Alice Lee and Sean Dulake star in new show about the Korean-American experience
New Form has just released an exciting new pilot about a young woman struggling to balance her Korean culture and new American life. Created by filmmakers Lina Suh and Helen Krieger, Good Face stars Alice Lee (Gap Year, Switched at Birth) and Kdrama dreamboat Sean Dulake (DramaWorld, Feast of the Gods). I had the delightful opportunity to talk with Lina and Helen about their new show.
How did you end up casting Alice Lee for the lead role of Clara?
Lina: There are not a lot of casting choices for Korean American actors that we’re aware of, but we had amazing casting directors that helped us out. We pretty much loved Alice and her energy immediately. There’s a truth about her. I really wanted someone who could speak both English and Korean fluently. Alice was raised in the U.S. but because she speaks Korean regularly with her parents, her Korean is fantastic.
Can you talk more about why Clara’s character feels pressure to keep her white boyfriend a secret from her parents?
Lina: It’s not so much that he’s white, but that they live together that’s an issue. In Korea living with your significant other before marriage is a big no-no. You normally live with your parents until you’re married.
Helen: Like Lina, I was also raised in Wisconsin where there were not a lot of minorities. However my parents were conservative Koreans. Sometimes I had to hide things from them too. I lived with my now-husband for two years before we got married, and my parents had no idea for the longest time. When my mom found out she was extremely distraught. She asked me, “What if he kicks you out?” And I told her, “Mom, then I’ll just get another apartment!”
When I finally told her that we were getting married she didn’t care how or when it happened, she was just happy that he was “putting a ring on it.”
In the pilot episode, we see that Clara is working at a plastic surgery clinic. In her narration she says, “ Korea is a place where your face and brain must be perfect.” Where do you think this mentality comes from?
Lina: When I was living in Korea as a child, I remember people telling me things like, “Your face is pretty from the side but not so much from the front.” The standards of beauty are very high. Furthermore in Korea, as well as in Japan and parts of China, everyone pushes each other to be better, competitive, and more perfect. People are trying to have a better life, but in reality everyone has their own way of being happy. In Korea, if you’re trying to be happy in a way that’s not prescribed by society, you may feel like you’re not living life the right way.
How was your experience working with New Form?
Lina: They were very supportive. They were very much behind the story that we’re trying to tell.
Helen: Their notes were never geared towards “let’s make this more mainstream.” Instead they were excited to get into the specifics of Clara’s journey and cultural challenges that she goes through. It was a really fun process.
What was it like shooting with Alice Lee and Sean Dulake?
Helen: For the karaoke scene, we shot at an actual karaoke bar, so we had to film in the early morning. Sean and Alice had to show up and pretend to be drunk and crazy at 6am for the scene. They’re both amazing actors, and they completely brought it and were so convincing. Because we were rushed for time we could only do 1-2 takes for each setup, but they nailed it every time.
Without revealing too much about the next few episodes, can you tell us what fans can expect to see in Clara’s adventures?
Lina: At the end of the pilot, we’re left with Clara’s parents in Korea saying that they can’t wait to visit her in America and meet her new “Korean” boyfriend. Clara will have to find a way to hide her real boyfriend, who is white, from her parents. She’ll also have to convince her Korean friend to pretend that he’s dating her so she can maintain her “Good Face” in front of her family.
Helen: We’ll also play around with Clara’s relationship with the people that she works with at the plastic surgery clinic. For example, she has a white, liberal co-worker who sees both sides of Clara. We want Clara to challenge her own ideas of what it means to be Korean, and the way that people decide to live their lives.
When and where can we watch more episodes?
Lina: Right now the pilot is our on New Form. So if you watch and show your support, we’ll hopefully get picked up for more.
Helen: You can also follow New Form on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.
Watch the pilot episode of Good Face!
Article written by Zoe Mei for KPOP-TV
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