Not Reese Witherspoon, Crazy Rich Asians’ Hollywood adaptation gets an all-Asian cast

In an unprecedented move, a Hollywood studio has picked an all-Asian cast for its film adaption of best-selling book, Crazy Rich Asians. Here’s all you wanted to know about the film and the book.

hollywood Updated: Aug 08, 2017 13:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Crazy Rich Asians,Kevin Kwan,Rachel Chu
Crazy Rich Asians is based on a book of the same name by Kevin Kwan. It was published in 2013.

Hollywood has always had problems when it comes to picking non-mainstream American cast. It happily whitewashes Asian characters and appropriates pop culture from the continent. Critics have forever questioned its wisdom (or the lack of it) when it came to casting for Asian characters (read: Emma Stone played a woman of Hawaiian and Asian heritage in Aloha and Scarlett Johansson starred in remake of anime classic in Ghost in the Shell). These are just a few examples from an industry that rarely even auditions Asian actors for lead roles.

But it seems all that changed when Hollywood’s Warner Brothers Studio decided to back the film adaptation of the best-selling book, Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan and went with an all-Asian star cast.

For the uninitiated, Crazy Rich Asians is a 2013 bestseller dealing with the lives of rich Asians. The book delves into the lives of three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and all the gossip, backbiting and scheming that goes around. The principle characters in this funny yet satirical tale include Rachel Chu, Nick Young and Astrid Leong.

In an Asia Abridged podcast, Kevin Kwan and film’s director Jon Chu discussed the process of casting for the film. Talking of experience, they said, “There was a lot of concern that we would change all these crazy rich Asians to crazy rich Texans and Reese Witherspoon would be somehow cast as lead character and I wanted this film to be done in a way that it represented the best of Asia and Asians in America.” In the podcast, the duo said the film would show Asians and Asian Americans in all their glory.

The author said, “When we were doing auditions, we met hundreds of amazingly talented actors from all around the world and saw their resumes. It is sad to see all the cliches, which started right on their IMDB page and it is not their fault. These people are real human beings and not some token heroes.”

The story begins when Rachel, an NYU economics professor, and her boyfriend Nick head back to Singapore to attend his best friend’s wedding. Rachel agrees to go on a holiday as she sincerely believes Nick and she might marry one day and takes this as an opportunity to meet his family. What she expects is a humble family home, long drives exploring the island and spending some quality time with his family. Little does she know what’s coming her way--she walks into home that’s more like a palace, cars get replaced by private jets and most alarming is her discovery that she has been dating a guy who is one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors and now must contend with barbs and remarks, even fend off stiff competition.

The film adaptation will be directed by Jon M Chu, known for his works like Now You See Me 2, Justin Bieber’s Believe, Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D, and is expected to be out in 2018. Warner Bros is distributing the film worldwide.

As per IMDB, the film will star Constance Wu (Rachel), Gemma Chan (Astrid), Henry Golding (Nick) and popular actor Michelle Yeoh. The movie is set to release in 2018.

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First Published: Aug 08, 2017 13:04 IST