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Interview: Lee Isaac Chung Discusses His Film ‘Minari’

Filmmakers like Lee Isaac Chung don’t come around too often. How many writers or directors can take a deeply personal experience and make it universal? Well, with Minari, Chung did just that. Not only is the movie based on his younger days, growing up as an observational young boy while his family struggled to make it in America, it’s a uniquely relatable story. No matter who you are, either you or one of your relatives almost assuredly went through something similar. That’s why the film is connecting like it has. A few days ago, I got the chance to speak with Chung about the flick, including how he managed to pull it all off. Considering how Minari (review found here) is one of the darlings of Oscar season, it was the perfect time to talk with the writer/director.

Below, you can hear my interview with Chung. The origins of Minari are obvious, but most fascinating to me is listening to him talk about how little he was focused on making it closely reflect his life. For example, it wasn’t about Steven Yeun looking like his father. Of course, that seems obvious, but it’s still incredibly interesting to listen to. Chung is a lovely man, easy to chat with, so it’s a pretty wide-ranging and light conversation. Be sure to give it a listen, as well as our recent conversation with Yeun (here), if you haven’t done so yet. Both of these interviews are pretty solid, if I do say so myself, and should inspire you to check out the flick. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to give Minari a shot…

Here now is my discussion with Lee Issac Chung, the writer and director of Minari. Enjoy:

Minari is in theaters now and hits VOD for rental on Friday!


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Written by Joey Magidson

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