As the day to its official showing in theatres around the world comes near, film enthusiasts are optimistic of the chances of the all-Asian casted movie Crazy Rich Asians at the box office. As optimistic of the movie outcome are the main cast and director of the movie assessment of the movie who labeled the movie an historic and monumental after an all-Asia cast formula has not been seen in Hollywood for decades now. Crazy Rich Asians director Jon Chu described their movie based on the book of Kevin Kwan as something that will make viewers cry and laugh on different occasions but will also the talk of the town with their friends and family in the coming days. Chu, together with lead cast members Constance Wu and Henry Golding, faced members of the Asian media in a local Bay Area restaurant to talk about their experiences in doing the much-awaited movie that many Asian-Americans are buzzing about.
“The fact that this is an all-Asian cast is even better because you get to see yourself if you’re an Asian. If you’re not, you get to see very similar dynamics with your family and your culture,” an optimist Chu believes.“
For lead actress Constance Wu, who played the role of an accomplished successful New York economics educator Rachel Chu, the movie offers fun and lessons where an Asian couple lead a Hollywood studio movie.
“It is not because we (Asians) can’t (lead a Hollywood studio movie) and it is not because there’s not a talent. But sometimes you need to see it to know that there is a possibility. And so I am really excited to share that with the world. This movie is just about love and family. And it is just being done by faces we haven’t seen before,” Wu claims.
First-time movie actor and long-time television hosts Henry Golding who played a wealthy Singapore’s most sought-after bachelor Nick Young had a joyful experience and will find it ideal if audience feel the same or even some semblance of the experience.
“To be put in such position is such a strong symbolic kind of gesture. For us to be able to tell one story isn’t enough. We hope that other people look inwards on who to become their own role- models in the same sort of position by telling Filipino, Indonesian, Thai stories on the level that we have been lucky to have gone with which is Hollywood, one of the biggest platforms in the world,” Golding states.
Chu believes that Wu speaks for a generation of people, young and old who have thought this on their head but had no way to put it into words and maybe not have the courage to say straight up.
“Constance Wu has a steel spine that supports a lot of people and builds a structure that is even bigger maybe even bigger than she is. That is super admirable and we are trying to follow her lead in all of these things,” Chu glowingly praised his female lead star Wu who the director also confirmed they had to work their schedule around as Wu was still shooting her show Fresh Off the Boat. Wu also wrote an amazing letter on how much she wants to represent the young female.
“We stopped production and just waited for her. And it was worth every moment of that. And to have her as our spokesperson for this movie means everything. She is giving a lot of inspiration to a lot of people including us,” director Chu added. “We always wanted Constance to represent/play Rachel Chu and to represent an Asian-American going to Asia for the first time and the cultural dynamic that happen in your brain to view your own self-worth and your own cultural identity.”
To the seeming anti-immigrant rhetoric prevalent and being propounded in the past years as opposed to the movie’s projection that the time for Asians to shine has come, Golding contends that the world is made up of immigrants and no one is of his homeland.
“It is natural for us to move around and adapt in cultures and that is what we do as human beings. We adapt and we survive so that goes case in case for immigration. That is how the world should be. It is a difficult when something like that comes up and the difficulties of trying to adapt to new cultures just because someone says that you don’t have the right paper works is heartbreaking,” lamented Golding.
For Wu, a lot of anti-immigration sentiment is really fear some of which really comes when one does not know someone else’s culture.
“That is why some people say Hollywood is just Hollywood but story and narrative is important. We all have good hearts and good intentions but we all makes snap judgment based on some information we’ve had before from whoever,” Wu reasons. “The same thing goes on Asian American stories. The more stories you have, the more narrative you have, the more it humanizes a group that you may not have understood before. And that takes away the fear and when you take away the fear, you get to learn a lot that there is a lot of love and acceptance.”
On the movie’s impact on them, Chu revealed that, personally, the movie forced him to be more accurate in setting them up at the studio which he never had to do before.
“I had to have introspection and learn a lot from these guys and from the other casts as well about my own cultural identity and come to terms with some things I haven’t had come to terms with. To be able to tell my journey through someone else’s journey was freeing actually and empowered me,” Chu shared.
Wu bared that the thing that inspired and changed her most about this movie was actually working with Chu.
“I really mean that because he has such grace and positivity in a way and in the setting that is so fraught with so many personalities, so many emotions, with so much on the line but handles it with absolute love and grace and I think it was the coolest thing and he still is doing that,” Wu swooned.
Golding imparted that, since it was his first acting movie role, it was amazing that other people saw something in him that he didn’t see.
“They needed to break me down to make me realize that this was possible. It was the faith and the gamble that key decision makers have made that totally changed my life. It has pretty much taking a hard ride on my journey and its leading to bigger and better things,” Golding glows.
After the movie has been produced and seen, Chu looks forward to all the stories that can come from all generation who haven’t had the opportunity to tell their story.
“If they can open their doors a little bit and have their shot at telling these unique stories, not just from the Asian-American perspective but from a filmmaker’s perspective. To have new content that is fresh and beautiful that is shocking and historic and tells us history that we don’t know, I think that is always good for cinema,” wished Chu who also love to direct follow-up movies to complete the trilogy of book author Kevin Kwan that also included China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems adding that ,”if everybody wants more, I say show up in the theatres on opening weekend.”