Finding Ohana star, Lindsay Watson, talks about her experience working with director Jude Weng.
Finding Ohana is a family adventure film with a similar feel to the cult classic Goonies. Finding Ohana features a group of kids hunting for legendary treasure. But Finding Ohana is more than just an adventure movie with family, love, and Hawaii being integral parts of the film. Director Jude Weng has a long career as a director in television having directed episodes of many series including Fresh Off The Boat, The Good Place, and iZombie.
Lindsay Watson who stars as Hana in Finding Ohana spoke with The Illuminerdi about working with Weng on her feature directorial debut which is also Lindsay Watson’s first feature film.
“Yeah, my first feature film, so it was a crazy experience. I mean it’s a Netflix film, a lead, and then a Hawaiian girl, like come on.”
Lindsey went on to explain how Weng made the set comfortable for her and her co-stars, especially Lindsay, Kea Peahu and Alex Aiono. With Finding Ohana being not only Lindsay’s first feature, but Peahu and Aiono’s as well.
“I mean, we were so blessed that this is our director. Day one, she felt like a best friend already…She’s an educator and I mean day one she had three of her leads who’ve never been in a movie. And she’s teaching us the technical terms and things like that, but at the same time she’s asking us questions. ‘What do you think about your character?’ ‘What are your thoughts on this?’ And having that ability to already jump in and have this honest conversation with her about who I think Hana would be.
She’s like ‘You are Hana. You are this Hawaiian girl and I trust that you’re going to bring the proper life to her.’ And it was an honor that she trusted me with this role. So, every day when you get to set she’s just the happiest most loving, motivating person.” Lindsey added, “Anyone who knows Jude can attest to that. That she’s just a light.”
Lindsay was born and raised on Hawaii so she brings an authenticity to the role of Hana and it is no surprise that Jude Weng trusted Lindsay to bring Hana to life. Finding Ohana is Jude Weng’s feature directorial debut and on top of that, three of the stars had never been in a movie before. The feeling that Weng brought to set clearly made Lindsay feel comfortable and confident in her first major project.
Lindsay talked about filming a specific scene with Jude Weng and the twist that the director brought to what could have been a very cliché scene. The scene introduces Lindsay’s character Hana.
“It was such a fun scene to film. I mean it was such an intricate scene, we’re tripping and doing that. Our amazing Jude Weng, the director, she just had this idea of we could have the typical you walk in and you’re just a pretty girl, but she’s like let’s add a twist to it. She’s like it’s funny, let’s add to this whole Goonies like comedy.”
Finding Ohana is a story about love, family, and connection. Jude Weng manages to not only tell a story of adventure and wonderment with the four kids going on a hunt for legendary treasure. She also brings an authenticity to the representation of Hawaii that is rarely seen on screen.
FINDING OHANA TRAILER AND SYNOPSIS
A summer in rural O‘ahu takes an exciting turn for two Brooklyn-raised siblings when a journal pointing to long-lost treasure sets them on an epic adventure with new friends, and leads them to reconnect with their Hawaiian heritage.
Finding Ohana will be available on Netflix January 29. Finding Ohana stars Kelly Hu, Branscombe Richmond, Kea Peahu, Alex Aiono, Lindsay Watson, Owen Vaccaro, Chris Parnell, Marc Evan Jackson, and Ricky Garcia. Finding Ohana is written by Christina Strain and directed by Jude Weng. Are you going to watch Finding Ohana? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media.
KEEP READING: NETFLIX BRINGS THE SPIRIT OF ALOHA WITH FINDING OHANA