John Cho is returning to screens as a concerned single father. Instead of trying to find his daughter, as he did in Searching, this time he’s trying to protect her from the harsh realities of the world. Amazon Prime’s Don’t Make Me Go stars Cho as Max, a father trying to create some final memories with his daughter Wally (Mia Isaac) after a terminal diagnosis.
Don’t Make Me Go is written by Vera Herbert and directed by Hannah Marks. Herbert has written and produced several episodes of This Is Us, while Marks previously directed Mark, Mary & Some Other People and is currently working on Turtles All the Way Down as both the director and in an acting role. Herbert is an executive producer alongside Eddie Rubin, with Donald De Line, Leah Holzer, Peter Saraf, and Marc Turtletaub acting as producers.
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Grab the keys and a camera. We’re taking a trip across the country as we outline what you need to know before Cho’s newest movie hits Amazon Prime next month.
Don’t Make Me Go: The Plot
Max Park has discovered he needs surgery to help treat a terminal illness, but it’s risky. His response is to convince his daughter Wally to go on a road trip with him, luring her with the appeal of learning to drive as an effort to create a final set of positive memories before he tells her what’s going on. While she spends the trip wondering when her boyfriend Rusty (Mitchell Hope) will call, the father-daughter duo seems to bond, survive Wally’s driving, and have a memorable trip, despite the secret lingering just below the surface.
Their road trip is from their home in California to New Orleans for Max’s 20th college reunion. From the trailer, it sounds like he had intended to fly there, but his diagnosis caused a change in plans. While it isn’t quite hinted at in the trailer, the plot synopsis says Max “secretly hopes to reunite her [Wally] with her mother who left them long ago” at the reunion, likely in case something happens to him, either from the surgery or the disease.
Wally doesn’t seem very engaged with her dad at first, spending the night outside with her boyfriend and being upset at the thought of the “rest of her summer” being filled with a boring road trip. While learning to drive entices her to go, she still isn’t into it, waiting in the hotel for Rusty to call. Over time, it seems that she warms to the idea of the trip, and an emotional interaction between her and Max results in her being upset and opening up to her father, assumedly after she finds out the real intentions behind the trip.
Don’t Make Me Go: The Cast
John Cho stars as Max Park. Audiences may recognize Cho from projects like Cowboy Bebop, Searching, and The Grudge, among his many other high-profile roles. Max’s daughter Wally is played by Mia Isaac. The actress’s upcoming projects include Hulu’s Not Okay and Black Cake. Mitchell Hope (Let It Snow) plays Wally’s boyfriend, Rusty.
The film’s IMDb page lists other cast members as Kaya Scodelario (Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City) playing Annie, Josh Thomson (Young Rock) as Guy Connelly, Otis Dhanji as Glenn, Stefania LaVie Owen (Sweet Tooth) as Sandra, Jen Van Epps (Cowboy Bebop, The Royal Treatment) as Nicole, Jemaine Clement (Avatar: The Way of Water) as Dale Angelo, Quentin Warren (The Wilds) as Samuel, Elizabeth Hawthorne (The Royal Treatment) as Dr. Felicia Wood, Graham Vincent as Richard, Jordan Mooney as Ian, Timothy MacDonald as Hunter, Madeleine McCarthy as Jen, Tane Williams-Accra (Fantasy Island) as Q, Jade Harlow (Cowboy Bebop) as Tami, Simon Mead as Colton (Black Christmas), Kate Olivares as Lena, Claire Chitham (Falling Inn Love) as Jacqueline, Morgana O’Reilly (Housebound) as Krystal, Ethan Ivey as Damian, and Hannah Marks (Turtles All the Way Down) as Tessa.
Don’t Make Me Go will be available to stream on Amazon Prime starting July 15, 2022. The film debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 13th.
Everything Else We Know
The script for Don’t Make Me Go was actually on The Black List in 2012. This list contains the most-liked scripts of the year, based on comments by Hollywood executives that haven’t been picked up for production. While not a popularity contest, a script does have to be mentioned a certain number of times to be included on the list, and then all eligible scripts are ranked by the number of mentions. Also included on the 2012 list were Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit and Michael Werwie’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile. It’s not uncommon for films on the list to be picked up, but it goes to show how long it can take a movie to go from start to finish.
When Herbert wrote the script, it wasn’t always titled Don’t Make Me Go. When the film’s trailer was released, she shared a tweet showing the cover of her original draft, giving the original title A Story About My Father. She notes in the tweet that the title changed on her second draft.
Ready for your own road trip? You have time to plan and execute it before Don’t Make Me Go hits screens.