Jo Koy (with his son Joseph Jr. beside him) and his whole team at the red carpet premiere of his movie ‘Easter Sunday’

Filipino-American comedian Jo Koy arrived in Manila on Aug. 30 to a triumphant welcome, and he brought with him the best news of all: his movie Easter Sunday is also “the first time that an all-Asian cast with a Filipino lead is produced by a major Hollywood studio.” The studio is Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks Pictures.

“It’s a dream come true,” he began. “I did not want to come back to the Motherland without something like this  (Hollywood movie) to present. This was my goal since the beginning of my stand-up career.” 
In a media conference at the Director’s Club of S’Maison mall in Pasay City, Jo Koy told the story about his many failures, doors shutting down and his long struggle to get to the top as a Filipino performer in his 33-year career.

“There were times I wanted to quit. Thank God I didn’t,” he said. ” My mom went to the States in 1969 at the height of racism, and it took 53 years for her to finally see family that looks like her on TV.”

Jo Koy revealed that he did not earn money in his three Netflix specials, but the greatest reward of being on the platform was being noticed by Spielberg. The famed producer was a fan of the comedian’s “Comin’ In Hot” special, which was shot in Hawaii.

“The whole reason for Steven to be involved was because he related to the stories I was talking about on stage, and he got it. So now, he just wants to make a movie and get the message out to everybody,” he narrated.

Jo Koy revealed that Spielberg was very welcoming and accommodating while they were discussing the production of Easter Sunday. “Everything I wanted, he gave me. He really had my back and my best interest.”

He expressed hopes that his starring in the movie will “open the doors for everyone” and trigger a shift in the mindset of bigwigs in Hollywood as far as typecasting Asians with stereotypical roles is concerned. “Things are changing now. Back in the day, if you were a Filipino or if you were Asian, they would lump you all in a group. That’s how racist Hollywood was.”

In his mediacon, Jo Koy told anecdotes about Manny Pacquiao and the iconic balikbayan box – subjects that are also portrayed in Easter Sunday. 

He shared that some scenes in the movie really happened to him in real life, such as being pulled over by the police while his son’s mom pretended to be pregnant. It was also true that his mom and aunt fought over a balikbayan box.

“My favorite thing I wrote (in the movie) is: ‘Baby Jesus will save you.’ That was mine.” Jo Koy disclosed.

Easter Sunday opens today in select theaters. The cast includes Hollywood veterans Lou Diamond Phillips and Tia Carrere who are also of Filipino descent.

Source: Manila Bulletin (