Skip To Content

    Randall Park Just Confessed To Asian Impostor Syndrome And I’m Crying

    We talked to him about Always Be My Maybe's easter eggs, real-life childhood crushes, and diarrhea.

    Randall Park has an instantly recognizable face. That's both because his face is handsome in that classic movie actor way, but also because he's been in, like, everything. He's played a North Korean dictator, Jimmy Woo in Ant-Man and the Wasp, a cheesy father in Fresh Off The Boat, and now, he's a leading man in Netflix's newest rom-com, Always Be My Maybe.

    We spoke with the LA-based actor to ask him about Easter eggs you might have missed, Asian impostor syndrome, and how many childhood crushes have hit him up since the movie's debut.

    Ed Araquel / Netflix

    **Very mild spoilers ahead!**

    Food is a big element in the movie. What kind of food did your parents pack you when you were growing up?


    Randall Park: It was a combination of typical American stuff and typical Korean stuff. They never packed me kimchi, but they did pack me, like, Korean pastries like anko bbang (sweet red bean-stuffed bread), and spam, and other stuff similar to what was in the movie. I think I definitely had a few instances of kids being confused as to what i had in my lunch. But it wasn’t that bad. I never got super picked on because I had friends who were fairly open-minded even back then. So it wasn't too bad.

    I was really hoping you'd speak some Korean in the movie. How are your Korean skills?


    RP: It’s terrible. It’s terrible. I can understand it a little bit, but I'm pretty bad at Korean. I could probably string together really basic words but it’s pretty bad.

    I’ve been listening to a lot of BTS lately, because my household is super into them. And I understand little words here and there, but I cannot follow what they're saying. So I'm looking up translations.

    I’m actually hoping to learn more Korean through them. My wife is obsessed with them, and I've been learning the translations of some of their lyrics and I think it's actually helping me. My favorite right now is "RM," and I'd say my favorite BTS song of the moment is "Make it Right."

    Do you ever feel like you're not Asian enough? Like, Asian impostor syndrome?


    RP: Yeah, of course. Especially Korean impostor syndrome. I didn’t have a lot of Korean friends growing up. I had like one Korean friend, who was my closest friend but we were both surrounded by other races. I love the food, I make kimchi because it really connects me, but I'm always trying to find ways to connect to my Koreanness more.

    How did you meet Ali Wong? What was it like working with her?

    Did you improvise any parts in the movie? Which ones?


    RP: The scene after when we’re teenagers and we've just had sex and we’re just lying there, that scene was pretty much improvised. All the things we were saying about the banana or the parmesan was improvised. There’s a scene with Karan Soni (who plays Marcus's friend, Tony) and I'm asking him why he bailed when Jenny showed up, and that whole scene was also improvised.

    There were a lot of other moments throughout the movie where we just played and the scenes made it into the movie. Nahnatchka (the director) let us play a lot.

    Are there any nuanced "Asian American" details that you wanted to incorporate in the movie?


    RP: We didn’t really sit down and think, We’re going to make a movie about those things. It was more like, Let’s make a rom-com that’s super funny but also have it come from a true place. A lot of the Asian American aspects (like having the characters take their shoes off at home) just found their way into the script.

    What other Easter eggs are there besides Hello Peril's reference to Yellow Peril and Angry Asian Man's Stay Angry shirt?

    Have you actually ever been in unreciprocated love with a friend?


    RP: I’ve definitely had feelings for friends before but I've never actually like, ended up making anything out of those feelings. It's usually ended with me becoming friends with them. But I don't think I've ever been in a situation where I have a crush on a friend and then years later, I end up with that friend. That's never happened to me.

    Have you heard from any of those friends?


    RP: Haha, no, no, that hasn't happened yet. Hopefully it won't, but we'll see!

    Did you have any internal (random) moments in your career or life in general when you realized you had “made it”?

    What’s next? Would you want to do a Netflix special?

    Nicole Wilder / ABC

    RP: Well, the next season of Fresh Off The Boat is next. I don’t want do a stand-up special. I just want to keep acting. I also want to keep writing and producing, not just for me but to create opportunities for other folk. And maybe other folks who deserve to be the next rom-com lead.

    Last question. I watched your Comedy Central bit about bullies and diarrhea. Did you ever figure out how to get that under control?

    RP: You know, not really. I think overall and in general I have less anxiety than I did back then. So I think I do have it a lot more under control.

    Note: Some quotes have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    Always Be My Maybe is streaming on Netflix now. And you can catch the next season of Fresh Off The Boat this fall.