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How 'Past Lives' can make viewers think of their past loves

Yong Chavez | TFC News Hollywood

Posted at Jun 26 2023 05:54 PM

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"Past Lives" has been praised by critics and viewers as a well-told and heart-rendingly beautiful love story that has already been named by some Hollywood industry watchers as a possible Best Picture contender for the next awards season.

Greta Lee stars as Nora, a happily married New York playwright who receives a visitor, who turned out to be her childhood friend and first love from South Korea where she was born.

Lee shared that she initially did not get the role for the movie. But a phone call and later, a conversation with its director, Celine Song changed the whole thing.

"It seemed very unlikely that it was going to be me," she said. "And then a year later, it was one of those things that happened in Hollywood, I guess. We had this really instant and deep connection over the vision for the film."

Teo Yoo plays Hae Sung, the boy who never forgot his connection to Nora.

A gentle person who feels deeply, Hae Sung also had mixed feelings about the reunion, especially when he meets Nora's husband, Arthur.

The actor described how he found the physicality and the way to play the emotional journey of his character.

"I worked on the character on a very technical level," Teo Yoo said. "But finally, also being an immigrant to an environment that I felt always out of place with gave me a kind of an emotion of melancholy."

John Magaro, who plays Arthur, meanwhile described the unique love story that "Past Lives" tells.

"We all saw a very mature, growing, and strong relationship in Nora and Arthur," he said. "And also, of a modern man who has jealousies and insecurities, but is able to kind of put them aside so his wife can figure out what she's going through."

Magaro also shared that he wanted to be part of the film immediately after reading the script.

"Those are the stories that I think should be told more because oftentimes," he said, "they're not the ones we see in the big theaters."

"Past Lives" is also written by Song, who based the screenplay from a real-life encounter that led her to turn it into a more emotionally complex fictional love story.