Korean-American actor and filmmaker Justin Chon crafts a partly autobiographical tale with his latest film, “Blue Bayou.” Scooped by Focus Features out of the 2020 Cannes virtual market, “Blue Bayou” is Chon’s fourth feature after acclaimed festival favorites “Ms. Purple,” “Gook,” and “Man Up,” and he stars in his film alongside Alicia Vikander. As the film premieres at Cannes this week, watch the trailer below.
Here’s the official synopsis from Focus Features: “From award-winning writer/director Justin Chon, Blue Bayou is the moving and timely story of a uniquely American family fighting for their future. Antonio LeBlanc (Chon), a Korean adoptee raised in a small town in the Louisiana bayou, is married to the love of his life Kathy (Alicia Vikander) and stepdad to their beloved daughter Jessie. Struggling to make a better life for his family, he must confront the ghosts of his past when he discovers that he could be deported from the only country he has ever called home.”
Written and directed by Chon, “Blue Bayou” also stars Mark O’Brien (“Arrival”), Linh Dan Pham (“The Beat that My Heart Skipped”), and Emory Cohen (“Brooklyn”). Chon first broke out as a star in “Twilight” before directing festival-winning indies.
“I felt very comfortable taking on that role myself, and living with it as long as I needed to speak about it,” Chon told Vanity Fair of starring in his own film. “There’s a purpose behind ‘Blue Bayou,’ and I’m hoping the bigger picture of this is that the right people will listen. Hopefully the conversation doesn’t end after its release.”
In playing a character facing deportation despite growing up in the United States, Chon drew from research of people’s actual experiences to write the movie. “These people were brought over in the ’70s and ’80s, adopted by U.S. citizens, and they’re finding out in their 40s or 50s that they’re not citizens and are getting deported,” he said of his research. “I just broke down… How you feel at the end of the film is how I felt reading these articles. I was absolutely destroyed…. I felt it was very important that people in the United States knew it was going on.”
He added, “I wanted to tell a story of a real person, not a perfect individual. This film represents what America feels like and looks like.”
Focus Features will release Justin Chon’s “Blue Bayou” on Friday, September 17 in theaters domestically.