S THE father of the Huang family
in Fresh Off The Boat, Randall
Park has a tough job of keeping it
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 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
to our show 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 personally 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 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.
— Aakanksha Devi