And so we have Charles Melton from Riverdale who stars alongside Yara Shahidi who you might know from Grown-ish or the CNET magazine cover.
He plays Daniel.
Then we also have Jake Choi who plays his brother named Charlie.
Charlie and Daniel.
And we also have New York Times best selling author Nicola Yun who wrote the book that the film is based on.
So let’s put your hands together and give them a big CNET welcome.
Come on up, guys.
Let’s just jump right at the premise here.
So you played daniel and, I don’t even know where [UNKNOWN].
How would you describe the song by the way?
Right after [UNKNOWN].
It’s a aspirational love story Two diverse people meet on a single day.
And my character, Daniel Bay, he’s a hopeless romantic.
His parents have dreams for him to be a doctor, so he’s Dealing with that and he meets this girl on the Davis alumni interview that Tasha, played by Yarra shahidi and uses the times test to prove to her that love is real and it can be scientifically proven.
So I don’t know if if we asked each other 36 questions And then stare into each other’s eyes for four minutes without saying a word.
Scientifically we fall in love.
I’m pretty sure that would happen, yeah.
I can see it happening.
I would put money on it.
You two would fall in love.
Well, let me ask you that.
Were joking there a little bit but that is a big part of the at least the first part of the film.
And leaves it throughout.
And I forgot the, sorry, yeah.
So On this day, Natasha, she’s fighting to stay in America because her family’s getting deported the next day.
So it becomes very time sensitive, and she’s very practical and logical and-
And she does not think that Daniel will be able to convince her to fall in love in 24 hours, but Daniel’s persuasive.
He does all right.
Yeah, he’s very persuasive, right?
With his poetry.
He’s not wearing her down, but they just kinda bring each other to each other’s point of views, right?
Is this based of a true story?
You know, everyone always ask.
So, I am Jamacian American and Natasha in the film is.
And my husband in real life is Korean American and also in the film, but it is not based on real life.
I was not almost deported [LAUGH]
in those 24 hours, but it’s a little bit, a lot of the cultural stuff.
In the book and in the film, is based on my real life.
I love karaoke, my husband sings me Japanese love songs, strangely, in karaoke so [LAUGH], he does, he speaks Japanese too, and he’s super cute, right?
He’s really cute.
[LAUGH] So a lot of the conversation in the book and in the film are based on things in my life, but the details are not true at all.
Ok, so the book, holy smokes, it’s such a great book too because the structure is really unique.
You have chapters, but they are not really chapters.
They will just be like Daniel, and then, reasons my brother’s an ****, or one of the best ones is like, Natasha when she’s going through the security line and talking about Irene, and then the next page is Irene.
Everything she said is not actually true about Irene, and you hear her point of view.
How did you come up with that structure?
And how do you think that translates, how they translated that for the film?
Yes, I mean, I think the film does a really good job, because it’s kind of an odd structure, right?
But the film really captures the spirit of that.
And what I was trying to do with those chapters is just show the ways that we’re all connected to each other, right?
So you think you’re not connected to that stranger that you met at Starbucks.
But actually what happened to them an hour ago is affecting your interaction with them, right?
So that’s why those chapters are there, to show that we’re all connected, and that if we can remain open to the world a little bit, and just sort of treat each other as if we have histories, and with a little bit of grace, then we would be kinder to each other, right?
And we could see the connections, and I really believe the world could be a better place if we were a little bit more open.
There is a I think a trickle effect when, just take for example you were waiting for a coffee at Starbucks and there is a long line, and let’s say you are nicer to a person behind you.
That person will return maybe open a door for someone who is coming in and that person will feel grateful and maybe Treat someone else nice but it could have gone totally opposite or sideways and I think there is like this ripple effect or trickle-down effect almost, you know?
So kindness begets kindness or the opposite begets the opposite.
I wonder especially cuz two of you guys are actors here, there’s a lot of Lack of control you have with the roles you get or if you get a role or May the things you do and wondering how much do you has that spilled from Over the book in the film into your own lives?
I mean I did the best of my audition.
I hope I get this or yeah, you know it’s when you get a script that you,
Really, I believed in the script and I was very passionate about it and Nicola 10 months prior posted the Instagram post asking who should play Daniel Bay and
A bunch of people were tagging me from these fan accounts, over 200 fan accounts that I created.
You’re not supposed to tell them that.
That’s the part you leave out.
We’ll cut that out of the video here.
So that same day, I bought the book, I read it in two days.
And what’s great is that as an actor, I like to go beyond the script and see You know, you understand your characters a little bit more, and when it came to the process of filming like having that knowledge reading the book and then the script and Phenomenal director.
I was so young.
She really set the tone as far as creating a space that we felt comfortable in.
And it was very organic and seamless and we rehearsed for three weeks prior we rehearsed in New York hours on end, you know, taking things out, changing things a little bit.
What’s going on?
Aside from all the personal things we brought from being first generation on my mom’s side.
And Jake and all of us.
So there’s a lot to work with.
And the scenes are great.
Our director she’s a firm believer that Or a firm belief, she never believes in doing the same thing twice.
So it really gave the freedom to just really be in the scene and do what we did.
That’s a good point.
As actors, there’s not a lot that are in our control with out careers, but Who’s read the book here?
Okay, if you read the book you know the brother is a straight up ****.
He’s very deplorable.
There’s a few metions of that, yes.
Yes, and I think the script the film adoptaion.
It was very close to the book.
And so I spoke with the director and I said, hey, we should really humanize this character, cuz anyone can just be a one dimensional **** head.
But let’s explore a little bit why He’s like that right.
The movie’s not about him but, at least let’s make him someone who we kind of like to hate.
As opposed to we just hate.
So Rhy was very open to that because she actually was like.
Well that’s what I wanted to kind of have rehearsal because.
I wanna humanize this character and find.
And that’s a testament to Ry, who is a great film maker, who is an actor’s director.
But there’s a moment, though, I think you guys have a bit of an argument.
And I think you’re seated on top of a set of stairs, and you run past, and the camera just lingers enough for you to give this look that hey, maybe he’s not thinking I’m an ****, but it’s like, This is still my bother, it’s kind of that little moment there, because later when Natasha shows up and there’s information, she want to get from you, we don’t know if you’re going to give it or not but we’re hopeful at that point.
Right,yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re hopeful I think I don’t want to give anything away but you will see some redeeming Qualities, right, yea?
[LAUGH] No spoilers, no spoilers, no spoilers.
Ok, alright guys, goodnight thank you.
Yea, take care, it was great meeting you.
I can’t wait for you guys to see this movie.
Talk about the filming with Ry, and how close were you involved?
With the filming, Nicole?
So, once you sell your book to a studio no one has to pay attention to you, right?
But, I mean seriously, the rights are gone.
But fortunately, between my The previous book and this one warner brothers has been really gracious and i’m sorry i gotta give notes on the script, which was nice because no one really has to listen and that they did so that’s good and then i met right and we just got along very well and i was telling Jake earlier that the first time i met her i took my husband because he’s a really good judge of character and it’s like come with me tell me it’s like she’s like she really believes in listen And she really did.
And she had this vision for it that,
I’m not a film maker.
I have no idea, right?
But she did.
And so that was really great.
So in that way I’ve gotten to be involved.
There’s so many films of New York.
These aerial shots are kind of reminiscent of West Side Story at the opening, right?
What was it like this DP was it Autumn Duald?
She’s Phillipino which is great.
And she is such a talent with the work that she’s done and did with this project.
And you know when you’re talking about New York, it’t great to see another character with…
The city of New York and to see the diversity from shooting in Harlem to Korea Town to Grand Central, Chinatown.
You see all these different elements that are representative of.
What this country is.
I fell in love with New York City.
Every day filming there was kind of hectic, closing off the sidewalks and what not, and people walking-
JFK was crazy and I was crying all day.
And people were walking in between shots and what not, but It was very, there’s just something about the atmosphere of the whole city that’s very romantic and beautiful.
And obviously I’ve never seen it filmed that way before.
I mean, there’s a very contemporary vibe to it, but that’s also timeless, which feels very good.
Let me ask a little bit about You and the art because the other thing that happens.
And you hope as a director that it will happen.
Is that your actors have chemistry.
Did you guys have to go through a process of that?
How did you guys work just on becoming friends and trusting each other?
This is a script and a story that we both believe in and we met each other at the chemistry read.
So basically what they do is, you meet for the first time and we had two scenes where there was kind of a A scene where we’re in this coffee shop and we riff and everything and it’s very easy.
And then we didn’t going from that scene to go into this very emotional heavy scene.
That was like within the first 20 minutes of meeting each other, but in between the scenes, she brought a pop tart, we shared the pop tart, we ate the pop tart as a homemade pop tart.
And I think We connected with our characters on so many different levels that there was kind of like this organic seamless trust that we had that
Yeah, my heart’s beating out of my chest.
Hey, man, that’s good.
You’re good.>> Okay.
You all are here.
We’re bringing her down.
No, everyone’s gonna be like this so disappointing.
Yeah, so I met Charles and Chong the day of the
First day of rehearsal when I got to New York, when I flew into New York, and [UNKNOWN]
is a theater actor like me, so it was great to sort of rehearse for a long [UNKNOWN] Time and just kind of break down the script and put on our feet, that really helped a lot because there’s a lot of scenes that where we are on our feet and there’s a lot of blocking, and it was cool to kind of have these three Korean actors in one room with the director because, there are moments where I’ll be like, yeah Charles Would put like would your mom say that you know like i don’t know if my mom would let me say that in front you know or like young you know caliber like well you know i think like this is this in korean you know my father i don’t think he would say it like this he will be more direct and so there was a lot there was back and forth where If you grew up Korean-American and you have these shared experiences that you can only really understand as a Korean-American, you bring that to the table and you And you put it into the script, right?
You kind of add that to the bone of the script.
And that specificity I think makes the audience’s experience more relatable and universal I think.
The other thing watching it, too, obviously I’m not Korean American but you’re watching it.
And it’s like a relationship you have with your father.
I related with the brother relationship a bit.
But also It’s not pandering to that.
We’re not like, we’re gonna be inclusive by forcing it.
It just felt very genuine.
These are real relationships people have despite where you come from, the color of your skin or what not.
The relationships with your parents.
I believe that In certain households, your parents, especially in Asian culture, they kind of have this idea of what they want you to be, right?
They have dreams and aspirations for you.
And that’s all fine and dandy, but then sometimes that may conflict with your own personal passion.
So kinda the struggle between how far am I willing to compromise?
What I want, in order to accommodate what my parents want for me.
So you have that dynamic within the film that I believe a lot people relate to and also the character with Daniel Bay and Charlie his older brother, his older brothers you know, usually the olds in the house [UNKNOWN] the tone, right He’s kind of like the leader and the example, and to not be that with this character, it put a lot of.
He had his own personal things he was dealing with, but it put a lot a pressure onto Daniel with living up to his parents’ expectations and why he had to make them proud, and-
And I think that was great on Nicholas, on your part, really, because that’s So true, not just of clean households but a lot of households.
Right, that’s what I was going to say too is that these are universal things, right?
So you don’t have to be an immigrant to struggle with identity and to struggle with what your parents want for you versus what you want for you, right?
I mean I think that’s something that
Everyone can relate to having a sibling that’s kind of a pain in the butt,right?
Everyone can relate to that,right?
So afternoon we talk about stories with like minority characters people say they can’t relate or it’s not universal but it is universal we are all people,right?
We have a common humanity.
If I can feel it then anyone can feel it right, these things are universal.
So I can’t help but notice that we have two actors and a writer which are not maybe in the film, your character’s being pushed to be a doctor.
And I’m wondering like, in real life is there a little bit of that tension that you had growing up.
Maybe did your parent not like you to pursue acting or want to pursue being a novelist?
My mum wanted me to pursue whatever made money.
So when i was like a kid i said hey i wanna be a firefighter, hey i wanna be a veterinarian, i wanna work with lizards and dogs and snakes and stuff, and she said, Jake, [INAUDIBLE] son in Korean.
There’s no money in that.
She’d be like, there’s no money in this, and I’m like, what is this?
She’s like there’s no money in it, be a doctor or be a lawyer or be a businessman, there’s money in it.
And so I think there was this kind of tension with
My idea of money when growing up.
I kinda wanted to just get away from money.
And then of course, you get older and you’re making money, and you’re like, this is nice.
I kinda like money.
And then Wu Tang came out with this song called Cash Rules Everything Around Me, C.R.E.A.M.
And I’m like, now I really got to get moeny.
But I digress.
So you’re saying you became an actor because of Wutang
Yes I did, that’s exactly what i’m saying.
Stepping away from the turn for just a moment, so you were a college football player then you became a model and then you became an actor, how did you do that?
Well, I was 21 and,
I wanted to be an actor ever since I was in the third grade.
And I didn’t know anyone in Los Angeles, so I packed up my bags, I told my parents I was moving out, they’ve always been supportive.
So my mom, being the mom she is, packed me 60 cans of chicken noodle soup.
60 packets of tuna, and I have $500 in my account
And I made the drive out there with just a dream, right?
You know, it’s funny when people ask, when did you make it.
And it wasn’t with Riverdale, it wasn’t with Glee, it wasn’t with anything that I’ve done.
I made it the day that I drove out at four o’clock in the morning to Los Angeles.
I wanted to play in the NFL for 10 years.
That was my dream ever since I was as in the eighth grade, and I’m a firm believer in doing whatever you can to accomplish that dream and just, give putting it out there in the universe giving it to faith and Yeah, so.
Fate again [UNKNOWN] word comes up a lot.
Let’s talk a little bit about Riverdale cuz that’s obviously what a lot of people know you from.
You came on the second season as Reggie.
What was it like taking over someone else’s role like that?
I mean, It was cool because River does such a hit show, right, it’s very popular in pop culture.
And I just knew that I can never be anybody else, as an actor.
This is my take.
This is my version.
So I’m gonna bring what I can bring.
I wanna do the work that I need to do and do a service to the character, Reggie Mantle, instead of doing a service to what the actor did prior.
And follow up question, what’s going on between Reggie and Veronica this season?
[LAUGH] A lot.
That’s fair, So Jake some people might know you from Single Parents.
Which is hysterical.
Okay I was-
And she’s actually the one that told me to ask this question.
And having seen some of it I agree.
Is it hard playing someone that dumb?
He drew from his personal.
You know what?
It’s easy if you don’t fall into the trap of playing dumb, right?
I always come back to the writers cuz they’re so great at what they do.
They wrote this awesome character so what i lean into is how confident he is in thinking he knows everything and knows what he’s talking about and that’s why it comes across so dumb and clueless because to a person that’s semi conscious and aware Things that maybe things will work or believes in, it’s unfathomable.
But to him it’s like a very real idea or a plan to get what he wants and it just doesn’t work.
It doesn’t, but he doesn’t know that it’s a dumb idea.
And I think that’s what I tried to just
Go with, and it’s been working, I think.
Yeah, that makes it kind of endearing.
Yeah, when you see the fearlessness in someone pursuing something or doing something, I think we relate to that more than actually what they’re doing, is they’ve got this fearlessness [UNKNOWN].
Yeah, the passion and intent behind That’s dumb but really.
I respect it, yeah.
But damn you’re dumb but I respect you, but you’re dumb.
Dumb people never know, right?
Dumb people don’t know they’re dumb.
So obviously this movie deals a lot about love.
It seems to me like may be one of the characters, well let’s just talk in general about that.
Do you guys believe in love at first sight?
Yes I do.
I like, it’s
Love at first sight that it’s a hopeful curiosity.
You know, it’s something you really can’t explain.
There’s no method to love at first sight.
It’s just something that you can’t explain and like butterflies are like this moment of like, who is that?
It’s like the first sense you see when you see someone.
And yes, I believe in love at first sight.
Nicola, what about you?
I definitely do.
But i’m more believe in love at second sight, which is something i talk about in the book, [LAUGH] Which is like this idea that you could love someone like when you see them, there is something about like, I mean it happened with friendship too right, like you have a sense of someone else that you just know that there is a connection there.
And I believe because I’ve experienced that and then I married the boy, that I experienced it with.
And it’s been 17 years.
Yeah so I mean, I know it’s true because it happened to me.
What about you Jake?
I am going to quote the late great Bruce Lee.
He once said I do believe in love at first sight, but I also believe in taking a second look.
I’ll never forget that quote.
I’ll never forget it.
Nikolai, I think you could add like one quote to your book.
It’s a great quote.
I wish I’d known, I put the epigraph, I would have used there.
Your next book your next book.
But speaking like the book and the importance of this movie coming out.
But, what you think people should see this especially with what’s going on our society right now?
What’s going on in our politics right now?
We hope people get from this movie.
I mean, I think I was touching on this a little bit, before.
We often think that because we don’t share the same race or religion or sexuality with someone else, that we are so different.
But it is not true, right?
And I think that we live in a world, right now, that’s telling you that these things make you so different and so far apart.
But we share a common humanity and Maya Angelou says in human family we are more like my friends and we’re on alike.
And I hope that you know from the book and the script and the movie That we can see that.
That we can open ourselves up to the world and treat each other with a little bit of grace and kindness.
I will not stop saying this.
And see the connections between this, and just really see each other as people.
Yeah, I think
First and foremost, it really helps to bring empathy and compassion to someone who’s going through this conflict of deportation, right?
Because this is very timely and very real and it just reflects on what is going on in our world right now.
But also, you’ve seen this story before like, you’ve seen this kind of love story before many times, it’s just you have two people of color now in the front and center of the matters, right.
And I think, cuz we’re people too, or we found love in low life, and it’s just nice to kind of see us
In the, it centered our story because it is a love story, ultimately.
And I think this will help normalize just everyone being front and center of a narrative of every story.
And I think that’s a big Big take away for you.
Once, I was doing a book signing, and there was this Chinese-American man.
He was maybe 45 to 50, and he came up to me and he was very complimentary about the book.
And then he said, you know, I never see Asian guys get the girl.
Like it doesn’t have happen in books and movies.
And then he started crying and then it was disaster because I started cry.
And there were people around us and then they started crying.
And I was like my god.
What is happening?
But, I mean to go on what you say, I mean it’s true right.
You know like.
Everyone gets to fall in love everyone gets to see themselves as the hero of the story I mean that’s how it should be right
And I want to add to that it’s amazing to see some of the guy get the girl without being toxic about it he’s not this aggro alpha male He actually the opposite, he’s very vulnerable and he uses words and art and romance to rule the girls and so it just kind of touches on what Masculine is, right?
Masculine is not always what you think it is, which is what media wants to push.
It’s very straight male, alpha.
No, masculine has many different dimensions and is very fluid, I think.
And I think you see that reflected off of Daniel’s character.
So his character’s really the poet, the artist who’s being driven to be a doctor, and then her character is definitely, she’s a scientist or she’s trying to be a scientist.
Pragmatist, she’s pragmatic and
I’m wondering at how aware were you that balance when you were writing this, or was it just, is that speak more of you than maybe the relationships you had?
No, I mean, I was definatley concious of flipping the stereotype, but also, I was an electrical engineering major in college.
So I know girls who are like this, right?
I’m one of them.
And I know other scientist girls who love science and love that world.
And then I went to graduate school for writing and I know a lot of poetic boys.
So these people exist, we just don’t see them in media a lot, right?
So I mean They’re there.
I just wrote them down.
So you have a moment in this film, Charles where you have, I don’t know, We think of Tom Cruise and he has the Tom Cruise run.
You have a run that we see a few times in there.
I’m wondering, does that Does it go back to your football days?
I like physicality.
I like being in my body and moving.
I remember one day we were filming the scene where He saves Natasha from, you guys can see it in the show so it’s not spoiling anything.
He pulls her down.
I remember Autumn cam eup to me and they have like, this little go cart with the cameras on the back.
And it could only go, it maxes out on a certain speed andthere’s only like four people.
They came up to me after a few takes and they’re like, Charles, you need to slow down.
You’re running to fast.
[LAUGH] The sports fanatic and the athlete mentality, part of me was just like, okay, I got to slow it down.
[LAUGH] I’m running too fast.
Noted, right, like personal diary.
Going back to Riverdale for just a moment, I think what I like so much about it is it kinda combines a lot of my favorite things.
It’s kinda very 90210, but it’s also kinda Buffy the Vampire, but it’s also kinda like Fargo a little bit, too.
[LAUGH] Obviously the actor Luke Perry was on there, and he passed away early this year.
I’m wondering, can you talk a little bit about what it was like to work with him, and maybe his influences on you?
Luke Perry was a great man, is a great man.
And his legacy will live on, every person he met, he treated the same.
And he effected people in a way that you just walked away, not just saying that was Luke Perry, but man, that’s a great man.
Im wondering, what’s next for you guys?
Do you have things popping up that you’re excited about, that you wanted to share?
Why you both looking at me?
[LAUGH] Cuz you’re there.
Yeah, I’m here.
Can’t talk about this is a movie and you go and I don’t want you know, I can’t say anything else, but it might go down in August and I should body.
I can’t say anything else.
What about you?
I’m writing a book, two books.
And I can’t say anything about them.
A, because then I won’t write it for some reason.
Do you know what I mean?
Like if you talk about it too much then the creative, it just goes away.
And also because my editor will kill me if I talk about it.
Enjoy being alive, so-
[LAUGH] That’s what I’m doing.
I found the bad boys 3 in Atlanta for two months that comes out in January and there’s a project I can’t discuss I’m doing this summer and a couple of things that I’m excited about that hopefully I can be a part of.
Okay, my last thing is actually for you.
So in the movie at some point you wear these glasses and you look really nice the glasses.
And I’m wondering if you’re aware that the DC Cinematic Universe is without a Superman right now.
Would you ever think that you could play something like Clark Kent or Superman?
I’m front Kansas, too, so.
And that That’d be cool, so.
So on that note, let’s give these guys a big hand.
And so we have Charles Melton from Riverdale who stars alongside Yara Shahidi who you might know from Grown-ish or the CNET magazine cover.
What do you think?
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