Movie ‘Searching’, written and directed by Indian filmmaker Aneesh Chaganty, is told from the point of view of computer screens and smartphones. The main character is David Kim (John Cho) playing a husband to Pam (Sara Sohn) and a father to 16-year-old daughter Margot (Michelle La). When Margot suddenly vanishes, an investigation led by a detective (Debra Messing) begins and David decides to search his daughter’s computer. The film also presents its characters— predominately an Asian cast—free of clichés or stereotypes.
One of the main reason, why John Cho decided to take lead-role in this drama, was especially to bring Asian-American family on the screen that is still according to him rare to see.
“I haven’t thought of that, but what is meaningful to me is seeing the image of a whole, loving Asian-American family [more] than anything else,” he continued. “It’s very rare in movies. The image of that is much more startling than it should be. It was surprising to me how powerful it was. I want the future to be where it’s completely normal to see an Asian-American family on-screen.”
It is not only John Chu holding this view. In 2016, digital strategist William Yu created a social-media movement with the hashtag #StarringJohnCho, which called for more Asian-American actors to be cast in traditional leading roles—and to end the ongoing whitewashing of Asian parts in Hollywood.
The campaign reimagined Cho as the protagonist of action flicks and romantic comedies by Photoshopping him into various movie posters, like Spectre and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Cho, who was not affiliated with the online campaign, appreciated the movement for igniting a conversation about the lack of Asian-American leading roles.
The movie ‘Searching’ will be out in select theaters on August 24.