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John Cho, Mia Isaac and Hannah Marks Talk Don’t Make Me Go

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JOHN CHO and MIA ISAAC star in DON'T MAKE ME GO Courtesy of: Prime Video © 2022 Amazon Content Services LLC

Don't Make Me Go follows a single father () and his reluctant teenage daughter () as they embark on an unforgettable cross-country road trip, discovering new levels of their love for each other and the unexpected twists and turns life has in store. Ahead of the film releasing on on July 15th we spoke to director and the film's leads John Cho and Mia Isaac.

The film manages to be quite bleak and sad at times but also really funny and uplifting in other moments. How do you strike this balance between the two?

Hannah Marks: I think it's just about being in the characters' shoes and thinking about what I would do if I were either Max or Wally. A lot of the things that happen can be sad or funny, but I think as long as they're coming from the characters and how they're actually feeling it can be organic and real.

 

Do you have any strong memories of you chasing your dreams rather than making the safe responsible choice that helped you shape the film?

HM: Yeah, I think I'm lucky in that I've always been able to chase my dreams and pursue what I want to pursue, and I haven't played it safe in my life but a lot of that comes down to having really supportive, fantastic parents. So I'm really lucky because not everyone gets to pursue their dreams as evidenced by the movie.

 

Were there any specific points in your life that influenced the film?

HM: Well I've been a terrible driver, just like Wally. I've done quite a bit of karaoke in my day but not as good as Max. There are a lot of things in this movie that I related to, definitely Wally's whole relationship with Glenn. I definitely had my fair share of boy drama in high school, so I think there are a lot of parallels.

 

Being an actor as well as a director, does that change the way that you interact with your actors when you're directing? 

HM: Definitely, I can't speak for other directors but I do think I approach it from a different perspective having lived my life as an actor, and a lot of my friends are actors so I do feel like we speak the same language and hopefully I'm as respectful and supportive as you can be just because I've been in their shoes and respect the process and understand that it's really vulnerable to have a camera in your face all the time.

 

The cast do a really great job in the film, was there anything you did to help draw out these performances and develop the chemistry between the two leads?

HM: I love improv, I'm a big improv fan and I think it was about creating a safe space for them to be able to improvise with each other and take risks and try things that are weird and maybe not scripted. Even though Vera Herbert's script did such a great job of portraying the relationship, but it was fun for them to get to bring themselves to it and I liked to really encourage that because they have such beautiful personalities in real life.

 

If you could take a road trip anywhere in the world with anyone, where would you go and with who?

HM: Oh my goodness! I would probably take my dogs to Austin, Texas. That's just what came to me in the moment here, I might change my mind. I think my dogs would be a good companion and Austin sounds kinda fun

MIA ISAAC and JOHN CHO on the set of DON'T MAKE ME GO Photo: TAMAR MÜNCH © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

 

You've both got really great chemistry together on screen, how did you foster and cultivate that?

Mia Isaac: It's not something that we had to work on, it's more something that we kind of fell into naturally and I owe a lot of thanks to John for that because I didn't know what I was doing and going into it I was looking for some sort of guidance or for a friend and John was exactly that.

John Cho: It was not something that we had to work a whole lot on, it felt like they cast the right person in Mia, and I'm a dad so the impulses were there naturally. I think in a lot of ways, the big change for me was offscreen in the sense that I did think about the experience for Mia in a parental way that I wanted to do what I could to make this experience, her first film, a good one. And I took responsibility a little bit and that's as far as I went on that end but I felt like offscreen there was a lot of mirroring in our relationship and in the film so it was just something that came very naturally to us both.

 

The film is all about a father teaching his daughter about life and a daughter teaching her father about life, did either of you teach each other anything new during the making of the film?

JC: You taught me how to play a card game.

MI: Oh yeah, did I teach you how to play Spit? Yeah

JC: Yes, you did.

MI: That's a good one, and I think you…

JC: I taught you how to pick a lock.

MI: Oh you taught me how to throw rocks as well! Remember when we threw rocks? You taught me how to skip rocks

JC: Oh yeah.

MI: I don't think you were successful in that though.

JC: It's all about the rock shape, you want to get a smooth, thin rock and not a softball.

If you could take a road trip anywhere in the world with anyone, where would you go and with who?

MI: I live in Atlanta so I think I would probably do a road trip from Atlanta to New York with my dad.

JC: I'd like to take my kids up the California coast to the Redwoods, I think it would be great to see the Redwoods in Yosemite.

 

Don't Make Me Go releases on Video on July 15th.