Awkwafina’s newest role hits close to home.
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She’s starring in the tearjerker film, “The Farewell,” about a family celebrating the life of a grandmother who doesn’t know she has only a few weeks to live. Awkwafina talked to ABC News about why the part was meaningful to her.
“I have a very special relationship with my grandma,” Awkwafina said. “I was raised by her. She’s my best friend.
"She’s someone who is very, very important in my life," she added. "And I just couldn’t imagine that a script like this could exist, written and directed by an Asian American woman. And then it continued to blow my mind because I realized it was a true story.”
The story comes from the real-life experience of Director Lulu Wang, whose family withheld unpleasant medical news from her own grandmother, like many families in China.
“She is incredible,” Awkwafina said of Wang in a recent appearance on “Popcorn with Peter Travers.” “This happened to her and in a way it’s kind of ongoing still.
"And I was really blown away by that," she continued. "I hadn’t seen a script or story like that. And it really wasn’t a question of whether I wanted to do drama. I don’t care what the genre was. I would have done it anyway because I felt like I needed to do it.”
The film offers up its share of laughs, too.
But moviegoers should also be prepared to shed a few tears. Awkwafina said even she was surprised about how much the character moved her.
“There was one specific thing that I told Lulu (Wang),” Awkwafina, 30, told Travers. “I don’t think I can cry. And when I got to China, all of those worries, they seemed very shallow when realizing the material at hand. And also the interpersonal journey that one goes through when they’re Asian American and they go back.
"It is a moving experience," she added. "And it made the story more real. And that fear that I couldn’t cry, I was crying during blocking. I couldn’t hold it. It was very intense for me.”
Watch the full interview with Peter Travers Awkwafina in the video above.