John Cho Actually Turned Down Searching When He First Got The Script

John Cho Searching

Audiences now seen a few movies that take place entirely on screens, including titles like Open Windows and Unfriended, but it's still a very new storytelling device. After all, the communication technology hasn't been around all that long, so filmmakers are still figuring out how to tell stories with it. As a result, it remains a difficult idea for some people to fully wrap their brains around -- which is why star John Cho originally turned down his new movie, Searching. The actor recently told me,

I had to be sold on it. Though I really loved the script, and the story was compelling, and I wanted to do a thriller, but I wasn't buying it shooting it on screens. I wanted it to look and feel like cinema, not a video. So I said no. I turned it down.

I had the opportunity to sit down with John Cho this past weekend during the Los Angeles press day for Aneesh Chaganty's Searching, and he was extremely forthright about his attitude towards the project when he was first approached for the lead role. My first question during the interview was if he was totally on board from the start or needed to be sold on it, and Cho noted that it was very much the latter.

Obviously he wound up changing his mind along the way, so what happened? According to John Cho, it was all a matter of really getting to connect with Searching's writer/director. When they had the chance to speak over the phone he admits that he didn't fully get the vision, but that totally changed when they met up and had the chance to talk about the film in person. Said Cho,

The problem was that Aneesh and I spoke over the phone. We spoke through a technological device, and we didn't really connect. But he said, 'I'm not going to take no for an answer.' We sat down, we met face-to-face, eye-to-eye, and that's when I saw the person I wanted to work with, and that's when he convinced me.

The first feature film from Aneesh Chaganty, Searching centers on David Kim (John Cho), a man who is living every parents' worst nightmare. After a night out studying at a friend's house, his 16-year-old daughter, Margot (Michelle La), goes missing. As quickly as he can, David reaches out to the police, and has Detective Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing) on the case, but his job doesn't stop there. Accessing his daughter's computer, he launches an investigation of his own -- reaching out to his daughter's classmates, uncovering clues, and making some big revelations.

You can watch John Cho talk about why he initially didn't want to do Searching, and why he changed his mind, by clicking play on the video below:

Searching will be in theaters on August 24th -- and stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more from my interview with the director and stars!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.