The stars behind new Netflix hit Always Be My Maybe were convinced they’d never be able to pull off Keanu Reeves’ hilarious cameo in the film.
Stars Ali Wong and Randall Park, who also co-wrote the romantic comedy, created an over-the-top version of Reeves they could only hope he’d be willing to take on.
In the film, Wong’s character’s childhood friend, portrayed by Park, prepares to confess his lifelong crush on his pal when he discovers she has embarked on a romance with The Matrix star.
For Wong, there was no one better to round out the love triangle than a star who was “funny, a great actor, and an Asian-American icon,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter.
“The only person in the entire universe who fits all those parameters is Keanu Reeves,” Wong added.
With the help of director Nahnatchka Khan, Wong sat down with the actor and successfully convinced him to sign on, even though fitting the production into his busy John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum schedule seemed like an impossible task at the time.
“We all thought it was going to be impossible to get him,” Park tells Vulture. “What was the likelihood of him being available, and then also him being willing to play himself?”
Wong was also thrilled to work with an Asian-American she looked up to as a member of her community growing up – Keanu is of Chinese and Hawaiian descent.
“It’s always been important to me, to express my desire and attraction toward Asian-American men,” Wong told the publication. “Since I first watched Speed, I was very aware that Keanu was Asian-American because my family and community wouldn’t shut up about it. Maybe other people didn’t know but I never forgot that.”