In 1996, four years after reinventing herself in Hollywood as the iconic Cassandra Wong in “Way’s World,” Tia Carre was in Las Vegas for a pilot called “Desert Breeze.” While checking in at Alexis Park Resort, the man behind the front desk introduced himself. He told Carrere his dreams of becoming a stand-up comic, but his mother, a younger Filipino woman, wanted her to become a nurse. The man, Joseph Glenn Herbert Sr., became known as comedian Joe Coy and, like Carrere, became a household name among Filipinos.

“He had hair and glasses at the time,” laughs Carre during a Zoom interview. Twenty-six years after their accidental rendezvous, Carrere and Coy are making history with “Easter Sunday” – one of the first nationally distributed studio films with a majority Filipino cast, ranging from iconic leads to supporting roles.

Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar (“Super Troopers”), Coe plays Joe Valencia, about an optimistic comic trip to the Daily City with her teenage son, and absent-father guilt, in tow. . Carrere slips into the role of Tita Theresa, who has a sibling rivalry with Valencia. Mom (played by Lydia Gaston) pumps for the stress and delicious joy of Filipino Easter.

The last time a Filipino film was approved by Hollywood was in 2000. “The Debut,” a coming-of-age story by Filipino American filmmaker Gene Cajyon, portrays the nuances of Filipino pride, shame, and ultimately family love. an excellent film. Yet despite the billing of rising stars Dante Basco and Tirso Cruz III, the film struggled to gain momentum and remained relatively unknown even among Filipino Americans who grew up in the ’90s.

Shuffle forward two decades, and “Easter Sunday” echoes similar sentiments, this time through the gentle lens of comedy. For Carrere, who is Hawaiian and Filipino, this is the first time in her more than 30-year career that she is playing a Filipino.

From the rock-star babe, who enthralls Wayne with her Cantonese, to Chu-Hoi guiding a platoon through a booby-trapped Vietnam in “Quantum Leap”, “I’ve learned Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, played Thai – so many different ethnic backgrounds but my own. So it was great to pull off my aunt’s accent, my dad’s accent, my next door neighbors in Hawaii, because I grew up in a Filipino neighborhood, Says Carrere. “And it was really fun to celebrate and grow it, because I never got to play myself and do what I knew best.”

When considering her body of work, Carrere remembers she was “foreign or ethnic” for network shows and casting agents, eventually going with a “Middle America” ​​type. Despite this, Carrey will lead 66 episodes of “Relic Hunter” as Sydney Fox, and will continue to navigate Hollywood with a sharp self-awareness—something she credits to her grandmother, who raised her. “My grandmother raised me with a very simple, very salty diet,” says Carrere. “Don’t spend more money than you have. As soon as you got the bill in the mail from Sears, we were on the bus to pay them. No illusions.”

“Easter Sunday” co-star Lydia Gaston says her chemistry with Carrere was a natural fit. “Tia, she knows who she is,” Gaston says. “She was very real. We talked about real things. We laugh at the same things. We talked about our sisters. … She’s really very accepting of who she is, and that’s a lot It’s fresh.”

Carrere has long used his personality to advocate for the Filipino community. Her longtime friend, the ardent Fritz Friedman (former Sony executive and current member of the San Diego Arts and Culture Commission), has known the actress since she landed in Los Angeles at age 18. “She always says never.

When I asked her to do something on behalf of the community, on behalf of a charity, she is very generous,” says Friedman, who accompanied her to benefit Filipino American World War II veterans. worked to get it. “He’s a wonderful person. He’s so kind. He’s so kind. He’s also very strong. You know, under that veneer of kindness, you have to be tough to be in the entertainment business.

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