‘Crazy Rich Asians’ almost got whitewashed by Hollywood, reveals author
“Crazy Rich Asians” is the first Hollywood movie in over two decades with an all-Asian cast.
The most recent was 1993’s “The Joy Luck Club”, with its Asian lead characters all portrayed by Asians, too.
However, before its screen adaptation, some Hollywood producers had other ideas for “Crazy Rich Asians”, reports Entertainment Weekly.
Author Kevin Kwan revealed that a producer wanted to whitewash the role of Asian-American Rachel Chu.
He told EW, “They wanted to change the heroine into a white girl. I was like, ‘Well, you’ve missed the point completely.’ I said, ‘No, thank you.’”
Kwan shared that white women who read the 2013 novel had the same sentiment.
While on a tour in Texas, he related, “You should’ve heard them scream… I remember one woman saying, ‘What makes these people think that all we want to do is see the same white actors or actresses on screen?’”
“To hear that reaction really confirmed for me what the audience wanted,” he said.
The author ultimately partnered with “The Hunger Games” producer Nina Jacobson and “World War Z” executive Bradford Simpson.
“[Nina] felt it was really important to tell the story and to have this message and to have that representation out there. That was in 2013, way before the whole Hollywood whitewashing movement happened.”
Thankfully, the part has since been cast to Taiwanese-American Constance Wu.
In “Crazy Rich Asians”, her character visits Singapore for the first time and gets the culture shock of her life as she is thrust into the world of Asia’s elite.
It turns out that her boyfriend Nick Young is part of an ultra-wealthy family, and is the country’s most eligible bachelor.
The movie hits theaters August 2018. Niña V. Guno/JB
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