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The People I've Slept With: The Movie

When Quentin Lee (director/producer), Stanley Yung (producer), Karin Anna Cheung (the star), and I (writer/producer) met the first time, we knew right away that we wanted to make an Asian American date movie where an Asian American male and an Asian American female actually fall in love. The People I’ve Slept With is what came from that first meeting.

Quentin Lee, Director

The People I’ve Slept With is a sexy romantic comedy about a promiscuous young woman (Karin Anna Cheung of Better Luck Tomorrow) who unexpectedly gets pregnant and must find out the identity of the father…now! Together with her gay best friend and co-worker (Wilson Cruz of He’s Just Not That Into You, My So-called Life), the two go on the hunt through her past hook-ups and dates to find the baby’s daddy. The film co-stars Archie Kao (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation), Lynn Chen (Lakeview Terrace, Saving Face) and screen legend James Shigeta (Flower Drum Song, The Crimson Kimono).

We also knew what we didn’t want to do. We didn’t want to make another serious Asian American movie about identity issues or conflicts between immigrant parents and their offspring. We wanted something light and fun. In other words, we wanted to tell a different type of Asian American story. One where being Asian plays no role in the actual story. One where the race of the actors could be switched out and the story wouldn’t change. I believe this is important because this reflects my life. I don’t see myself living an “Asian American” story. I see myself living an American story—one where anyone of any race could be me. So what I always tell people is that the only Asian American thing about The People I’ve Slept With is the race of two of the three leads. And I like it that way.

For too long API’s have been portrayed in movies as computer nerds, geishas, martial art experts, or villains. I hope that by portraying APIs as a “normal” person (that anyone could relate to) it’ll help open up both audiences and filmmakers’ minds to what a “normal” American actually looks like. I don’t want to make it seem like race/ethnicity doesn’t play a role in who we are (of course it does) but it doesn’t always play a role. Because at the end of the day, I’m probably more similar (in the way I think and act) to a Caucasian person in America than I am to a Japanese person in Japan.

How have people reacted to the film so far? At the Hawaiian International Film Festival (where we premiered), the average age of the audience seemed like it was 65+. I worried that they wouldn’t laugh and might even be offended by the story. But I was pleasantly surprised when they laughed at all my jokes. One cute eighty-year-old told me after a screening that she had to cover her eyes at some points during the movie but that she really enjoyed it and appreciated the fact that we were making movies about strong Asian American women. She told me that she had wished there were movies like this when she was younger. The movie has had similar reactions in San Diego, San Francisco, Omaha, and Chicago.

Not only has the movie played all over the States, but we’ve taken it international as well. So far it’s played in Sao Paolo, Vancouver, Taipei, and Hong Kong. I have to admit that I was worried about how the Taiwanese would respond to the movie. I heard they were very conservative. However, they laughed and according to one woman during the Q&A she cried!

Come check out the movie for yourself. We’ll be playing at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on May 1 at 7 pm at the Directors Guild of America. There will be a Q&A after the screening and a light reception. Also, support the movie by becoming a fan of it on Facebook.

© 2010 Koji Steven Sakai

Asian American comedy entertainment film movie