Finding Peace in the End: In Conversation with Blue Bayou’s Linh-Dan Pham

Linh-Dan Pham as Parker in Blue Bayou. (Photo credit: Focus Features / Blue Bayou)

Asian American filmmaker Justin Chon’s latest film – Blue Bayou – opens today in theatres nationwide. In the film, Linh-Dan Pham plays Parker, a Vietnamese refugee who has resettled with her father in the New Orleans area and who is in the end stages of her battle with cancer.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to chat with Linh-Dan about her role as Parker in Blue Bayou.  The following is a transcript of our conversation. It has been edited for length and clarity.

JENN: Hi, Linh-Dan – thank you so much for taking the time today. I’m really excited to have the chance to talk with you about Blue Bayou. I found the film really powerful, and I really loved your performance as Parker.

One of the things that really strikes me is how few in-depth and complicated representations of the Vietnamese refugee experience there are in media. Can you talk a little bit about what drew you to this character and what aspects of the refugee experience you were trying to portray in your performance of Parker?

LINH-DAN: First of all, I have to admit that in the beginning I had no clue who Justin Chon was! (laughs)

My reason is because I’m French and I don’t live in America. I’m not American; I’m French Vietnamese. But of course, I’m always interested in knowing Asian American – and Asian, in general – artists.

When Justin first got in touch with me, he was so modest. He said: “I wrote this part and I think you would be perfect for it. These are the links to my two movies Gook and Ms. Purple, and here is the script.”

When I watched both of his films – Gook and Ms. Purple – I just fell in love with his work. And, along with the script for Blue Bayou? It was really a no-brainer. On top of all that, Justin’s female characters are always so beautiful and strong, and they always have a storyline of their own. And so really, I was like – yeah, take me! (laughs)

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