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Joe Seo, star of 'Spa Night', talks about breakout role

Sep 18, 2016

Joe Seo plays David in Andrew Ahn's film "Spa Night"
Credit Courtesy Photo

Joe Seo is an Asian-American actor whose latest role in “Spa Night”, as David —  a gay man growing up in a conservative, Korean household — has won him multiple awards. It’s his big break in the North American film market after years of working in Asia. He spoke with Aspen Public Radio’s Patrick Fort about his experience before the film is screened this week as part of AspenFilm’s Filmfest.

  On playing a character that doesn’t speak much…

“It’s taking one part of your arsenal away. If you were a soldier or something. It’s an aspect that you can’t use because of this character. You’re not as expressive vocally...Andrew (Ahn, director of the film) wanted this character to be really memorable in that way. He didn’t want to contrast the turmoil — the differences between what it’s considered to be a completely masculine man, to someone who’s masculine and also queer.”

On how the film switches between Korean and English...

“There’s some stuff that’s a lot more meaning in that respective language — whether that be the word ‘rose,’ or the Korean word for ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ — it’s a little more meaningful, especially as an Asian American. We go back and forth. It’s a way of codeswitching.”