It took a long time for Randall Park to get the chance to direct “Flaws,” an adaptation of the 2007 Adrian Tomine comic that premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.
“I first fell in love (with the book) when it came out in 2007. And I always wanted to see it as a movie,” the “Always Be My Maybe” actor said in an interview at IndieWire Studios in Sundance. introduced by Dropbox. “I was about the same age as Ben (the main character). And I said, “God, I would love to play Ben. That would be really cool. But it was never made into a movie at the time, especially.”
Years and years later, after breaking out as an actor in “The Interview” and “Fresh Off the Boat,” and even directing episodes of the latter, Park learned that Tomine had written the screenplay based on his films. book about Ben, Miko, and Alice, three Bay Area natives navigating their ever-evolving interpersonal relationships, and offered to direct and produce it. The fact that the main characters happen to be Asian Americans has contributed to the film’s lengthy development, as Hollywood has only recently begun to tell more and more stories centered around people of color.
But the cast, also present at Sundance’s IndieWire Studio, all think that everyone can see a part of themselves in Ben. For example, star Justin H. Min said, “I relate to Ben in so many ways. I told Randall before we started filming that I was Ben, pre-therapy, unfortunately, and so it was such a joy to play this really complex, nuanced character who has so many sides and layers. And again, as Asian Americans, it’s very rare that we have the opportunity to play these pages for ourselves.”
Actresses Ally Maki and Sherry Cola, who play Ben’s girlfriend Miko and best friend Alice, respectively, have described how their character arcs both involve a change that Ben is not too fond of. “This film, as Randall said, is about separation, change and evolution,” Cola said. “Ben was very set in his ways, but we were all Ben.”
Maki added that Ben “a lot of times you’re not wrong, you just do it,” and Min conveys that beautifully. Although the cast espoused the universal themes of “Flaws,” there were aspects of the film that were personal to the actress. “It was the first time I really saw Japanese-American characters and a strong Japanese-American female character,” said Maki, who is a fourth-generation Japanese American. “It made so much sense to me to see characters like that on screen and in the script when I first read it, because I’d never really read anything like that.”
“Flaws” premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Currently looking for distribution.
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