.
What’s next for you?
I’m really excited about being in the upcoming Wet Hot American Summer series on Netflix. I also have a little part in Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck, written by and starring the amazing Amy Schumer. Aside from these and some other projects, I’m just enjoying any downtime I can get, spending it with my family and friends.Weekdays on Star World, at 8.30 pm