Arvin Chen Shows Us How To Find ‘Love In Taipei’

(L-R) Chelsea Zhang as Sophie Ha, Ashley Liao as Ever Wong, and Ross Butler as Rick Woo in LOVE IN TAIPEI. © 2022 Lions Gate Films, Inc. and Vicarious Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Ace Entertainment.CR: Dragon 5/Paramount+ .


Front Row Features

HOLLYWOOD-Director Arvin Chen is known for his unique storytelling and captivating cinematic style through his films such as  “Au Revoir Taipei” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” With a penchant for exploring the intricacies of human relationships and emotions, Chen has consistently left an indelible mark on the world of cinema.

The Taiwanese-American returns to spotlighting Taipei with his new Paramount+ film , “Love In Taipei,” based upon the book “Loveboat, Taipei,”  The film explores the life of Ever Wong (Ashley Liao). Her parents decides that it’s time for the Ohio teen to explore her roots and study Mandarin for the summer.  Ever experiences more than just cultural education but love and freedom to explore what she truly wants to do. The film also stars Ross Butler, Nico Hiraga, Cindy Cheung and Chelsea Zhang.

In a recent interview, Arvin Chen gives us the insight of why he decided to work on this project and the experience of working with the cast.

Peterson Gonzaga: You’ve done “Au Revoir Taipei” in 2010 and now you’re back with “Love In Taipei.” Tell how did you come to be part of this project?

Arvin Chen: I have read the book well before I was considered to be the director. I thought that it was a really fun take on the idea of “Loveboat” and living in Taiwan and working in Taipei, any project like that would interest me. An American take on living or coming to Taiwan. It wasn’t until a few years later when the producers approached me about doing it and I thought it was really a fun chance to do something different even though I’ve shot a Taiwanese movie for the Western audience before.

PG: Talk about your experience. Was there anything that stuck out to you in the overall script that made you remember about your own experiences of “Wow! I do remember this or I remember that?”

Chen: Well the script is really great about capturing that feeling of being in a new city and then falling in love, finding yourself and all of that was just something I thought would be kind of interesting. I knew that it would be fun to shoot especially from a young perspective that I could do because I have the understating of being an American and also being someone who lives in Taiwan.

PG: What is the beauty of Taiwan and Taipei? What would you say to anyone that visits or if it’s there first time there?

Chen: I mean Taipei is an amazing blend of old and new like modern and traditional. When it comes to night time Taipei, it feels like this magical city because it’s so vibrant at night and there’s so much life going on at night, so I think that, especially when you’re young coming to a city like that is really exciting and captivating.

PG: Also working with the cast like Ross Butler, Ashley Liao, Nico Hiraga and Cindy Cheung, how was that like?

Chen: They were great. Again, it was kind of like their journey to Taipei to shoot this movie like what all the characters are going through. At the time, there was the strict border quarantine. Once the kids got out of quarantine they were free to explore this country to do anything and have fun and experience life in Taipei. I think the most moving part was that what they were doing in Taipei mirrored that of what the characters were going through so that was really great. They’re a bunch of really sweet kids, fun to hang around, funny, goofy, so that energy they brought especially me being older than the characters in the book, I really drew on the energy they brought to the project.

Director Arvin Chen.

PG:What are your thoughts of Hollywood embracing more Asian and Asian-American themed movies?

Chen: I think it’s great. I thinks one of the first Asian-American Y-RomCom movies. It’s great there’s so many more genres of movies starring Asian-American. Thirty years ago, it was confined to movies dealing with racism or movies dealing with generations of families like “The Joy Luck Club” of historical melodrama, but it feels like now you can basically do any genre having Asian-American themes or characters and people will see it. One of the things I thought about when casting this movie was that we didn’t have to worry who should be Asian or who should not be Asian. Everyone is Asian by the nature of what the story is about.

PG: Lastly, sell the film. Why should everyone watch “Love In Taipei.”

Chen: I think it’s a fun way to experience Taipei and falling in love in Taipei without having to go there. I recommend going there. I think this is the next best thing.