Sapphic Love Slaps

Stephanie Hsu and Sherry Cola Almost Had a Gay Storyline in ‘Joy Ride’

Joy Ride is a comedy film that definitely lives up to its name and this wild ride has plenty to offer audiences. One thing it almost offered was a sapphic love scene that, shall we say, would’ve slapped. 

On-screen representation is important, which is why Joy Ride, a comedy film with an all Asian starring cast, including Stephanie Hsu, Sherry Cola, Ashley Park, and Sabrina Wu, is so monumental. Well, the raunchy humor and wild antics within the film make it fabulous too. But there’s only so much that you can place into a movie before things get left on the cutting room floor. Unfortunately, one of Joy Ride’s post-production casualties was an elongated gay scene between queer stars Hsu and Cola. 

Directed by Adele Lim and written by Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and Teresa Hsiao, Joy Ride tells the story of four unlikely friends. Lolo (Cola), a hot mess artist, her K-Pop obsessed cousin, Deadeye (Wu), Audrey (Park), a lawyer and the child of adoptive white parents, and Kat (Hsu), a Chinese soap opera star and Audrey’s college roommate, who embark on a trip to China to help Audrey find her birth mother. In an interview with Collider, Wu and Hsu dished on some of their favorite filming moments, gave their castmates and writers their flowers, and spilled the tea on some of the film editing that happened to Joy Ride. In particular, a slap scene between Hsu and Cola. 

During the scene, Hsu and Cola’s characters partake in a drinking game called “Pai Pai” in order for Audrey to close a deal with a Chinese businessman named Chao (Ronny Chieng). The pair start off in a seemingly friendly game of rock, paper, scissors, but the winner gets to slap the loser in the face. The straightforward and potentially painful game that Hsu and Cola play was actually a much longer scene that turned from both characters hurting each other to crushing on each other.

“I was filled with rage seeing how good all three of you were improvising,” said Wu. “I remember watching, the slapping gets kind of edited down to a very quick thing, but there was so much electric magic happening between Stephanie and Sherry. It was a little gay. It was awesome.”

Hsu further confirmed that the scene was in fact supposed to be gay, but didn’t make the final cut for the movie. Instead, it’ll be saved for the sequel. Hsu seems fine with it, but her co-star Cola was less than thrilled about not having the gay scene in the film. 

“There’s a whole gay track between Sherry’s character and my character that kind of got edited and will be saved for the sequel,” said Hsu. “Sherry’s livid about it.”

The movie clocks in at 95 mins, but like most films, there’s way more footage to play with. Naturally, some things don’t make a film’s final cut. Still, the film’s director Lim had a vision that she wanted to tell that focused on the stories of four Asian friends without running the risk of the cast being fetishized or sexualized through a white male gaze. 

“There’s a history that I won’t get into of being exoticized, fetishized and sexualized, but through a white male point of view,” said Lim in an interview with Variety. “The solution is not to strip away the fun and the sexuality, we wanted to tell a story, but on our terms. It’s a story about friendship that shows that we can be messy and thirsty with problems but from the female gaze.”

Lim’s story definitely did what needed to be done for Asian characters and stories on-screen. While we didn’t get a long drawn out gay scene between Hsu and Cola, there’s always room for more queer shenanigans in a sequel. 

Joy Ride is in theaters now. 

Don't forget to share:

Read More in Entertainment
The Latest on INTO