The supernatural horror “Wish Upon” hits theaters July 14, and The Knockturnal had the chance to speak with star Ki Hong Lee (Maze Runner, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) about his character, set life, and how his aversion to horror films somehow led to the role.
This film was produced with inspiration in equal parts from the horror genre and John Hughes-esque high school classics, which type of film would you say you’re more a fan of?
Ki Hong: I personally am not a fan of the horror genre, I just get so scared every time I watch one. But the last to horror movies I saw were actually really great, one was “The Wailing,” a Korean horror film, and the other one was “The Conjuring.” I saw “The Conjuring” in theaters and I just enjoyed both. Because of my own insecurities I would say that I’m not a “horror fan,” but I do enjoy the movies!
Since you’re not a horror fan what drew you to this role and how did you handle preparing for the role
Ki Hong: It started out with just reading the script, and being spooked out from just reading the script, so I was like, well if I’m spooked out just reading it, it should be pretty scary when I make it, so I was like ok I’ll give this a shot, and after meeting John [Leonetti] and talking to him about the role, I felt pretty good about it. Ryan is also such an integral part of the story, he’s such a genuine guy who wants to help a friend out, so for me there were some active things as an actor that I could bring to this character. Also I know I’m not a fan of horror movies, but to do a movie of this genre was definitely on my bucket list, so to cross that off and and be apart of this experience.
On the topic of Ryan being such an important source of emotional support for Clare, he plays a key role in keeping her grounded amongst all the chaos. What advice do you have for the people who find themselves playing the role of a safe keeper amongst their friends, and what advice do you have for how they should intervene when their friends are headed on a dangerous path?
Ki Hong: Thats a good question. It’s hard being a good friend, it’s hard to be a good person in this day and age, and it’s even harder to be a good friend. Hopefully people have relationships with their friends that allow for honest and open discussion, and that allow for [people] to call their friend out in a loving way. If you sit them down and say “Hey this is what’s going on” and what you’re saying is from a good place as a friend, hopefully that person takes it well. If they don’t, it’s not the end of the world, you can still try and be there for them the best you can. Its difficult, there are so many things now with the internet and social media that make it difficult for teenagers growing up today. I think at the end of the day just trying to do your thing and coming from a loving place is always the smart thing.
What do you think you would wish for if you didn’t have to worry about all of the gruesome consequences?
Ki Hong: Besides world peace and all that good stuff, you know what (laughs), I would wish that regardless of what I ate I would always have a rocking body
That’s a good one, don’t we all wish that. Clare doesn’t really consider Ryan as a love interest for a lot of this film, what advice do you have for anyone that’s been “friend-zoned”
Ki Hong: There’s always a way to move (laughs) you just don’t know it yet. I think it helps Ryan though, that he kind of helps save Clare’s life, or he tries to, and he tries to protect her and everything. There’s always hope! It’s always a tricky situation to be in, but maybe he or she will eventually come around if the stars align.
The ending of this film leaves a lot of room for Ryan’s story to continue, do you see yourself returning to the character for any future films?
Ki Hong: I’m not sure! If there is one that’d be great, but I guess we’ll just see how the first one goes first and then take it from there. I really enjoyed bringing the character of Ryan to life, and I enjoyed working with John [Leonetti] the director, and also Joey [King] If I were to link up with John again that’d be great.
Last question, what was your favorite memory from filming?
Ki Hong: (Laughs) Besides working with John and Joey, just enjoying their company and also John’s endless positivity on set, I fell in love with Lay’s Ketchup Chips which you can only get in Canada. We shot in Toronto and I can’t enough, I haven’t it since being back. I took a couple back home with me but you just can’t find it in the States!
Wish Upon hits theaters July 14, 2017