Sherry Cola, Ashley Park and Stephanie Hsu Talk ‘Joy Ride’, Bonding & Getting Permission For The “WAP” Cover – Interview
Get ready for a wild ride as we delve into the uproarious world of Joy Ride, brought to you by the producers of Neighbors and the co-screenwriter of Crazy Rich Asians, Adele Lim. This hilarious and unapologetically explicit tale of identity and self-discovery brings together a stellar cast, including Ashley Park, Sherry Cola, Oscar® nominee Stephanie Hsu, and Sabrina Wu.
Lim’s directorial debut, Joy Ride, focuses on four unlikely friends who find themselves on an extraordinary international adventure. When Audrey’s (Park) business trip takes an unexpected turn, she turns to her childhood best friend, Lolo (Cola), who happens to be a delightful mess. Together with Kat (Hsu), Audrey’s college friend turned Chinese soap star, and Deadeye (Wu), Lolo’s eccentric cousin, they embark on a no-holds-barred, epic journey of bonding, friendship, belonging, and wild debauchery.
This cast has demonstrated their exceptional talent and versatility in their respective careers leading up to their roles in this film. Park, acclaimed for her Tony Award-nominated performance in the Broadway musical Mean Girls and for her work in Emily In Paris and, most recently, BEEF, has consistently wowed audiences with her remarkable stage presence and captivating vocals. Cola, known for her comedic brilliance in the TV series Good Trouble, has showcased her acting range and ability to bring characters to life with charm and authenticity.
Additionally, Hsu’s notable work in the Oscar-winning film Everything Everywhere All At Once has solidified her as a rising star in the industry. Although Joy Ride will be Wu’s acting debut, they’re no stranger to comedy thanks to their time doing stand-up performances. Furthermore, fans can look forward to Cola’s upcoming movie Shortcomings, set to be released later this year.
Check out the interview with Sherry Cola, Ashley Park and Stephanie Hsu for Joy Ride below:
Can you tell us what it was like working together on set and shooting Joy Ride?
Sherry Cola: It was just an incredible hangout. You know, like we’ve said, it’s like summer camp, this experience, and just being together. Like, we have withdrawals after we wrapped.
Ashley Park: We would be shooting all day together. And then, if one of us had scenes separately and we hadn’t seen the others for like 10 hours, we’d be like, ‘Where are they?!’ We all knew each other’s rooms; we were always snuggling up with each other in sweats and ordering takeout. So it really was the best, most comfortable experience. And we’re really proud because it was really hard work. A lot of hours were very long, and it’s a lot of energy, high stakes–a lot of stuff going on. I think we were really able to be there for each other so that we were really comfortable.
Stephanie Hsu: Yeah, it really did feel like summer camp, the summer camp I never had growing up. And it was just amazing to have a good time. We had a lot of fun, we laughed a lot, and we challenged ourselves too. I think the thing I’m most proud of in our movie is that the four of us found our own sense of humor and a sense of humor of the film together. Like, that’s something on the page. I don’t know if it was completely there. But because Point Grey has this thing where they have writers on set and an alt tent, they’re writing jokes as we go. And so sometimes, they would say, ‘Oh, you know, Kat says this line.’ And we would look at the alt together and be like, ‘Actually, that feels more like a Lola thing.’ Like, we would just switch and kind of really discover voices through that, which was really fun.
And with that, could you each share your experience in finding your character, honing their tone, and bringing them to life on the screen? We’re interested in hearing how you translated the character from the page to the script.
Cola: I’d say Lolo isn’t too far from Sherry. But she is like a heightened version of this messy, in-your-face woman who doesn’t have her shit together, so it was really fun. Kind of like being unapologetic and giving myself permission to just be so abrasive and make these jokes like, ‘You got skull fucked by Keroppi.’ That is a literal line in the film. I think we really found our characters like Steph said; we knew what our characters would say and wouldn’t say.
Park: Especially as we developed the relationships between each of the characters, I think that took us a second. And then we were like, ‘Oh, this is, you know, we can only have fun and all that stuff on set when we’ve done our homework.’ I was really like, ‘Oh, this is the relationship here, and this is what the feelings are here,’ especially navigating four different relationships and four different arcs of friendships throughout it.
Cola: Also, in different timelines because we’re filming the scenes not in order. So the very first day of filming was in the middle of nowhere after getting kicked off the train when we were coked and mollied up.
Park: I think Audrey is interesting because, in the first half of the movie, I’ve never gotten the opportunity to kind of play the straight man, allowing myself some stillness in a character. Like, there are no stereotypes, there’s no anything, this is just a full person. And also, I think that we were all really excited because it is the funniest, most raunchy comedy that you’ve seen, but there’s a lot of heart in it too. So it’s finding that balance, especially because we weren’t filming chronologically, of like, when we were our most naive selves and when we’re developing the arc of our characters.
Can you talk about getting to use your Broadway skills for the films? Also, I loved the version of “WAP” you all performed. Can you just talk about the process of filming and recording it?
Park: [Laughing] The Broadway tangent when we had to do that little toodles acapella thing, we could not get through that, though.
Hsu: I think the first step was that we got Adele [Lim] to write a letter to Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B and got their blessing for the song. We really wanted to make sure that we were celebrating them. There’s this one very subtle line in the movie where Deadeye says, ‘K-pop owes a lot to hip hop.’ And so we wanted to make sure that we were able to be linked in arms and how we were empowered across races and how we celebrate each other.
Park: Adele had said, ‘What they did with that song is what we’re trying to do with our movie,’ and to get their blessing in that way made us really excited to be able to perform it. We were just freshly cast, and we did a table read in LA with all four of us together. And we talked about it there and knew that Sabrina can beatbox. So we were like, ‘Let’s just figure out an arrangement.’ We did it, I think, in my backyard like an hour beforehand.
Hsu: The four of us have a lot of group project energy. Even watching it last night, it reminded me of being in high school or something and making home videos with your friends. Like, ‘Really, wouldn’t it be funny if you wear this hat?’ One of my favorite scenes was in the montage where the four best friends are going out throughout China. And it’s so subtle. No one’s gonna clock it. We were in the tent. And we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, what if we just switch clothes with each other? So we’re all wearing each other’s clothes.’
Cola: Which is so symbolic of the bonding, you know?
Park: In that song in particular, when we filmed it, that was like one of the coolest days because we had dance rehearsals four different times with our choreographer and the Vancouver dancers, who are amazing. And when we did the music video, what was fun is what you’re seeing in the final project is a spliced-together version of all these different shots. All of us had an individual solo dance we did to a big chunk of the song, and all these other parts were getting to cheer each other on and be like, ‘Oh my god, let’s walk like Cat crawling through,’ and then you would let people read, you know, like all of this stuff. It was a real celebration of each of our individualities. And yeah, that was a really fun day!
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