“I don’t strive for more in a way that makes me feel bad. I strive for more in a way that keeps me excited and having fun.” — Randall Park
ISSUE: Spring 2011
STORY: Janice Jann
In recent years, Randall Park’s mug has been all over the place. On TV, he’s either awkward-ing it up in KY lubricant commercials, or on House as a patient undergoing a lobotomy. He’s raking in laughs as the lovelorn Carlton in the indie film The People I’ve Slept With and as the silent Henderson in Dinner with Schmucks. He’s gone viral online in quirky short films, often ones he’s written and produced. The 36- year-old Korean American talent is used to wearing a lot of hats.
“I’ve had so many jobs,” says Park, who’s worked at Starbucks and designed call girl ads, among other things. “I’d get laid off from one, I went to another. I did everything before I became a full-time working actor.”
Well, no more schlepping cuppa joes for him. This spring, Park stars in the new Nickelodeon series, Supah Ninjas, the only show on TV focusing on an Asian American family, and next appears in Larry Crowne with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, to be released this summer.
It took Park a while to get to this point. It was what he calls “stupid love poems to girls” that set him on his path. “If I liked a girl, I’d write a poem for her and later I’d feel bad for giving it to her ‘cause it was so bad,” he says. Park’s writing chops couldn’t have been that unappetizing because a college professor read some of Randall’s short stories and encouraged him to pen professionally. This led to play-writing, then the formation of the oldest Asian American college theater company, UCLA’s LCC Theatre Company, and eventually acting. Though Park was passionate about performing, he never pursued it professionally until his late 20s, instead contemplating a career in academics. Thankfully, that didn’t pan out.
In fact, Park’s acting career took off after he got married two years ago, and though he says he’s had to take things more seriously now that “life wasn’t just about me,” he still keeps things in perspective. “I don’t strive for more in a way that makes me feel bad,” he says. “I strive for more in a way that keeps me excited and having fun.”
— Janice Jann
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