After the Sundance premiere of Accidental Getaway Driver there were tears and Asians on stage The pride of Sing J. Lee, long-time director of commercials and music videos.
Based on the true events of a Vietnamese driver who is kidnapped by three criminals and transports them as they escape, this story seems ready for an “action thriller” adaptation. But Lee had other plans when he first read the 2017 GQ article on which it is based.
“It seemed like some kind of movie,” Lee said during a question-and-answer session after the screening. “But I immediately saw four people in this story who could embody so many parts of my own family and life experience, or in my parents’ lives. I saw something so tender and vulnerable, and it was me Never seen that in the west. I just felt this drive to create something with this story, because I was worried about what another version of this story might be.”
And NotCollateral, Michael Mann’s film featuring Jamie Foxx as a taxi driver imprisoned by a hit man played by Tom Cruise, Lee’s film is about loneliness and the meaning of family Contemplation, all immersed in Vietnamese culture. Since most of the dialogue is in Vietnamese, the story follows an elderly taxi driver who picks up three passengers who turn out to be dangerous fugitives. One of the men, fluent in Vietnamese, establishes a bond with the driver and finds himself caught between his dark makeshift family of fugitive prisoners and the possible light of salvation offered by a man old enough to be his father.
“Just being surrounded by Vietnamese Americans, telling stories about Vietnamese Americans that have nothing to do with (the Vietnam War), and the universal themes that tie everyone together, it’s A privilege,” said Dustin Nguyen, who plays the conflicted prisoner Tar.
Nguyen was pretty much the only one on stage talking about work and movies. Hiệp Trần Nghĩa, a 21 year-old actor from France who found himself in a leading role for the first time, with the help of a translator, cried and thanked his supportive wife and New Year’s Eve Two, I hope everyone can live a happy life like him.
Gabriel, who plays the driver’s divorced wife, fought back tears and said many people her age were a lost generation who came from war and lost family before calling Give a family to whoever is with her on stage.
But perhaps the most touching moment comes when Phi Vu plays a criminal torn between following the group’s violent leader and embracing his own traditions and paths. Vu recounted how he struggled to convince his father-in-law, who was a lobsterman in Louisiana, to take him out to sea so he could learn about the man’s life. The father-in-law finally relented and said yes, but then Vu got a callback for the movie… while they were offshore.
“I told my father-in-law, I said, ‘Hey, I have to go. My wife said, ‘You can’t leave him! I don’t want to leave him!'” recounted by Vu up.
Then, in a moment of tenderness, he speaks, in confessional tones, of what the film is about. “I’ve really been through a long journey of recovering from a lack of love, and I think I’m still finding it. And this, I guess, is my first step,” he said through tears.
Director Lee also talked about his methodical directing style and his special demands on composition, his close relationship with his DP, 21 Daytime shooting and nighttime shooting challenges.
“The challenge we face is that we don’t have enough time,” he said. “The sun rises or the sun sets.”