“Shortcomings” stars Justin H. Min, Sherry Cola and Ally Maki joined Randall Park in the the Variety Studio presented by Audible to discuss the similarities between the actors and their fictional counterparts in Park’s feature directorial debut.

Adapted by Adrian Tomine from his 2007 graphic novel of the same time, the dramedy follows an aspiring filmmaker named Ben (Min) who re-evaluates his life goals after his girlfriend (Maki), moves across the country for an internship. The film premiered on Jan. 22 at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

Initially, Park revealed, he envisioned himself playing the lead role in his own film. Prior to stepping behind-the-screen, the filmmaker held a recurring role in Marvel’s “Wandavision,” confirmed an appearance in the upcoming “Aquaman” sequel from DC Studios and was a fixture on the ABC sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat,” playing Louis Huang. But Park’s plans changed as soon as Min auditioned.

“I got old and closer to death, and I was like, ‘We need someone who is closer to birth.’ And we found this fresh-faced actor named Justin H. Min — not a wrinkle — who was just so talented,” Park said in admiration of the burgeoning performer.

“I always tell Randall that Ben is like me before therapy,” Min joked. The sentiment is one that both Cola and Maki agreed with, as the two performers similarly found parallels with their own fictional characters.

“The film is so ahead of its time because the graphic novel was ahead of its time,” said Cola, who plays a queer graduate student named Alice in the feature. “I love the fact that Alice is so unapologetic. I feel like this is the most liberated version of myself that I’m playing.”

Maki also shared appreciation for screenwriter Tomine, who spotlighted the representation of Japanese Americans in storytelling. The actor said she and Tomine are bonded by the fact that both their families were forced into internment camps during World War II.

“I feel like my younger self could never have even dreamed that there would be roles like this and directors like this that exist, that can kind of move and shape culture forward for not only us, but the future generations,” Maki concluded.

Producers attached to the film include Park, Margot Hand, Hieu Ho, Jennifer Berman, Howard Cohen, Eric D’Arbeloff and Michael Golamco. “Shortcomings” is produced through Park’s production company, Imminent Collision, following a deal with Universal Television to put out a series of new comedy projects centered around the Asian American and Pacific Islander experience.