"What I recall from the Harold and Kumar movies is my struggle with the advertisers. There was all this racial humor in the movie, and the advertising department wanted to say “Starring the Asian guy in American Pie, and the Indian guy from Van Wilder…” and they did go with that, and they submitted that to me for approval, and I said, “I don’t like it.” They asked me why, and I explained it to them, and that was tricky because it’s difficult explaining to my own representatives why that didn’t jibe with me, because everyone kind of felt like it was keeping in tone with the movie. And I said, “I don’t like it. We’re poking fun at racism in the movie all the time, but it puts the audience on the wrong side of the racism joke.” So they were playing with the wording a little bit in the edits, and they kept coming up with versions to make me happy, but they were essentially the same thing. I finally said, “You are not going to make me happy. You’re dancing around it, and you’re clearly attached to this idea, and I want you to know that no version of this idea will make me happy. And if you’re afraid that I won’t show up to do promotion because of this bitterness, you can rest assured that that’s not true. I consider promoting a movie part of my duties, and I will show up nevertheless. But you can either use this campaign and know that I’m unhappy, or you can change it and know that I’m happy. That’s it. Stop trying.” And eventually they went with it, and it’s one of those things where I look back and I’m very proud of the movie, but that’s the thing I remember."
John Cho, in a great, long-read 2009 interview on the UCLA Asia Institute’s Asia Pacific Arts website. Thanks to radiophile for the link.
This quote strikes me as particularly relevant in the aftermath of the STID press tour and John’s comments. He’s always thinking about the portrayal of race in media and culture because it hits home. And he’s a total BAMF for consistently pointing out when people get it wrong.