“There was something in the universe telling us we had to make this, win or lose.”
Jon M. Chu, was well aware of the impact a movie like this would have. “And we just trusted that. So it’s really amazing and kind of emotional to see in the last week when people start to care all of a sudden. We don’t have the biggest stars and the book is now number one on New York Times’ bestseller list. I’m taking a deep breath from it now.”
Being an all Asian cast, which features Asian Americans as leads, Warner took a chance on Crazy Rich Asians. It is a film so pridefully Asian, it’s different than many films that have been circulating in Hollywood. At the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills, the Crazy Rich Asians filmmakers; Jon M. Chu (Director), Peter Chiarelli (Screenplay), Adele Lim (Screenplay), Kevin Kwan (based on the novel by), Nina Jacobson (Producer), Brad Simpson (Producer), and John Penotti (Producer) were present.
The romantic comedy is about Chinese-American economics professor Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) who travels to Singapore to meet the family of her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding). She is in over her head as she tries to impress his mother, Eleanor Young (Michelle Yeoh).
Netflix is the number one streaming platform. Nowadays it seems as though everyone is a subscriber. So when Netflix had a very generous payday for director and author, it was surprising that they turned it down. “I love Netflix. I watch it all the time. But for this movie in particular at this time, what we really wanted to do was to prop up Asian leads, romantic leads, that said we can be in movie theatres, we are worth your time to leave your house, struggle with parking, stand in line for food, sit in the dark with your friends and family, and say tell me a story,” Chu said.
With box office movies, there is more of a buzz that surrounds it. More people anticipate the day it is in theaters and even try to attend an advanced screening. About his decision, Chu explained, ”I think that’s the power of cinema. That’s why I fell in love with movies.” There’s something irreplaceable that comes with the journey of watching a film in theaters. It’s the sound system, the popcorn that sits on your lap as you munch on it eagerly for the film to start.
Every detail is so meticulously placed in this film. Screenwriter Adele Lim gleefully discusses the decisions made, and how to display the unique power Eleanor has. More specifically, the party scene in the film. Where she exerts her poise by actually being separated from the rest of this family. “She’s not with the rest of the party, she’s in the center of power in this kitchen. The majesty of contrast is seeing her in the middle of smoke and cooks,” said Lim.
There’s a specific line from the book that didn’t make the cut. And while it’s looked upon and explained in the book, it could have proven to be a very problematic line in the movie. “There was a point in the book where Rachel Chu’s character talks about why she doesn’t date Asian men, and it’s a really funny rant. We put it in the script, it’s a pretty popular part of the book,” said Chu.
Many films have portrayed Asian men as unsexy and if this line had been inputted into the film, this stereotype would have been perpetuated.”And then as we’re about to shoot it, Constance came to me and said ‘Hey, this doesn’t feel right, this feels like from the past. We’re trying to lift up Asian men and here we are cutting them down’. We looked at it and she was right, there was something odd about it and we took it out,” explained Chu.
And that’s why Constance Wu is the perfect Rachel Chu. Every actor and actress play their role so passionately and realistically. The best part is that the majority are all fresh faces, new to the Hollywood scene. Chu explained how Michelle Yeoh called him and said, “If you expect me to play the villain, I am not going to do this movie”. She was committed to defend the Chinese culture to its fullest and the beliefs that come with it.
The result was worth it as the film nailed it in every way. Go support the film in theaters this Wednesday, August 15!