Yeri Han is one of the unsung MVPs of the new film “Minari,” about a Korean-American family trying to make ends meet on their new farm in 1980s Arkansas. Han plays Monica, the matriarch of the family who isn’t as sold on her husband, Jacob’s (Steven Yeun) aspirations to start a career as a farmer. Upon reading Lee Isaac Chung‘s screenplay for “Minari,” Han was drawn in by the story but knew she wanted to bring more to Monica than what was on the page. “There were a lot of blanks to fill about Monica’s character,” says Han in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. “I was sure that on the set when we started photography, that I would be able to talk more about the character and fill in the gaps with the director.” Watch the webchat above.
Han spoke extensively with Yeun about how Monica and Jacob fell in love and developed their relationship. “We thought that Monica probably met Jacob at a very young age and it’s my thought, but I think that Jacob must have been Monica’s first love and ended up being that last love,” reveals Han. The couple spends much of the film in conflict, with Jacob’s idealism and narrow-minded focus on the farm causing strain on the family and Monica going through the culture shock of now living in rural territory. “When the love of her life had this huge aspiration, American dream that he wanted to attain, she probably didn’t understand fully what that was,” adds Han.
“Minari” has become a big awards contender over the past few months, with Han receiving an acting nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards among six bids for the film in total. Most recently, the whole ensemble, including Han, was honored with a SAG nomination at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. “We seem to be hearing good news every day on Minari so I’m starting every day very happy,” admits Han. “I try not to have too high hopes about the award, but being nominated itself, I already feel honored.”
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