Talk about an ironic twist: The new comedy series Blockbuster debuts Nov. 3 on Netflix (of all places), featuring the multitalented comedian-writer-director-musician Randall Park, 48, who plays the manager of the last Blockbuster store still in business.
At Blockbuster, would you know what movie you wanted right away? Ask for suggestions? Wander around aimlessly?
I remember just having the most difficult time choosing what to watch and being there for hours, just looking at boxes and reading the back and just being so indecisive. And then at the end, just choosing a movie I had already seen and loved and watched. Anytime I was indecisive, which was all the time, I would go to the rom-coms. When Harry Met Sally was a big one.
In Blockbuster, your character has been working in the store since he was a teenager. What jobs did you have growing up?
[Laughs.] I worked at a video store. It was actually one of those independent stores called New Wave Video, here in L.A. — this tiny, tiny store in the neighborhood, where I went to middle school. I worked there over the summers. It was great fun. I remember we had our regulars. It was very much a neighborhood store. I would make recommendations — usually rom-coms because I was so into them, or comedies in general. It was similar to the Blockbuster on our show but just a very small version of that.
If you had to work in one store for the rest of your life, what store would it be and why?
I would work in — kind of like J.B. Smoove’s character, Percy, on our show — a giant party store, because it’s a party every day and people generally don’t come into party stores upset. They usually come in with some excitement. We actually shot those scenes in an actual party store and between takes, going up and down those aisles. These stores kind of sell everything. I was, like, this place is amazing.
Your guest spot on The Office lives on in memorable memes. What are your memories of filming it?
My one scene. It was the last season of the show, and I remember that I felt so lucky to have gotten the part right before the show was about to end. It was very quick. I got thrust in there; we shot it. I met Rainn [Wilson], Jenna [Fischer] and a few of the other actors. I remember thinking nobody is going to remember it because it was one tiny scene. But I’ll always remember it because it was so meaningful to me. It was probably my favorite show on TV then, and still one of my all-time favorites. Then, lo and behold, so many years later, that one scene blows up on the internet — and a lot of people remember it, even though it was a really quick open.
Speaking of going viral … after you played an FBI agent in the popular Disney+ series WandaVision last year, your many TV and movie roles inspired a TikTok trend. Are you a fan of TikTok?
No. I'm not a hater of TikTok, but I don’t use it. I don’t even know how it works really. I know very little about it, but I was told [users] had started — I don’t know, a meme or, I guess, a trend — where they were going into my career and showing a bunch of all of the roles, big and small, that I had played over the years and posting them on TikTok. And my friends would send them to me, and I would think: Oh, that’s really, really awesome.
Who's your comedic inspiration or someone you hope to work with?
I love Steve Carell. He is one of my absolute favorites. He is such an incredible actor — so funny and so subtle — but he can also go really big. There's something about him that inspires me so much. Also, the way he is in real life. I met him once, and he’s so down to earth, a normal person. And I really love that. He’s definitely one of my all-time favorites.
Any plans to work with your wife, actress Jae Suh Park?
We played a couple on The Mindy Project. … There was a period where I was making a lot of shorts and webisodes, and we’d act together. But we haven’t done too much together outside of that. But my hope is that we will, because I like being around my family as much as possible.
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