This week marks the release of Netflix’s latest series Blockbuster. Randall Park stars in the series as Timmy Yoon, the manager of his hometown’s Blockbuster Video, which ends up being the last one in America. Dorkaholics had the privilege of speaking with Randall about his character on the show as well as the importance of representation and the real life inspirations for his portrayal of such a great boss.
Dorkaholics: As not only an Asian American lead, but Korean American, what did you find most important about playing Korean American Timmy Yoon?
Randall Park: Just to be a lead on a show is just very special to me and something that I’ve always wanted to do, and I always wanted to be. Not just as an Asian American, but as an actor just getting the opportunity to be the lead of a show was so great. But as an Asian American it’s particularly special to play a character who I think [is so] identifiable not just to other Asian Americans but to a lot of people. To see somebody who may feel the same things that they do and to see somebody who means so well. I think there’s a lot of humanity, not just in Timmy but in all the characters. But to be able to portray someone so human and to do that on this show in particular where the show is not about Timmy’s ethnicity or any of the characters’ ethnicity. It is a part of who they are but it’s not like the sole focus and I think that’s cool, we should have all types of representation and I feel like this is very much a part of that that fight.
Dorkaholics: I found Timmy not just identifiable, but also incredibly inspiring because he’s a business owner always looking to do the right thing for his employees and the community. What experiences, ideas, or people did you take inspiration from to play to Timmy?
Randall Park: I think back to a lot of people. I’ve worked so many jobs in my life. Like even before acting and even while I was starting out as an actor, I did graphic design… I was a security guard… I was a waiter, I worked in an accounting firm… I worked in in real estate. I just did so many things. And I do think anyone who’s kind of worked a job with other people, will see this show and see things that they recognize. And I think for me, it did harken back a lot of those experiences and memories and about the camaraderie and about working under somebody. Whether it was a good or bad experience, it really helped me kind of focus in on ‘well, what kind of person is Timmy going to be in this leadership role.’ He clearly is somebody who values his employees and that made me think of some of the great bosses I’ve had.
This interview transcription has been edited for clarity.
Timmy Yoon (Randall Park) is an analog dreamer in a 5G world. He’s spent his entire adult life dedicated to his first love, movies — a passion that’s kept him at his first and only job, managing his hometown Blockbuster Video.
Then Timmy is alarmed to learn that his store is officially the last Blockbuster in America. He now has no choice but to take action to stay open and keep his friends employed. Timmy and his staff quickly come to realize that being home to the last Blockbuster might actually be exactly what their community needs to rekindle the human connections they lost to the digital age. It also unexpectedly reunites him with his long-time crush Eliza (Melissa Fumero), who’s recently come back to work for him. Will this battle to preserve the past be the push Timmy needs to step into the present? His employees can only hope so.
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