Brian “Rich Brian” Imanuel said he and director Justin Chon hit it off as soon as they met, introduced by the Jakarta-born rap star’s agent. “We clicked that day and that was when we said, ‘Let’s, maybe, make something,” he told Deadline’ Sundance Studio.
In Chon’s latest film, Imanuel stars as a version of himself, a young Indonesian rap artist who’s just signed a big label deal and landed in swanky beachfront digs in Hawaii to record, pursued by his fired manager father. The star said he found making a film “harder than music” but he’d like to to do more.
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Chon (Blue Bayou, Gook, 2017 NEXT Audience Award winner, Ms. Purple) said that at the time they met he’d recently finished another project and “felt like I need something that was completely mine.”
“We got to rehearse for two months and shoot it the way I felt it should be shot…I cast who I thought was right,” he said of the independently financed pic. “Watching Brian grow during this process was really a beautiful thing to see. This is his first film, and for him to trust me was something really truly special, and ultimately shows on the screen.”
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The film premiered Sunday night. Click above for the full interview.
Director: Justin Chon
Logline: An aspiring Indonesian rapper at a resort in Hawaii to cut his debut album accompanied by his father and former, who is unwilling to surrender control of his career.
Panelists: Justin Chon (writer/director), star Brian Imanuel
First Screening: January 22, 9:30 p.m MST, Eccles Theatre, Park City
Track all of our Deadline Studio content here. The 2023 Sundance Film Festival takes place from January 19-29. Follow Deadline’s complete coverage of the deals and the doings in Park City here.
The Deadline Studio at Sundance Film Festival runs January 20-23 at Hotel Park City, where the cast and creatives behind the best and buzziest titles in this year’s lineup sit down with Deadline’s festival team to discuss their movies and the paths they took to get to Park City.