Aaron Yoo talks Wong Fu’s ‘Everything Before Us,’ out today on Vimeo

June 3, 2015
Brittany Ishibashi, left, and Aaron Yoo in "Everything Before Us" (Courtesy of Wong Fu Productions)

Brittany Ishibashi, left, and Aaron Yoo in “Everything Before Us” (Courtesy of Wong Fu Productions)

By Tae Hong

Wong Fu Productions, the beloved YouTube goliath, will release its first feature-length film, “Everything Before Us,” on Vimeo On Demand Wednesday.

The romantic comedy follows two couples — a pair of teenagers and two estranged thirtysomethings — as they navigate through a world in which every person is assigned a relationship score by a DMV-esque Department of Emotional Integrity.

Directed by Wesley Chan and Philip Wang, the film premiered at the opening of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in April before going on to screen at a handful of colleges around the U.S.

Under an all-Asian American cast, which includes Aaron Yoo, Ki Hong Lee, Randall Park, Brandon Soo Hoo, Victoria Park and Brittany Ishibashi, “Everything Before Us” is both an exploration of societal standards and a love story.

Aaron Yoo in "Everything Before Us" (Courtesy of Wong Fu Productions)

Aaron Yoo in “Everything Before Us” (Courtesy of Wong Fu Productions)

Aaron Yoo, who plays down-on-his-score artist Ben, found himself smiling the first time he read the script. When he got on Skype for the first time with the filmmakers, curiosity bubbled.

“I was like, guys, this is amazing. Can I ask questions about it? How does it work?” He said.

The rough explanation: Relationship scores, measured by the government institution, affect just about everything in the alternate world presented, from credit scores to finding employment to renting an apartment.

Ben, who’s struggling to find a job because of his score, is told by the department that he needs to make amends with his ex-girlfriend, Sara (Brittany Ishibashi).

“I had heard about Wong Fu for years, but I never worked with them or had a chance to meet them. I knew they were pushing a lot of boundaries and exploring new space and starting to represent a large community of people around the world,” Yoo said. “I read this script and it was just so good. You read a lot of scripts, but you don’t often find yourself actually physically smiling as you’re reading something.”

Yoo, known for his roles in films like “21” and “Disturbia,” described Ben as the kind of guy who, in a normal world, would take the coward’s way out of a relationship and run away instead of getting closure.

The film’s so fun, he said, because in it, no one is allowed to run away — everyone faces their own relationship behaviors head-on. It’s quantified.

“It’s funny because we already rate people in a way, you know?” He said. “Like, oh, that person, she’s a 7. He’s a 6.5. Even if we don’t want to admit that we are, we are, as a species, obsessed with quantifying ourselves as people in different categories.”

“Everything Before Us” was in part a community effort — the Indiegogo campaign to fund the movie raised about $358,000 in one month.

The cast and crew experienced a “amazing, truly fantastic” reception to the film upon its screening at LAPFF. Yoo said he’s looking forward to Internet reactions once it’s launched on Vimeo.

“What I’m really hoping happens is that people will show up online with their reactions to the movie,” he said. “I want to see people do those reaction videos of what they thought.”

Go to https://vimeo.com/ondemand/everythingbeforeus to watch the film.

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