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John Cho Interview: Searching

John Cho is an actor best known for his comedic roles, especially in the Harold & Kumar and American Pie franchises. He has gotten action roles like Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek film series.  Now, Cho gets to show off his dramatic side in his newest film Searching. He plays David Kim, a father whose daughter goes missing at college.  Told mostly from the point-of-view of smartphones and computer screens, Cho pushes himself as an actor in this thriller.

Screen Rant: John, amazing job on this film. You guys started off, give me this Up moment from like the Pixar film in it, and then it just kind of breaks down from there. This film has a lot to do with technology, but its core and its heart, it's about a father and what he would do a for his daughter. How far he’d go for his daughter. Why did this story resonate with you?

John Cho: First of all, the character was someone I could really, really easily relate to. Soon as your wife gets pregnant, you start worrying.  That worrying muscle is born and before your kids born. And it never really lets up. So, I get that. I was really excited about doing… contributing to this genre, make, playing in this particular sandbox. Because I hadn't done this kind of movie, hadn't done a thriller. I like them. They're making less and less of them. And so, that was the real pull for me.

Screen Rant: It was crazy, because watching this film, I almost felt like I was almost living it with you.  And at times, during particular times in the film, you also, not only as an actor, but you're also kind of playing a camera operator in a lot of scenes too. How difficult was that as an actor? Because you're trained not to look at a camera. And in this film, you're almost trained to have to look at a camera. So, how difficult was that for you?

John Cho: It was just weird. I mean, it was unsettling because I'm just doing everything the opposite of what I typically do. So, I just didn't get a real rhythm going and I think maybe some of the discomfort was probably useful. I just didn't have any handles to hold onto while making this movie. Yeah, it was unusual.

Screen Rant: Another part of this film that I really enjoyed was the story's pretty deep. So, when you first opened the script and started reading through it, and you knew kind of what it was, what was your first initial reactions to that?

John Cho: I mean, there was a lot of huh, what, how? And the ending, I didn't see coming. Did you see coming?

Screen Rant: No. But when you start seeing pieces click together and you can almost hear our audience be like, oh! It was those audible gasps.

John Cho: Yeah. So, for me, I said, all we have to do is advance the story. I didn't sweat my acting that much, because I thought this story so good. All we have to do is stay true to… just tell the story. It's a great who-done-it.

Screen Rant: Right, right, right. I mean, the story also touches on the downside of social media and technology, but also the helpfulness of it as well. What do you want people to take away from that?

John Cho: I don't know if I'm trying to put anything out there, but for me I came to the realization that I'm online a lot more than I was willing to admit.  We're just… I just thought it wasn't online that much, but if you add up those minutes, it's just, it's a lot very quickly.

Screen Rant: A lot of self-reflection on this guy too once after seeing the movie.

John Cho: Oh yeah?

Screen Rant: A little bit. So, just changing gears for a second. A couple of weeks ago I was talking to Simon Pegg and he's really -

John Cho: Who's that? [playing confused]

Star Trek Beyond - Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Sulu (John Cho)
Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Sulu (John Cho) in Star Trek Beyond

Screen Rant: Your buddy Simon Pegg from Star Trek.

John Cho: That doesn't ring a bell.

Screen Rant: He talked about how excited he was to for Star Trek 4. And now I know the Quintin Tarantino is a possibly doing a Star Trek? Where would you want to see that franchise go?

John Cho: Listen, the answer, it sounds trite, but goes where it always does. Which is, comment on the world we're living in. Give us hope for… I feel like Star Trek appeals to the better angels that are in our nature. And…is that the phrase better angels in our nature?

Screen Rant: It is now.

John Cho: It is now. And so, I think it appeals to the best in humanity. And so, I'm sure wherever it goes it will be thinking about where we are as a people and how we can get better. And that is what I love about Star Trek.

MORE: Watch The Searching Trailer

Key Release Dates
  • Searching (2018) release date: Aug 24, 2018
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