It’s been downright thrilling to see the Twilight stars’ careers loosen up and expand after their stints in the culturally all-encompassing YA adaptations. Robert Pattinson is in every arthouse genre picture, Kristen Stewart looks badass in the new Charlie’s Angels, and Justin Chon (who played nerdy Eric Yorkie in the Twilight films) is fast becoming an acclaimed writer/director/actor. Chon’s first three directed feature films — Man Up, Gook, and Ms. Purple — have all played to ecstatic reviews, and show the types of stories we don’t see in Hollywood enough. Now, Chon’s ready for his fourth film: Blue Bayou, starring himself and Alicia Vikander.
According to Deadline, Vikander, who won the Oscar for The Danish Girl and recently starred in the Tomb Raider reboot, joins an already stacked cast including Halt and Catch Fire’s Mark O’Brien, Ninja Assassin’s Linh Dan Pham, and The OA’s Emory Cohen. Chon will also write the film, and spoke about his responsibility as a creator in Hollywood:
I realize how I add the value to the Asian American community right now. We have Justin Lin, we have James Wan, and John Chu —they’re doing that space incredibly well. They’re doing the studio system so and more commercial traditional films. I think I’m so well served in telling these much more intimate stories that bring empathy to us, to our community, and portray us in an authentic way — and I think that is penetrating the culture in a different way.
Chon’s films are indeed smaller films with a modest scope, but a huge emotional yield. As Hollywood continues to grow and evolve, allowing different types and scales of stories from different types of voices, we’re thankful Chon will continue growing and evolving his refreshing voice, too. Who knows — maybe he’ll get to direct a big-budget studio film soon.
The synopsis of Blue Bayou is below. Check out a clip from Chon in Seoul Searching, a charming John Hughes-influenced film.
Inspired by true events, the plot tells the story of Antonio, a Korean adoptee raised in the US who is forced to confront his distant past, and what it means for his own future as well as his family’s, as he suddenly –and unexpectedly– faces deportation.