Can a man and a woman ever truly just be friends? That is the age-old query explored in the 1989 classic “When Harry Met Sally . . . ” Chronicling the hilarious and heart-warming years-long relationship between darkly cynical Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and fastidiously quirky Sally Albright (Meg Ryan), the Rob Reiner/Nora Ephron hit answers the question with a resounding ‘no!’, thrilling audiences in the process as the duo’s will-they-or-won’t-they dynamic ends in one of the most romantic scenes ever to grace the silver screen. More than three decades after its release, the film is still regarded as one of the best rom-coms of all time.
So when Hollywood multi-threat Ali Wong mentioned in a 2016 The New Yorker interview that she and longtime friend and collaborator Randall Park, whom she initially met in the late ‘90s through UCLA’s LCC Theatre Company, had been toying with writing their own version of the beloved flick, it set the internet ablaze! Vulture’s Jackson McHenry promptly bolstered the idea with an article titled “Dear Hollywood, Please Make Ali Wong and Randall Park’s Dream Rom-Com.” The piece drummed up even more enthusiasm for the project, provoking the two comedians to finally sit down and pen the script, along with co-writer Michael Golamco. Netflix subsequently signed on to back it and by May 2018, “Always Be My Maybe” was in production, with “Fresh Off the Boat” creator Nahnatchka Khan at the helm. A fresh, witty and warm take on the classic film, the movie hit the streamer the following year to countless accolades and has remained a viewer favorite ever since.
The reimagined film centers around Los Angeles-based celebrity chef Sasha Tran (Wong) and her childhood best friend, Marcus Kim (Park), who grew up next door to each other in San Francisco. Once inseparable, the two go their separate ways following a disastrous one-night fling at the end of high school, only to reconnect 16 years later when the immensely successful Sasha returns to her hometown for a two-month stint to open her new “trans-denominational modern Vietnamese fusion” restaurant, Saintly Fare. As sparks begin to fly yet again, the two former buddies reexamine what they want out of life and relationships.
Though set in San Francisco, where Wong grew up, very little of the film was actually shot there. For budgetary reasons, the bulk of the movie was instead lensed in Vancouver, British Columbia, or “Hollywood North,” as it has come to be known thanks to the many tax credits and financial incentives the city offers to film crews which has turned it into a massive production hub.