“Once we had Lana [Condor, who plays Lara Jean Song Covey] then it became about not trying to figure out if the girls looked alike, because that can vary in every family anyway. Especially when it is mixed race. “
“Hopefully people will be generous about that, and understand that is still supporting the Asian American community.”
But while Johnson obviously wishes they could have cast Korean-Americans in specific roles, she made sure to insist, “The story of the three girls is not that they are Asian American.”
“I am glad that Jenny was strict about staying true to the ethnicities of the girls in the book. But we didn’t want to make it about the Asian American experience. Because that is not what the book is.”
“For me I could relate to need to support the Asian American community, because they are under-represented, because as a female filmmaker I am under-represented. So I understood that.”
“We don’t bring it up, which I think makes it more relatable to people. So everybody can see themselves in the movie. And that is how it should be.”
“I did a Q&A last week, and most of the young people at the end were like, ‘Thank you for making a high school look like our high school. It was diversity all around. And we never see that in movies.’”
“I was very proud of that moment. And I think that is part of being color blind when you are making a movie.”
Johnson also had a helping hand throughout production when it came to specifically getting some of the details of life as an Asian American right, though, as author Jenny Han would repeatedly give her suggestions, especially when it came to set decoration.
“I wanted to make sure that we were getting the Asian American side correct. I couldn’t speak to that. So Jenny Han would help us with set dec stuff.”
“She would be like, ‘There has to be a rice cooker on the side in the kitchen at all times.’ And I was like, ‘That’s great. I wouldn’t have thought of that.’ So little things like that, which make a huge difference.”
“To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” is released on Netflix on August 17.