'Lucky Grandma' builds big buzz amid virtual release, screenings at Music Box, Siskel Film Center

CHICAGO (WLS) -- "Lucky Grandma" is one of the most talked about new movies in virtual release, and already a hit with critics and viewers alike.

In the movie, grandma is on a winning streak at the casino until her fortunes turn. She didn't just lose; now she's the target of gangs in Chinatown.

Director and writer Sasie Sealy's father is from South Carolina, and her mom is from Hong Kong.

"Angela, my co-writer, and I always joked that, like, Asian women have this weird reputation as being quiet and submissive, and both of us are like, well, not in our family, the women are the ones who run everything," she said.

Tsai Chin was a Bond girl in the Sean Connery era, and part of the "Joy Luck Club" ensemble. She takes on the leading role in "Lucky Grandma."

"She's kind of a living legend, a very fierce lady," said Sealy. "I had a couple bottles of wine with Tsai over four hours and the rest is history. That was it, I pretty much knew within seconds of meeting her that she was grandma."

And what does she want people to take away from her film?

"Often when people get older, we almost relegate them to being children again, being helpless and dependent," Sealy said. "They have a lot to offer, and have their own stories. In their mind, they're the heroes of their lives."

"Lucky Grandma" is currently playing in Chicago's Music Box Theater "Virtual Cinema" program. On Friday, it will be part of the Siskel Film Center "From Your Sofa" schedule.

On June 3, you can join a Facebook Live question and answer session with Sealy as part of Siskels' "Screen to Screen" series.

"I grew up watching 'Siskel and Ebert' with my dad, so I'm pretty excited," Sealy said. "Maybe the audience will be bigger because everyone's staying at home, maybe they need a comedy. There's not as much competition right after all of those Hollywood movies got out of the way."
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