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'Ode To My Father' Star Discovered Through YouTube Video

BY Julie Jones | Jan 21, 2015 04:08 PM EST


The star of the bestselling Korean film "Ode To My Father" was discovered through a comic YouTube video.

The film's casting agency first saw Korean-American actress Stella Choe in the video "What Kind Of Asian Are You?" It's a funny video that deals with a serious subject, the assumption that Asian Americans are somehow less American than anyone else. In Choe's video a man assumes she must be from "somewhere else" and starts to talk to her about Asian food even though she was born in the USA. She begins talking to him as if he was British because she ironically assumes his ancestors probably came from Britain. The popular video was shared on many a Facebook page.

Choe and a friend made the video for fun. Chose has acted for a while but never landed a big role. She had no idea the video would serve as an audition piece and land her a role in a Korean box office hit. The YouTube video won her an audition with another 200 actresses and a few months later learned that she won the part.

In an interview with the Chosun Ilbo, Choe described getting the part of Yoon Mak Soon as being "like a fairy tale."

In "Ode To My Father" Choe plays the American-born daughter of a Korean woman adopted by a family in the U.S. During the Korean War the woman was separated from her brother and the other members of her family. Her long-lost brother, who remained in Korea, finally sees her on a television program that helps to reunite families separated by the war. He recognizes her from her story and the siblings meet once more.

Much of the film was shot in Busan but Choe said that it's a good thing that her scenes were not set in Korea. The Los Angeles native does not speak any Korean.

According to the Joongang Daily, "Ode To My Father" drew 1.5 million viewers in its first five days, earning $1.5 million. The film hit a positive note with many Korean families who suffered through similar situations and were separated from relatives because of the Korean War. Choe watched the film with her own family and said that the theater was a "sea of tears." The film helped open up discussions about her family's past.

"Ode To My Father" stars Hwang Jung Min as the brother who stayed behind and Yunjin Kim as his devoted wife. Singer-actor Yunho makes a cameo appearance.

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