The past couple of years have been a trying time in America, to say the least. One of the amazing things film and art provide is an escape from reality, but they also provide hope for the future. The director and star of Take Out Girl have spoken out against categorizing people as ‘other’ and how their film encourages unity.
Take Out Girl has a diverse cast and an emotional story that promotes the message that people have a lot more in common than they think. I spoke with director Hisonni Johnson and star Hedy Wong (they also co-wrote the film together) for an interview with CinemaBlend, and they had thoughts about focusing on differences and labeling people or groups as 'other.' Here’s what Hedy Wong said:
I think movies, art, it plays such an important role in bringing us together and empathizing with each other, because something we tend to do sometimes in life is to differentiate, right? To ‘other’ - other groups, the othering. And art really builds that bridge, that emotional bridge to say the story of your community is also in some ways, the story of my community, too, just in different ways, different details. Somebody told me a long time ago that the story of humanity is the same story that keeps repeating itself, just with different settings and players.
Hedy Wong told me Take Out Girl is very important for the Asian American community because it displays a different type of Asian character than is typically seen in television and film. While this representation was important to her, it stemmed from a place of highlighting various types of people from her community while also sending the message that anyone who is not Asian American can still relate to the story.
Take Out Girl director Hisonni Johnson is very passionate about focusing on the similarities between diverse groups of people rather than their differences. He wants everyone to enter any interaction with a basic level of respect and emulates that in his art. Here is what he shared about his specific vision for this film:
The best way for me to describe this film is it's a commentary on how the tapestry that is America has no pure colors. There are no pure colors. For us to see ‘other’ is completely stupid. It makes no sense. It's too blended of a world we live in. So it's best to go throughout the world treating everyone as if you could have a stronger connection to them than you anticipate, because for one, having that perspective, if everyone has that perspective, we're all treating each other a lot better. But if you also walk around with that perspective and you find out you do have connections to people that you didn't expect, you don't have any regrets about that interaction. You treated them with respect from the beginning. So that's a big thing I wanted to push in this script is surprise connections.