Danny Cho (Writer and character Danny): The film is about about a group of friends growing up and they deal with the responsibilities of being an adult, not an adult in the sense that you are over legal age but an adult in terms of when you have to deal with life’s responsibilities.
Daniel Dae Kim: In a ridiculous fun way with balls dipping into beer.
Peter Jae: Set in the backdrop of sexy K-Town (Korea Town, Los Angeles).
Can you tell us a bit more about your characters in the film?
Peter Jae: I play Peter and I guess Peter is having a hard time with his life. He loves to drink, loves to party, he loves girls and he doesn’t have much luck getting the girls but he loves trying. (All laugh).
He finds something that he’s good at, for once, which is something that no one would think that he would do which is fashion and he loves working out. Imagine a guy in a wife beater with muscles behind the sewing machine, I’m that guy.
Daniel: Stereotype buster right there.
Peter Jae: Yeah, boom!
I have an older brother and we grow apart, our dad passed away at a young age and so it’s kind of like fending for yourself. I’m that guy in the group that loves to drink and get into fights but I’m the guy that everyone wants in the group, I guess.
Director Daniel Park: He’s the bodyguard.
Daniel Dae Kim: And he’s fiercely loyal, he’s doggedly loyal, he will do anything for his friends and everyone wants a friend like that.
Peter Jae: I’m really like that, that part. (All laugh).
Danny: I’m Danny and he is a struggling stand up comic, he gave up a stable and successful job to follow his dreams. He is going through the bad parts of it, that’s actually my real life. The funny thing is, the month after I quit I made 60 bucks and I said ‘Man, homeless people don’t make more than 60 dollars in a month so I had to figure it out and that was my life. It wasn’t even hard acting, I was just playing me.
Daniel Dae Kim: In my real life, I’m also a struggling stand up comic (Danny laughs).
Danny: He’s pretty good.
Daniel Dae Kim: I actually play a character named David, who is Peter’s older brother and I come in for a couple of scenes and I give some advice to someone who may be making some wrong choices. Choices that I may have made in the past, so I’m trying to offer whatever wisdom I have to help him out.
Director Daniel Park: To me Daniel’s character David was the ultimate big bro, a sentence or thought that had to be explained to everybody or all the guys in it. It happens at a pivotal moment so for me I love that scene because it feels like he’s speaking to everybody in that.
Daniel Dae Kim: It parallels real life too because these guys are starting their journeys in this industry and I’ve got a few more miles in the odometer. It’s nice to be able to share that kind of relationship on screen as well as off screen.
What was the writing process like? Was it really easy because you had inspiration from your own life or was it embarrassing because you are portraying snippets of your own life?
Director Daniel Park: Everybody for the most part, we are very comfortable with each other and we are very honest with each other so there were moments when Danny and I were writing and I was thinking ‘Man is he going to think this is what we are saying about him?’
Danny: Yeah like, ‘do you think I’m this much of a pansy?’, ‘Do you think my balls are this small?’
Director Daniel Park: Yeah we do. (all laugh).
Director Daniel Park: But I think it was easy to get over with, ultimately the writing process was good. I think we are close and mature enough that we can work out those differences. You will get into tense situations sometimes but we know where we are trying to get at so we have our best interests for each other.
Danny: Writing was hard, I mean I used to have hair before I started all this, (Director Laughs).
Daniel Dae Kim: You can’t buy that kind of chemistry that these guys have. Studios and networks try all the time to put together a group of people who really like each or can pretend to like each other but the fact that these guys genuinely do, that’s 90% of the battle, in terms of acting relationships.
Director Daniel Park: Yeah, I think we got a little conference with that because I saw End of Watch, it isn’t necessarily a comedy but when I saw the relationship between the two main guys, it was so good to see them onscreen. I remember reading all the reviews on this movie, ‘The director’s amazing because he’s able to get these two to be so comfortable with each other,’ I was thinking we have that same kind of relationship, we can capture that stuff. To me I thought that was a big strength and we wanted to do it.
At this year’s Oscars there were comments made that the majority of the nominees are white, do you feel that this film will help add to the much needed variety into the industry?
Director Daniel Park: I think there’s variety but in terms of, I wanted to say this for the record. I see the different groups and minorities protesting and feeling left out, I know exactly where they are coming from and I feel that way too. But at the same time though, I want something that stands on its own merit. I feel like because we aren’t represented so much, Asians are a small population in America (4%) and within that 4% we have different types of Asians from totally different countries. It’s a very small population with lots of different types of people. Because it’s such a small population, we don’t have many Asian actors, writers, executives and filmmakers. We just need to do more of it, I think the more that comes out then the better the people get. As they get more experience then the more there is opportunities for those with more experience to hand back down to them. We will then start to see things a different way and you will have a breakthrough talent come through will a breakout role or whatever it maybe. I’m very hopeful about that, I feel better knowing that.
Daniel Dae Kim: That’s very true because the work comes first but the issue is the opportunities to work and that’s why independent cinema is so important and why these guys are so important. They are taking the initiative, no one is saying to them here’s $50 million dollars to make your movie because we all know this movie would never be made in a studio system. The fact is when writers write, they write from their own experiences and they write to their group of friends just like these guys did. When the majority of writers are white they are going to write white characters. When the agents and directors are all white then they are not going to say ‘Well how can we make this more diverse?’ It won’t be a topic in mind.
The important thing is to get people to get things started from the ground up, to write characters and stories from their own experiences who are minorities. I’m not talking about black, white, Asians, I’m just talking about that everyone should speak their voice and if these guys take the initiative to do it then people like us should support it. It’s why I’m grateful for festivals like SXSW, where we can showcase a movie like this.
If you had been given a $50 million dollar budget to work with, what other shenanigans would have you guys come up with for the film?
Director Daniel Park: If we did, we would have actually paid these guys. (All laugh). That’s not even a joke..hahaha. We would have had green screens.
Peter: KTown spaceships, that sounds amazing.
Danny: Some explosions.
Do you think the industry would ever change where independent films can find it easier to get finance for their films?
Director Daniel Park: It’s happening already I think, with things like Kickstarter and I just came from China, where there is a production company funding all these Hollywood movies. As a result they are getting films shot in China (such as Avengers and Transformers: Age of Extinction), different things are crossing paths. The world now has to consider Asia because of the population, the demographics and the potential cinema audience there.
Daniel Dae Kim: I’m curious to see whether the demand for acting changes or influences Asian America actors as well as Asian actors because we see box office draws, for example Koreans getting roles in American films ( such as Claudia Kim in Avengers: Age of Ultron). The Asian Americans born in America don’t have the same box office draw, what role will they play in all of this?
KTown Cowboys had its world premiere, Sun 15th March 2015, at SXSW 2015 Film Festival in Austin, Texas.
It had its home turf premiere in Los Angeles on Sat 25th April at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. The next screening is on Wed 29th April at CGV Cinemas 1 at 9.15pm, tickets are available on the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2015 website http://laapff.festpro.com/films/program/ktown_cowboys_2015
Director: Daniel Park
Producers: Gregory Bishop, Danny Cho, Brian Chung, Daniel Park, Daniel Sollinger
Writers: Danny Cho, Daniel Park, Brian Chung, Jeff Hoffman
Cast: Danny Cho, Sunn Wee, Peter Jae, Shane Yoon, Bobby Cho, Ken Jeong, Daniel Dae Kim
Runtime: 83 minutes
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