EXCLUSIVE: Daniel Dae Kim and Randall Park are going from polar opposite love interests to Ali Wong in Always Be My Maybe to teaming up for the ultimate plan to snatch some loot. The duo is partnering for an untitled Asian American-led heist film that will be penned by screenwriter Young Il Kim, who has worked on Showtime’s Billions wrote the Black List script Rodham. Several studios and streamers were thirsty for the pitch, but after a heated bidding war, Amazon Studios came out on top to acquire it.
The logline is being kept under wraps but what we do know is that it will be loosely focused on a reunion of high school friends who come together in a nod to the classic, fun ensemble heist films.
“I think it has nods to Ocean’s 11, The Full Monty as well as Better Luck Tomorrow,” Kim tells Deadline. The original story came from an idea that Kim, Park and 3AD’s Head of Development John Cheng brewed. It will be led by Park and Kim who will assemble an ensemble made up of primarily Asian American actors. Kim added, “It’s a story that kind of highlights community, friendship, unity in a very familiar genre that people I think will enjoy.”
The success of Crazy Rich Asians has been seen as a benchmark when it comes to big studio Asian and Asian American-led films as we began to see more films like The Farewell, Searching, Blinded By The Light, Parasite, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Tigertail, Hala, Late Night the forthcoming live-action Mulan and, of course, the aforementioned Always Be My Maybe take center stage as they dive into the mainstream. In addition to the increase of Asian American representation in film and TV, Kim says that the bidding war for the project was encouraging. “There is an appetite to see this kind of a movie with an Asian American cast and that is a really promising sign of the times.”
Kim and Park are old friends and have been always been in sync. In a joint statement, the pair said, in unison: “We can’t wait to join with Young to tell this special story of friendship, pride and community. We’re also very grateful to Amazon for their exceptional enthusiasm and support.”
Adding to that sentiment, Kim said that they want to include as much of the community as they can and it is why they set out to make this type of project. “We love heist movies,” Kim says. “We want to be inclusive and we feel like there’s a story here to be told. It’s super exciting… Randall and I have wanted to do something together for a while. This is just a great reason to bring together talented actors who have been friends for a really long time and really have fun on a project that, with any luck, will be able to make an impact.”
Park will serve as producer alongside Kim and Cheng who will produce under the 3AD banner. Founded by Kim, 3AD was established to amplify storytelling that features characters and traditionally underrepresented cultures via TV, film and digital media. 3AD produces ABC’s The Good Doctor. The company entered a first-look TV deal with Amazon Studios last June (this project is outside of that). Kim is repped by UTA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman, Inc.
Park extensive list of credits include Fresh Off the Boat, The Interview, Aquaman, Veep, Ant-Man and the Wasp as well as the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe series WandaVision on Disney+. In 2019, he teamed with longtime creative partners and friends Michael Golamco and Hieu Ho to launch Imminent Collision, a production company dedicated to developing comedy-forward stories from Asian American perspectives. Park is repped by UTA, Artists First and Myman Greenspan
In addition to Billions and Rodham, Young Il Kim also worked on Seoul Girls for Lionsgate. He’s currently developing multiple projects for South Korean studio CJ Entertainment (Parasite). He is repped by UTA, The Arlook Group and Ziffren Brittenham.