Admist the barrage of Asian film whitewashing controversies that have stirred up rage over the last couple of years, it’s refreshing to announce that filming has officially begun on a Hollywood movie featuring an entirely Asian cast: the big-screen movie adaptation of CRAZY RICH ASIANS, Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novel about, well…crazy rich Asians.
The plot follows sharp young NYU professor Rachel Chu, an American-born Chinese woman plunged into the world of Asian elites when she travels to Singapore to attend the wedding of her blue-blooded boyfriend’s BFF. Rachel, who had no idea that she was dating Singapore’s most eligible bachelor, must contend with high society scandal, judgmental family, and other #richpeopleproblems that threaten to end her relationship–all against the backdrop of some spectacular celebrity nuptials.
Here’s a first look at the cast:
Constance Wu as Rachel
Henry Golding as Nick Young
Henry Golding’s mostly known as a Malaysian TV host, so we’re excited to see him gain exposure in the States playing Rachel’s boyfriend, Nick.
Michelle Yeoh as Eleanor Young
The iconic martial arts star will star as Nick’s mother, who’s determined to get middle-class Rachel out of the picture.
Gemma Chan as Astrid Leong
British-Chinese actress Gemma Chan’s slated to play Astrid, Nick’s cousin and Rachel’s sole ally amongst his high-class family.
Awkwafina as Peik Lin
Rapper/comedienne Awkwafina’s soon to break out onto big screens with OCEAN’S EIGHT, but here she plays Rachel’s wild (and also obscenely rich) college best friend, who acts as her sort of spirit guide to the world of the wealthy.
Chris Pang as Colin
Chris Pang of MARCO POLO has been cast as Nick’s best friend Colin, who’s marrying his supermodel fiancé in what will be the Singaporean social event of the century.
Sonoya Minuza, who’s appeared in LA LA LAND and EX MACHINA, plays Colin’s model fiancé, Araminta.
The rest of the cast is filled out with still more talented Asian actors, whose roles have yet to specified:
A hunky Singaporean star known for his roles in TV dramas.
Another Singapore-based starlet.
Cheung is a regular (and hilarious) correspondent on the Daily Show.
Jing Lusi has made a name for herself in British TV shows like STAN LEE’S LUCKY MAN and doctoral drama HOLBY CITY.
While many are thrilled with the cast so far, there’s still some controversy surrounding the decisions. Korean actress Jamie Chung, for instance, has expressed exasperation with the inclusion of half-Asian, half-white actors like Henry Golding and Sonoya Mizuna. Chung says she was turned away from a role in the movie and in movies like MULAN because casting directors were insisting on an ethnically Chinese actress—so seeing half-white actors win the roles strikes her as hypocritical. Singaporean news source The Strait Times sees it as a mixture of both blatant colorism and capitalistic concerns, with the studios casting more ethnically-ambigious characters in order to appeal to widest possible audience. But because this is Hollywood, that ambiguity’s going to skew more white-passing.
What do you think of the new cast?
Via Elle, Strait Times