John Cho Sinks Teeth Into Father-Daughter Drama in ‘Don’t Make Me Go’

John Cho hasn’t seen a film like Don’t Make Me Go earlier than as a result of, in his phrases, the story would normally give attention to a son relatively than a daughter.

He leads the brand new Prime Video film as a single father who units off on an academic street journey along with his daughter after discovering out he has a terminal illness. Cho, who got here to prominence in bro comedies like American Pie and Harold and Kumar, stars as Max Park, whereas newcomer Mia Isaac performs his daughter Wally.

The emotional comedy drama is out solely on Prime Video on Friday, July 15 and forward of its launch Cho, Isaac and director Hannah Marks spoke to Newsweek.

John Cho and Mia Isaac
John Cho performs the dying father of a teenage daughter, performed by Mia Isaac, within the new Prime Video film “Don’t Make Me Go.”
Amazon Studios

An Overlooked Genre

Max is the only father to a moody teenager in Don’t Make Me Go. After studying he has a terminal illness, he takes his reluctant daughter on a street journey which, unbeknownst to her, will reunite her along with her estranged mom.

“I haven’t seen a lot of father-daughter movies. I’m not sure why,” Cho, Star Trek’s Kikaru Sulu and Cowboy Bebop’s Spike Spiegel, informed Newsweek. “[Don’t Make Me Go] is a little bit of a take off on a familiar setup. The dad is going to die and wants to do something for his kid, but it’s usually a son.

“Because we do consider educating as gendered in quite a lot of methods, that was once the prevalent mind-set, so this can be a brisker take,” Cho said.

“I liked that it was a father-daughter story,” director Hannah Marks told Newsweek, commenting on the script written by Vera Herbet. “It’s such an necessary relationship, but there’s not many motion pictures about it, which is de facto stunning.”

Marks continued: “It felt like a fantastic alternative to inform a narrative that has quite a lot of coronary heart and feels actually pure, but additionally has some originality to it.”

Don’t Make Me Go marks 29-year-old Marks’ third function size film as a director. Before taking the helm of After Everything (2018) and Mark, Mary & Some Other People (2021), Marks was best-known for her appearing roles in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and Awkward. She additionally has a small function in Don’t Make Me Go as Tessa.

The film is a tearjerker, and the crew behind Don’t Make Me Go weren’t proof against its sentimental appeal.

“I remember tearing up during the father daughter dance scene, when we were filming at the jazz club,” Marks stated. “There’s something about seeing them hold each other like that, that really moved me in a way that I wasn’t expecting.”

She admitted that even throughout rehearsals, when individuals had been wearing sweatpants in a warehouse, she nonetheless discovered it shifting.

“Also a stress of a shoot can make you cry a little bit too. Your emotions are heightened,” she stated.

Generational Divides

Isaac performs Wally Park, daughter of Cho’s Max Park, the teenager who desires to be anyplace else however touring the nation along with her embarrassing and cautious dad over summer season break.

She too thinks the father-daughter style has been “overlooked” in cinema and the dynamic we see onscreen between Isaac and Cho was cast on lengthy roadtrips with the director Marks.

“I just felt so connected, deeply connected with John right away. And I’m just really grateful for him because a lot of that has to do with his experience.

“We performed quite a lot of the 20 Questions recreation. John was higher at it as a result of he’d choose quite a lot of like, outdated popular culture references that I did not know.”

With 50-year-old Cho, 29-year-old Marks and Isaac, who was 16 at the time, there were three generations playing, which led to some crossed wires.

“It was extra only a complicated recreation of all of us realizing we’re not in the identical age group,” Marks laughed.

John Cho, Mia Isaac and Hannah Marks
From left to proper, John Cho, Mia Isaac and director Hannah Marks attend the premiere of their film “Don’t Make Me Go.” The movie will probably be out there to observe on Prime Video from Friday July 15.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Isaac added: “We played a lot of games, we listened to a lot of music, we ate snacks, it was just like, it was a real road trip for us making the movie.”

Wally is {the teenager} everyone knows—one that may’t keep off her cellphone, develops crushes on older teenagers and who rolls her eyes at her dad’s jokes. Cho can relate to this as a father in actual life too.

“It is impossible [to avoid being ‘the embarrassing dad.’] I’m here to report that it’s a fool’s errand. And you might as well sink into the dork seat,” he conceded.

“I think you can try your hardest to be cool but at the end of the day, you’re gonna be embarrassing to a teenager,” Isaac informed Newsweek, confirming that it is an uphill battle for fathers.

While tears had been shed on set, Isaac admitted that she felt the emotion of Don’t Make Me Go even earlier than she landed the half.

“I read the script when I was 16, and after my second callback, I remember just sitting in my bed and going through that last act and just like fully sobbing and tears.”

Isaac continued: “I was like, ‘I need to go hug my parents right now’ and I think it just reminded me how much I love my parents. It reminded me so much of my own relationship with my dad. It was hard not to have an emotional reaction to the script, and I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of it.”

Don’t Make Me Go additionally options performances from Kaya Scodelario (Maze Runner), Stefania LaVie Owen (Sweet Tooth) and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords). It debuted in June on the Tribeca Film Festival to optimistic critiques.

The film will probably be out there to observe solely on Prime Video from Friday, July 15, 2022.

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