Awkwafina Gets Serious In New Family Drama ‘The Farewell’ | Sunday TODAY


>>>HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND, IT IS NOT ABOUT GETTING ELEANOR TO LIKE YOU, IT IS ABOUT GETTING HER TO RESPECT YOU. RIGHT NOW SHE THINKS YOU ARE UNDESERVING, CLUELESS, GOLD DIGGING, TRASHY UNREFINING BANANA.>>THAT’S ACTOR, COMEDIAN, RAPPER, AWKWAFINA IN A SCENE IN “CRAZY RICH ASIANS” WHICH MADE NEARLY A QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS AT THE BOX OFFICE. AWKWAFINA HAS BEEN ON QUITE A RIDE OVER THE LAST YEAR OR SO. IN ADDITION TO THE HIGH ENERGY COMEDY, SHE STARRED LAST SUMMER IN “OCEAN’S EIGHT” ALONGSIDE WITH SANDRA BULLOCK AND RIHANNA. SHE HAS A BUSY MOVIE-LINE UP INCLUDING HER LATEST. AWKWAFINA AND I GOT TOGETHER THIS WEEK HERE IN NEW YORK FOR A SUNDAY SIT-DOWN.>>FIRST THING FIRST, WE JUST MET.>>YES.>>WHAT DO I CALL YOU?>>DO I CALL YOU AWKWAFINA OR HOW DOES THIS WORK?>>IT IS REALLY BASED ON HOW YOU FEEL.>>REALLY?>>SOME PEOPLE WILL CALL ME NORA, I WILL CALL YOU WILLIE.>>SHE CREATED HER STAGE NAME AND ALTER EGO, AWKWAFINA IN HIGH SCHOOL AS A WAY TO BUILD CONFIDENCE. THAT STRATEGY SEEM TO HAVE WORKED.>>DO I LOOK AT THE CAMERA THE WHOLE TIME.>>SHE ATTENDED LaGUARDIA HIGH SCHOOL OF MUSIC AND PERFORMING ARTS. ON THE STRENGTH OF HER TALENT WITH A TRUMPET BUT THEN SHE FOUND HIP-HOP.>>I STARTED MAKING BEATS OBSESSIVELY AND THAT WAS BORN. AWKWAFINA.>>HOW DID YOU PICK THAT NAME?>>IT MEANS FINE WATER.>>THAT’S GOOD.>>YOU FLOW LIKE FINE WATER.>>THANK YOU.>>WE SAVED IT.>>IMAGINE IF YOU SAID THAT AND I WAS LIKE — [ LAUGHTER ] IN 2012, THE 24 YEARS OLD ASPIRING RAPPER HOSTED A RAUNCHY SONG BUT CATCHY ON YOUTUBE. THE VIRAL VIDEO HAS MORE THAN 4 MILLION VIEWS TODAY DID NOT IMPRESS AWKWAFINA’S BOSSES.>>I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT PUBLICITY MEANT.>>I LOST THAT JOB.>>SHE MAY HAVE LOST HER 9:00 TO 5:00 BUT SHE LAUNCHED HER CAREER.>>EVERYTHING COMES BACK TO THAT. MY FIRST MOVIE, “NEIGHBORS TWO.”>>SETH ROGAN AND NICK STILLER SAW THAT VIDEO AND ASKED ME TO AUDITION FROM THERE. THAT WAS THE MOMENT.>>SINCE THEN, AWKWAFINA HAS BECOME A BONA FIDE MOVIE STAR WITH SCENES STEALING ROLE IN TWO OF LAST YEAR’S BIGGEST MOVIE. “OCEAN’S 8” AND “CRAZY RICH ASIANS,”.>>PEOPLE ARE SO POSH AND SNOBBY.>>LAST FALL, AWKWAFINA BECAME THE SECOND ASIAN AMERICAN LADY TO HOST “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.”>>HAVE YOU THOUGHT AND BREATHE AND LOOK BACK AT WHAT JUST HAPPEN LAST YEAR.>>NOT REALLY, IT HAS BEEN BUSY. I SPENT A LOT OF MY CAREER SITTING IN A BAD APARTMENT WONDERING WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN.>>WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO BE ON A POSTER WITH “OCEAN’S 8” WITH PEOPLE LIKE THAT AND TO HAVE PEOPLE COMING OUT OF THE MOVIE, GREAT CAST, SHE’S FUNNY. KEEP YOUR EYES ON HER.>>CONFUSING AND SHOCKING. I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT. I WAS IN THAT SAME BEDROOM I WAS TALKING ABOUT PROBABLY NOT WEARING PANTS, WALKING AROUND AND DRINKING AND I GET A CALL THAT’S LIKE THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN. I WAS LIKE WHAT?>>AFTER TWO MONTHS AFTER THAT HERE COMES “CRAZY RICH ASIANS,” IT IS ONE OF THOSE MOVIES AND IT IS ON HBO AND YOU STOP AND WATCH IT.>>I WILL PLAY IT. IT IS EMBARRASSING, TOO WHEN PEOPLE REALIZE WHAT I AM DOING.>>ARE YOU LIKE –>>THERE WAS PERIODS WHERE BOTH MOVIES WERE ON THE PLANE, I WOULD GO UP TO PEOPLE, ONLY ONE PERSON PUT TOGETHER THAT I WAS THAT GIRL. THEY THOUGHT I WAS A CRAZY PERSON, ASIAN GIRL, YES, I AM ASIAN. ONE WOMAN THAT WATCHED “OCEAN’S 8” AND “CRAZY RICH ASIANS” HAD NO IDEA. OKAY. SHE DID THAT TO ME AND I WAS LIKE OKAY –>>SO THIS ENERGY AND SENSE OF HUMOR. I AM INTERESTED IN THE ORIGIN OF IT.>>I DERIVE FROM JOY FROM OTHERS. THAT’S WHERE I RUN ON. THAT STARTS AFTER LOSING MY MOM, IT WAS A WAY FOR ME TO MAKE THINGS LIGHT.>>AWKWAFINA WAS JUST FOUR YEARS OLD WHEN HER MOTHER DIED OF HYPER TENSION. HER GRANDMA STEPPED IN.>>HI GRANDMA DID EVERYTHING. SHE TAUGHT ME.>>GRANDMA-FINA HAS MADE CAMEO AND FULLY SUPPORTING HER DAUGHTER.>>SHE WAS A FUN WOMAN?>>NO JOKE WAS EVER TOO DIRTY FOR HER.>>HER GRANDMA INSPIRED HER TO TAKE HER LATEST ROLE IN “FAREWELL.”>>THE DRAMATIC LEAD AS A DEPARTURE FOR THE COMEDIAN WHO WERE DRAWN TO THE MOVIE BY ITS REMINDERS OF HER OWN RELATIONSHIP WITH HER GRANDMA.>>IT SEEMS AUSPICIOUS.>>IN THE FILM, AWKWAFINA PLAYS BILLY, WHOSE BELOVED GRANDMOTHER HAS CANCER BUT KEPT IN THE DARK WITH HER PROGNOSIS.>>NOT TO TELL SOMEONE THEY ARE SICK SO SHE GOES TO CHINA AND THEY FAKE THE WEDDING AND STILL HAVE NOT TOLD HER GRANDMA. I HAD TO CONFRONT SOMETHING WHICH IS NOT WANTING TO CONFRONT AND THE IDEA OF LOSING MY GRANDMA.>>YOU TELL ELOQUENTLY OF REPRESENTATION AND MAKING YOUR FAMILY PROUD AND THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY PROUD.>>IT IS SOMETHING NOT A LOT OF OTHER GROUPS HAVE TO DO. I HAVE TO SET A GOOD EXAMPLES OF THAT. THE STORY I TELL REFLECTS THEM WELL. THAT’S IMPORTANT TO ME.>>SO WITH ALL THAT IN MIND, WHAT DOES YOUR GRANDMA SAY OR FATHER SAY?>>THEY’RE PROUD. YEAH.>>GRANDMA, I COMPARE THEM TO DRUG DEALERS, THEY’RE PUSHERS. THAT’S WHAT THEY DO. I GOT SOMETHING THAT YOU WANT AND THE QUESTION IS DO YOU WANT IT?>>I LOVE YOUR GRANDMOTHER.>>YOU SHOULD MEET HER SOMETIMES. SHE WOULD LOVE YOU.>>SHE WOULD BE LIKE, WHAT’S UP? SOME DATES, WODO YOU HAVE A MINUTE?>>I WOULD LOVE TO MEET GRANDMA-FINA. “THE FAREWELL” IS IN THEATERS RIGHT NOW. TO WATCH AWKWAFINA AND ME SHARE HER FAVORITE DUMPLINGS WHILE WE TALK ABOUT THE LONG LIST OF ODD JOBS SHE HAD, CHECK OUT ON TODAY.COM/SUNDAY. DON’T FORGET TO SIT DOWN WITH OUR PODCAST TO HEAR THE MESSAGE.>>>SURVIVING THE NOTORIOUS PIT BALL OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. WE’LL BE BACK IN JUST 60 SECONDS.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *