Awkwafina felt insecure about crying in her new film The Farewell but it ended up becoming a very emotional experience.
The star, real name Nora Lum, made her film breakthrough in 2018 with roles in comedies Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians, but she proves her dramatic acting chops in The Farewell, a drama about a Chinese family who doesn’t tell the matriarch she’s dying and instead throws her one last hurrah.
In a new interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Awkwafina confessed she was self-conscious about getting upset onscreen when they started filming, but once she got fully into her character Billi, her emotions ran wild.
“It was extremely emotional. At the start of filming, I was insecure about crying. But when I got into it and thought about what this girl was going through, it felt very real,” she shared.
The rapper-turned-actress was born in New York to a Chinese-American father and South Korean mother, and the role helped her understand the Asian perspective on the dilemma.
“During the transformation into my character, Billi, I really grappled with the idea of not telling someone about their own medical condition,” Awkwafina explained. “As an American, it seemed very wrong to me at first. But as Asian people, we have an undying reverence for our elders, and when you think about it as a communication of love, respect, and generosity, you realise that it’s complicated, layered, and very profound. I think this role helped me understand it.”
Awkwafina credits films such as Crazy Rich Asians with helping movies like The Farewell get made and for helping Asian-American actors get more work.
“Asian-American actors have told me that before Crazy Rich Asians they couldn’t get one audition. Now they’re getting tons,” she commented.
The Farewell is in U.S. cinemas now and will open in the U.K. in October.
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