Shahi
Atsushi Nishijima/Warner Bros.

Based on Nicola Yoon's 2016 young adult novel by the same name, The Sun Is Also a Star hits theaters in May

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February 05, 2019 09:00 AM
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Talk about a New York minute!

In an exclusive first look at The Sun Is Also a Star, a romance hitting theaters May 17, Natasha Kingsley (Grown-ish’s Yara Shahidi) and Daniel Bae (Riverdale’s Charles Melton) fall for one another over the course of one day in New York City after a serendipitous run-in. While hopeless romantic Daniel believes it’s love at first sight, practical Natasha isn’t so sure.

“Natasha is so into facts and science,” Shahidi, 18, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I could relate to how dedicated she is to science as a means of honing her expectations and as a means of really understanding the world around her. So many people in her life have let her down, so she turns to science and the facts of gravity and stars as a means of never feeling disappointed again because these are things that aren’t going to drastically change when she wakes up the next day.”

As fans of Nicola Yoon’s hit YA book by the same name know, there’s more than happily ever after at stake. The young lovers find each other as Natasha’s family is hours away from being deported back to Jamaica, and Daniel has an interview for Yale, where his parents want him to pursue a career in medicine rather than his passion for poetry. (Check back with People.com on Wednesday to see the trailer for The Sun Is Also a Star.)

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“He’s a first-generation Korean,” Melton, 28, explains. “His parents are immigrants and he’s a hopeless romantic — and he’s a poet. His parents have kind of been grooming him to be a doctor his whole life. He struggles with kind of two different identities. Not only his identity of being Korean-American, but also with his identity as far as what he wants to do. Making his parents proud, making them happy by being a doctor, or pursuing his life as a poet.”

Both stars can relate to their characters’ stories on personal levels. Melton’s mom became a United States citizen when he was 13, and Shahidi is a first-generation American on her dad’s side. (Her father Afshin hails from Iran.)

Melton; Shahidi
Stefanie Keenan/Getty; Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

“The story of immigration is one that I’m so familiar with,” she says. “I can in no way claim the specificities of what Natasha’s going through, but I think in terms of wanting to do my very best in representing this story, it was because it hit close to home.”

Melton admires how the romance tells “a story beyond what we see on the news.”

“To see the humanity, to see a story beyond someone being labeled as an immigrant,” the actor says. “The Sun Is Also a Star is for anyone who believes in love or the idea of love.”

 

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