If only “After Yang” was made after Donald Trump’s presidency.
Kogonada’s film, ranked by critics as one of the best films of 2022, debuted at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival before being screened in the Spotlight section at Sundance. The film centers on the family android Yang (Justin H. Min), whose malfunctions lead to a philosophical debate as the parents, played by Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith, reconnect with their own humanity.
Iranian-French ‘Extraction’ actress Golshifteh Farahani revealed during a TikTok video for Elle that she was originally cast as the female lead, but due to President Trump’s travel ban, Turner-Smith replaced her .
When asked by Elle if she’s ever been “disappointed” about losing a role, Farahani replied, “Yes, I’ve lost two roles which both hurt me a lot. One of them was ‘Prince of Persia’. It’s it was when the Iranian government took my passport and wouldn’t let me leave and that led to my exile. It was the most traumatic time of my life. And then the second one, again, was another movie with Colin Farrell that i should have done.
He added, “I was looking forward to working with him and thanks to President Trump. I have a French passport but my visa took a lot longer than usual because I was born in Iran and couldn’t get to that shoot. So twice for political reasons I lost two roles. Maybe I’m not fond of those stories, but the fact that I couldn’t go there because of politics hurt me a lot.”
“After Yang” director Kogonada told IndieWire that the theme of race was central to the portrayal of AI Yang.
“This robot was a construct of Asianness. I could relate deeply to this idea that he wasn’t really Asian, but he existed as Asian and he wanted that too,” Kogonada said. “And maybe he was too, you know, maybe it was getting to the essence of what that means. Such a short story and lovely and well told but I could see the promise of being the kind of movie I wanted to see. It had that kind of seed and the promise of something that felt like it could be cinematic. And I also loved a home sci-fi world The stake was not to save the world, but to get through a day and get through weeks and months.