‘Press Play:’ Lyrica Okano on the challenges of a time travel romance

(L-R) Clara Rugaard as Laura and Lyrica Okano as Chloe in the romance film, PRESS PLAY, The Avenue release. Photo courtesy of The Avenue.
Photo courtesy of The Avenue.

Lyrica Okano (Marvel’s “Runaways”) stars as Chloe in Greg Björkman’s time traveling romance, Press Play.

In addition to Lyrica, Press Play stars an ensemble cast of Clara Rugaard (Teen Spirit), Lewis Pullman (Bad Times at the El Royale), Matt Walsh (“Veep”), Christina Chang (“The Good Doctor”) and Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon franchise). The film was written by Greg Björkman and James Bachelor (Dungeons & Derrick) and directed by Björkman in his feature film directorial debut.

Synopsis: Laura (Rugaard) and Harrison (Pullman) have the picture-perfect romance built on the foundation of a shared love of music. After a deadly accident, Laura is given the chance to save the love of her life when she discovers that their mixtape can transport her back in time. Featuring a moving soundtrack with songs by Japanese Breakfast, Father John Misty, Dayglow, and more, Press Play reminds you that love can always be replayed.

Check out our interview with Lyrica!

What drew you to the story when you were auditioning for it?

Lyrica: I love love stories. I’m a sucker for those but also the way that the script had all the songs that they were planning to use in the movie, it was all kind of like written in the script and descriptive and I can totally see it like as a movie as I was reading the script and then the time travel, like that came out of nowhere. I wasn’t expecting that and I was kind of hooked, I was like, ‘wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this before.’ And like for me, as a music lover myself, I listen to music and it’s just such a nostalgic thing like it takes you back to the first time you listened to your favorite song and then, you know there’s memories attached to those songs. So I thought that was really interesting that they kind of pulled from that sort of idea into a movie that’s also a love story. I really wanted to get involved.

How would you describe your character, Chloe?

Lyrica: She’s a firecracker. She’s a lot of fun. She’s a very good and loyal friend to Laura and she also happens to be Harrison’s step sister and she is very, very excited to have those two meet because why not have your best friend and your step brother get together? She also loves the boys. That’s one of her favorite things to do.

(L-R) Lewis Pullman as Harrison and Clara Rugaard as Laura in the romance film, PRESS PLAY, The Avenue release. Photo courtesy of The Avenue.
What was it like working with Lewis and Clara?

Lyrica: Oh so fun. I still keep in touch with them and we’re still tight. I got to spend two, I think about two and a half lovely months in Hawaii with those two and we really were kind of attached to the hip for the whole time. We were all in the same hotel and we would meet up for rehearsals and then also go out to eat and go explore the island a little bit and then go shoot the film. So we had a lot of fun times together.

What was it like having to act in the scenes where things in your timeline changed?

Lyrica: Yeah, so I had this notebook. It’s not like for every acting job I keep a journal or something like that, but for this project I just had to. And it wasn’t necessarily a journal, but I literally mapped out going through the script. I would be like, ‘alright, this happens. But then this happens. But then that changes. So when you’re shooting this scene, you’re not coming from the headspace of the scene before it, it’s now this.’ I wish I had that journal with me because it’s kind of all over the place. And I remember showing the director, Greg, the book and he was like, ‘Oh my gosh, like I didn’t realize how complicated this was.’ I was like, ‘yeah, like what do you think we’re going through? This is not easy. There’s a lot going on here in this movie.’ Yeah, but that was fun.

(L-R) Lyrica Okano as Chloe and Clara Rugaard as Laura in the romance film, PRESS PLAY, The Avenue release. Photo courtesy of The Avenue.
If you were to create a mixtape for someone what songs would you make sure we’re on that?

Lyrica: No, because mine would be so depressing. Japanese Breakfast, I love that band and you can see them in the film as well. I think that I would put them into the tape, for sure. I also love Mitski, she’s a Japanese American music artist, who I love. And then I personally listen to a lot of sad depressing songs… but maybe the Beatles, yeah, I’ll put in the Beatles, I’ll put in The Rolling Stones. Yeah, some Lou Reed. But yeah, you get the gist. It’s not like a happy, upbeat, driving through California type playlist. It’s more like going through the rain, there’s the thunder, I hope you survive kind of playlist.

What are you most excited for people to see when they watch this movie?

Lyrica: I am excited for people to see just Clara and Lewis and also Danny Glover, I think he’s amazing in this too, and Matt Walsh and Christina Chang and Luke Lenza and everybody involved. But yeah, just seeing Clara and Lewis’s cute little faces on screen and they’re fallen in love and stuff and, and then you get to see all the time travel and all the things happen with music. I think it’ll be a good time.

Is there anything else that you’d like to add about Press Play?

Lyrica: Please go watch the film. I think it’s a really cute movie. If you love music and you’re a sucker for time travel I highly recommend it.

(L-R) Clara Rugaard as Laura and Lewis Pullman as Harrison in the romance film, PRESS PLAY, The Avenue release. Photo courtesy of The Avenue.
Press Play will be available in theaters and on digital formats on June 24.