'Always Be My Maybe': How Ali Wong, Randall Park Recruited Keanu Reeves to Play a Version of Himself
In the Netflix rom-com, the 'John Wick' actor plays an extreme, comedic version of himself who enjoys minuscule meals from high-end restaurants, brings his stunt skills to parties and brags about his time on Hollywood blockbusters.
Imagine confessing love to someone, only to have them announce they're dating a Hollywood star known for his kick-ass movies.
That's exactly what happens in Ali Wong and Randall Park's rom-com Always Be My Maybe, directed by Nahnatchka Khan.
The movie, which began streaming on Netflix on Friday, follows childhood besties Sasha Tran (Wong) and Marcus Kim (Park) and their attempt to rekindle a flame after 16 years apart.
The film features three Asian American men as Sasha Tran's love interests: the celebrity restaurant developer (Daniel Dae Kim); Marcus, the middle-class childhood friend; and ... Keanu Reeves.
"He told me that when he considers doing a project, it's all about the people, the script and the director," Wong told The Hollywood Reporter of Reeves. "He must've liked all three of those things because he said 'yes.'"
Wong and Park explained that casting the actor in the project was an idea that came from their writing team, which included themselves as well as Michael Golamco.
It was Wong's desire to have all of Sasha Tran's love interests be Asian American, she said. But in addition to that, she also wanted someone who is funny, a great actor and an Asian American icon.
"The only person in the entire universe who fits all those parameters is Keanu Reeves," Wong said.
When the actor signed onto the project, Park said he couldn't believe it but wasn't surprised when he took the role.
"He was a big fan of (Wong's Netflix stand-up) Baby Cobra, so that I think was the key to getting him," he said. "It's amazing."
In the film, Reeves plays an extreme comedic version of himself. He enjoys minuscule meals from high-end restaurants, brings his stunt skills to parties and brags about his time on Hollywood blockbusters.
But the absurd version of the actor is what Wong and Park said they wanted to up the "will they or won't they" factor of their rom-com.
"We thought about who would be, once Marcus is ready to tell Sasha 'I have feelings for you,' Marcus' worst nightmare," Wong said.