Today we have a very special guest: our Sung-min! We’re so happy to have cast William Jeon in the role of Sung-min.
A lot of you who’ve been following our casting journey know we were looking at almost a hundred talented candidates for our Sung-min. Last week, we got down to our 2-3 top candidates, and as we were talking through this incredibly difficult decision, Samantha slipped.
She called William “Sung-min” by accident.
“I know who you’re going to end up casting,” I told her then, and here we are.
“First off, I love romantic comedies—that’s what I’ve been wanting to do ever since becoming an actor,” William says. “First off, I knew this was going to be hilarious…and then I read the description of Sung-min, I was like, ‘wow, this is me, are they spying on me’?”
William was one of our first and most responsive applicants, and his hard work paid off. He’s got a relaxed side, however, that he shares with the character he’s playing.
“Sung-min is a very free-spirited person, which I relate to really well. He doesn’t take life too seriously…he takes things as they come.” An improv comedian in his spare time, William also identified with Sung-min’s sense of humor: “Just the little things he does to Lashonda to kind of irritate her, but also, you know poke fun—he’s a kid at heart. I think I am as well, and I love that about him.”
William also drew from Sung-min’s personality later on in the script. “He knows how to kind of talk to Lashonda in hard times, to know how to soothe her…and not take things defensively, he knows how to see the big picture and also talk to her in a positive way.”
Third Culture Kid
William had other experiences in common with his character as well: a history of tension between his parents’ roots, and his own. William wanted to pursue an acting career since childhood, but his parents didn’t quite approve of those creative choices, hoping he would choose something more stable.
“I don’t know if a lot of people know out there, but a lot of Asian parents don’t really support acting. They think it’s not really a career, not really a job, and it’s too far-fetched—it’s not gonna happen…I was smart enough to know as a kid that they would shoot me down.”
A couple of years ago, William’s mother told him she wished he would’ve spoken up as a child. They both knew, though, that she wouldn’t have approved back then.
“They have their own way of showing love,” William says. As a Korean-American, however, his way of receiving love is different from his parents’ quieter traditionalism: he prefers more communication.
William explains: because geographically he grew up without a strong Korean-American community nearby, he constantly compared his experience to non-Asians. He often craved the less reserved relationships his peers had with their parents. When he finally moved, and became more entrenched in an Asian community, he found that his peers with stronger community ties didn’t find the generational gap unusual like he did:
“They said, ‘that’s just how it is.’”
William’s experience, he says, is quite common among young Asian-Americans, who often identify more strongly with the “American” than with the Asian part of their roots. William recalls dating a non-Asian who sometimes knew more about Korean culture than he did!
William’s experiences did not sway him from that acting career. After running his own Arizona-based sushi restaurant for two years, he moved to Los Angeles to act full-time, throwing himself into the Meisner technique, short films, and everything else he could find to perfect his craft. He soon decided, however, that the pressure to make money affected the purity of his art: you become nervous, and you don’t act as well, he says, when you’re worried about whether or not you’re going to eat. To provide for himself, William became a pharmacist, so that he could pursue his craft without reservations.
And that’s brought him to us! We’re thrilled to have him on board, and we hope you’ll follow him on Instagram @thewilljeon, and give a warm welcome to the new Facebook fan page he created for you guys.