“The Farewell” doesn’t have much in common with “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” but it’s not for lack of trying on the studios’ part. During their time in the IndieWire Studio, presented by Dropbox, director Lulu Wang and star Awkwafina spoke about their Sundance dramedy — and the way it could have turned out had Wang not stayed true to her vision.
“That just blew my mind, that other version,” Awkwafina said of the alternate-reality version of “The Farewell.” “And you want to make the film, so you’re like, ‘Could I? Could I?'” said Wang. “Eventually I just decided that that’s not the film I want to make; I’d rather not make the film than make I film that I don’t want to make.”
Awkwafina also spoke about the film industry’s incremental steps toward becoming more inclusive and diverse. “I do believe that things are going through a progressive shift right now. I don’t think that that’s nonsense. I really do believe that they’re trying to right wrongs they’ve made,” she said.
“When it comes to casting leads or diverse leads, I’m seeing the parts — these are not written for Asian-Americans, and, you know, sometimes you want a role that’s written for Asian-American characters, because that way it can use things that we all have in a way. I’m seeing roles that are just roles, you know? And they’re going out to a really big pool of people. I’ve been on auditions where I come out and they ask for an accent last-minute, you know? I’ve been there. Less and less do I see those kinds of roles.”
The film — which IndieWire critic Eric Kohn says features Awkwafina’s best performance — premiered yesterday at Sundance and is currently seeking distribution.