Crazy Rich Asians: Asian Revolution in Hollywood
The movie Crazy Rich Asians is based on the best selling novel written by Kevin Kwan in 2013. It follows the story of Rachel Chu, played by Constance Wu, who accompanies her boyfriend, Nick, to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. While there, she realizes how extremely wealthy his family is and that her boyfriend is considered one of the most eligible bachelors in the country. Suddenly in the spotlight, she is faced with jealousy, cruelty, and most difficult of all, Nick's disapproving mother.
The movie was released in 2018 and grossed over $239 million at the box office. It is also the first movie to have a majority asian cast and make such a huge debut in over 25 years. It has kicked down many doors regarding stereotypes and diversity in the film industry. Young Asian Americans pursuing acting have told Awkwafina (the actor playing Rachel’s best friend) about their experiences with auditioning. “Asian-American actors come to me and say, ‘I couldn’t get one audition before Crazy Rich Asians—now I’m auditioning every day,’” she says. This goes on to prove the disrimination and under representation they face on a daily basis. In fact, a report done by USC Anneberg in 2017 affirmed that out of 1,100 popular movies, 70.7% of the characters were Caucasian and only 6.3% were of Asian descent.
Kwan has revealed that a famous producer told him he would be interested if they changed the movie's protagonist into a white character. He wasn’t surprised by the proposal as Hollywood has a long history of whitewashing Asian characters. “I think it was a request born out of sheer ignorance about the project… they felt a movie with all Asians would just never work,” he expressed. It’s a ray of hope for Asians striving for representation to see how this movie has proved them wrong. Moving forward, we hope to see more Asians cast in movies and start making a difference in Hollywood.
Written by Hiba Godil. Edited by Geetanjali Roy.