Easter Sunday Trailer: A Comedian Returns Home In The Filipino Version Of Friday

Who would have thought that Steven Spielberg would be a champion for Filipino Americans in Hollywood? In his 1991 film "Hook," the acclaimed filmmaker introduced the world to Rufio, Peter Pan's successor as the leader of the Lost Boys in Neverland. The character was played by Dante Basco and, for many in the audience, it was the very first time they were seeing a Filipino American performer in a leading role in a Hollywood production.

Fast forward to 2019. After seeing Jo Koy's stand-up special "Comin' In Hot," Spielberg reached out to the comedian about collaborating on a project. That's when "Easter Sunday," a movie about a Filipino American family coming together at Easter, was born. Now, after having a presence at this year's CinemaCon, Universal and Dreamworks (along with Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment) have released the first trailer for Koy's first movie and the first feature film from a major Hollywood studio to focus on a Filipino family.

With May being Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States, it's the perfect time to drop the first trailer for "Easter Sunday." Based on Koy's stand-up act and life experience, the movie was written by Ken Cheng and directed by Broken Lizard's Jay Chandrasekhar of "Super Troopers" fame. Koy and Chandrasekhar also appear in the film alongside an all-star cast that includes "The Afterparty" star Tiffany Haddish, Jimmy O. Yang from "Silicon Valley" and "Crazy Rich Asians," the legendary Lou Diamond Phillips, and Eugene Cordero from "Loki" and "Tacoma FD," as well as comedian Joey Guila, viral internet sensation Brandon Wardell, Tony nominee Eva Noblezada, Lydia Gaston, Asif Ali, Rodney To, and "Wayne's World" star Tia Carrere.

The Filipino Super Bowl

Just as Koy said during his CinemaCon presentation, "Easter Sunday" really feels like a Filipino American version of "Friday." This first look at the chaotic slice of life shows off the essentials for a Filipino family: Magic Mic karaoke, balikbayan boxes, self-deprecating nurses, Spam, and Manny Pacquiao. You can even hear prominent Fil-Am rapper apl.de.ap with the rest of the Black Eyed Peas playing over the trailer. But more importantly, it's great to finally see this kind of representation from Hollywood. I know that it's a pretty wild idea that authentic cultural depictions in media can be successful, but it feels even wilder to me that Lou Diamond Phillips has only played a Filipino character in a movie or TV show twice in his 30-year career before "Easter Sunday."

Thankfully, Filipino American representation in film has been kept alive over the years due to the tireless effort of independent filmmakers like Dante Basco and his latest film "The Fabulous Filipino Brothers." But after seeing people like Dante's nice Ella Jay Basco in "Birds of Prey," Ned and his Lola in "Spider-Man: No Way Home," and Manny Jacinto in "The Good Place" and "Top Gun: Maverick," it's an incredible feeling for the Filipino American community to be seen on such a larger scale narratively thanks to Jo Koy, Steven Spielberg, and everyone involved with "Easter Sunday." It's probably been said a million times on this site, but it's worth repeating loudly and proudly whenever possible: Representation in media is extremely important and seeing yourself represented onscreen is a powerful thing, especially if it rarely/never happens. Let's hope that studios continue to diversity and representation seriously as they move forward with other projects.

Here's the official synopsis for "Easter Sunday":   

Stand-up comedy sensation Jo Koy ("Jo Koy: In His Elements," "Jo Koy: Comin' in Hot") stars as a man returning home for an Easter celebration with his riotous, bickering, eating, drinking, laughing, loving family, in this love letter to his Filipino-American community.

Originally, the film was meant to coincide with its titular holiday this year. However, in a classic case of "running on Filipino time," "Easter Sunday" opens in theaters on August 5, 2022.