Tigertail director explains why all of John Cho's scenes were cut

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Digital Spy

Alan Yang, co-creator of Netflix comedy Master of None and writer and producer on hit comedy Parks and Recreation, has a brand new film out, based on the life of his father as he moved from Taiwan to the USA.

It was previously reported that Yang had cast Hollywood actor John Cho in Tigertail but if you've seen the film since it was released on Netflix on Friday (April 10) you'll have noticed that he didn't actually appear.

Speaking to Vulture, the director revealed that although Cho originally had a role in the film, he ended up being cut from the movie during the editing process.

"He definitely shot some stuff with us. It was great," Yang said. "He delivered an amazing performance in the movie."

Photo credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez - Getty Images
Photo credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez - Getty Images

So why did all the actor's scenes end up on the cutting room floor? Yang explained that it was a result of him "figuring out and drilling down on what the heart of the movie is" and that he had to make some "difficult choices" while editing the film into its final cut, which resulted in Yang's character being dropped.

"It killed me to do it, but his character was in some of the modern-day scenes, and we didn't end up using those scenes," he explained. "I called John basically as soon as I was thinking about making that decision... we had a fairly long, meaningful conversation. He was so supportive and understanding. I'll always remember that conversation."

The director added that Cho, who has a lead role in the new Star Trek movies as Hikaru Sulu and has also starred in Searching, Harold & Kumar and FlashForward, had "a great time working on the movie" and was supportive of Yang's decision.

"He was doing scenes in this movie that were scenes unlike he had done before in his career," Yang said. "I know how long he's worked and how much he's meant to the Asian-American community, so that meant a lot to me.

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

"He's an executive producer in the movie. The movie would not have been the same without his energy and force behind it, so I'm incredibly grateful to everything John gave to the movie."

Tigertail is Yang's first feature film and when he first started writing it in 2016 it was saved as a file called 'FAMILY MOVIE'.

But after he rediscovered the script later he decided to rewrite the story because he didn't feel a "personal enough connection to it" and ended up with a 250-page script featuring multiple points of view, which he then edited down to just one central character, Pin-Jui (played by Tzi Ma in present-day scenes and Hong-Chi Lee in the past).

The story, which Yang calls his "fever dream" of how he imagines his father's life to have been, follows Pin-Jui's life in Taiwan before he makes the move to New York City.

Photo credit: Kevin Mazur - Getty Images
Photo credit: Kevin Mazur - Getty Images

Lead actor Ma has previously praised Tigertail's "very compelling story", saying "I'm grateful that I'm able to play the lead character in [Alan's] work, and he's a very well-thought-out grounded young man.

"The things that come out of his mouth reflects who he is as an individual, so there's so much intelligence in the film. The characters he's given the world are really bright."

Tigertail is streaming on Netflix now.

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