“The most common things I would go out for would be, like, ‘the Lab Technician’ on a crime procedural” – Randall Park
Millions got to know actor Randall Park as Kim Jong-un in 2014’s most talked-about movie, The Interview. Before his portrayal of Kim became the center of an international scandal, Park became popular for his portrayal of Danny Chung on Veep. He’s taken his sitcom chops from the Emmy award-winning HBO show to ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, a show about an Asian-American family. Park spoke about how proud he is to star in a series like Fresh Off the Boat and the frustration he has faced as an Asian-American actor in landing non-stereotypical roles.
Park was happy just to see a show about an Asian-American family on television in the first place. He explains, “This show, based on a book like this, really felt like a long shot. And then I found out it got picked up and I was just excited the whole time. It was so fun to actually be a part of something so special, to actually go to work and see a family that looked like mine was really cool.”
In particular, Park was also thrilled to be reading for a role that wasn’t a stereotype. He says, “As an actor, you read so many scripts and parts written for Asian-specific characters, and you see a lot of stereotypes and a lot of one-note characters, especially in comedy.” Later he added more about what those stereotypes are that he usually comes across. He says, “The most common things I would go out for would be, like, ‘the Lab Technician’ on a crime procedural, usually an expert in either a medical or a computer-oriented field. [Laughs.] And I guess you could say that at the root of that is the ‘Asian nerd’ stereotype. At the same time, I got some great roles a few years ago. Danny Chung in Veep is a really unique, very anti-stereotypical role for an Asian-American actor, and being able to play that has been super fun. But the majority of guest spots or recurring parts would be along the lines of the IT guy.”