Jo Koy’s ‘Easter Sunday’ puts Filipinos front and center

Jo Koy’s ‘Easter Sunday’ puts Filipinos front and center

Published August 5, 2022
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The film was no ordinary job for the comedian and the rest of the cast. The magnitude of being on a mostly Filipino set led to happy cry-fests, Koy said. Emotions really hit when co-star Tia Carrere pointed out this was her first time playing a Filipino character in her 40-year career.

“To be able to be right there in a scene with five other Filipino actors and just doing a scene about a family She never saw that before,” Koy, 51, told The Associated Press. “We all just kind of like teared up and just celebrated together because it’s like ‘OK, this is going to be one of many moments up here.’”

Koy, who is half Filipino and half white, is making his feature film debut in a movie largely inspired by the material from his Netflix stand-up specials. DreamWorks/Universal is touting “Easter Sunday,” which opens in theaters Friday, as the first big studio movie with an all-Filipino ensemble. Koy plays Joe Valencia, a comic and aspiring actor who goes home to the San Francisco Bay Area for the titular holiday. He attempts to bond with his teenage son while dealing with well-meaning but overbearing relatives. The production comes at a time when Filipino American food, history and advocacy are increasingly emerging into the zeitgeist.

“Finally our stories, our faces are front and center on the big screen,” said Carrere, 55, and known for movies like “Wayne’s World,” “True Lies” and “Lilo & Stitch.” “I have to pinch myself that I’m still here, still in the business and invited to the party.”