How Working at His Dad's Photo Store Helped Randall Park Relate to His "Blockbuster" Character

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 27: Randall Park attends the Premiere Of Netflix's

We all know the way the story of Blockbuster ends. The film rental chain, which as soon as had 9,000 shops throughout the US, filed for chapter in 2010, and its empire crumbled shortly after that. However, there is a lesser-known footnote to that story: America’s final Blockbuster is actually still open. The retailer — positioned in Bend, Oregon — was the topic of the 2020 documentary “The Last Blockbuster” and now Netflix’s fictionalized “Blockbuster” collection.

The present stars Randall Park as retailer supervisor Timmy Yoon, who’s desperately making an attempt to maintain his location afloat because the enterprise crashes down round him. And similar to Netflix’s “Blockbuster” has its roots in actual life, Park additionally shares a particular connection to the story. “Quite a lot of what Timmy goes via, it was very resonant to me,” Park tells POPSUGAR. “My dad owned a one-hour photograph retailer, which is one other business that form of noticed its demise as a result of digital age. I’d go there and assist him out on the retailer, and I’d simply see over time how a lot of a battle it was to maintain that retailer afloat. It feels very actual to me, this need and battle to maintain one thing alive, though you already know it is going to finish. There is magnificence in simply the trouble to maintain it going.”

Park — who’s finest identified for his efficiency as Louis Huang in “Fresh Off the Boat” — additionally feels a private connection to Timmy as a result of he is one thing of a Luddite. “The official description is he is this analog dreamer in a 5G world, and I really feel like that very a lot fits me personally,” Park says. “I’m form of naturally averse to expertise, though I’ve embraced it. It takes me some time. I simply began utilizing Apple Pay.”

There’s a sure irony in the truth that a present about Blockbuster is now airing on Netflix, one of many corporations that was accountable for its demise. For his half, Park nonetheless appreciates old school TV expertise. He was a fan of Blockbuster as a child, and he remembers renting “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “The Godfather” and the like. “I simply cherished the classics,” he notes.

However, Park admits he nonetheless has combined emotions about streaming. “I like the comfort of streaming,” he says. “I’ll say there’s something actually particular about having to work on your content material a bit bit and making an occasion out of the particular alternative.” But he additionally shares a love for the human expertise of going out and choosing up a film from an precise retailer. “I do lengthy for the simplicity of these instances, and as Timmy says, the human interplay that comes with that,” he explains. “Talking to the clerk on the retailer, getting suggestions, giving suggestions, all of these issues, in actual time. I believe it is enjoyable. And it is one thing that we do not have anymore, sadly.”

In the period of streaming, Instacart, distant work, and synthetic intelligence-led checkout strains, it is simpler than ever to keep away from human contact. And in our profit-dictated world, pivots to the quickest, most handy choices generally really feel inevitable. “Blockbuster” finds its characters coping with these info and slowly realizing that their jobs and their lives all appear to be caught previously. From Madeleine Arthur’s candy, spacey cheapskate Hannah to Olga Merediz’s Connie, whose job at Blockbuster appears to be the one factor getting her out of her pajamas, the solid’s battle to search out their means — and the neighborhood they kind whereas doing it — is the center and soul of the present.

“I do really feel like, in the end, this present is about individuals rising, maturing, getting higher, and changing into higher variations of themselves whereas nonetheless holding on to this factor from their previous that’s significant to them,” Park says. “I believe we will relate to all of them.”

The first season of “Blockbuster” premieres on Netflix on Nov. 3, and the present has not but been picked up for a second season.

Image Source: Getty / Gregg DeGuire

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