Crazy Rich Asians is considered a watershed moment for Hollywood. With its all-Asian cast, there was quickly a lot of buzz about it, and for good reason. The movie was a critical and financial success that, according to some people, single-handedly revived the romantic comedy genre. It’s a movie about a college professor, Rachel Chu, who travels with her boyfriend, Nick Young, to Singapore only to find out that he has fabulous wealth, along with a hard-to-please mother. Without giving too much away about the movie, here are 26 facts about Crazy Rich Asians.
26. Crazy Rich White People
One of the producers who originally wanted to purchase the rights to Crazy Rich Asians from its author Kevin Kwan wanted to cast a white actress for the book’s lead character, Rachel Chu. Thankfully, “Crazy Rich White People,” doesn’t have the same ring as “Crazy Rich Asians.”
25. Any Part Will Do
Ken Jeong wanted to be part of Crazy Rich Asians so badly that he was prepared to take literally any role they would give him. He didn’t need the acting work, as thanks to The Hangover he is pretty famous, he just wanted to be part of this movie because he considered it a passion project. Jeong said, “It’s just something I wanted to be part of. It’s about wanting to be part of something monumental. Something that’s bigger than me. I’m so giddy I’m part of this, I can’t even tell you.”
24. It’s a Hit!
Crazy Rich Asians made $170,110,588 (and counting) domestically, and only cost a scant $30 million to produce. That’s a box office winner!
23. Over Two Decades
The last time there was a major Hollywood motion picture that had a majority Asian cast was The Joy Luck Club back in 1993. This is important because in the top 100 films of 2017, 66% didn’t have any Asian female characters.
22. Everybody Loves Michelle
Michelle Yeoh was on everyone’s short list to play Eleanor Sung-Young, the cool mother of Nick Young who Rachel has to win over. As we now know, Yeoh got the role.
21. Sing Me a Song
Youtube singer Cheryl Koh—also known as Cheryl K—sent in a video during the Crazy Rich Asians open casting call where she sung “Mamma Knows Best” by artist Jessie J. While she didn’t get a part in the movie, Koh did get to sing the opening credits song, a cover of the Beatles’ “Money” sung in both Mandarin and English.
20. First Time
Henry Golding, who played Nick Young, had never acted before his role in Crazy Rich Asians. Before his foray into acting, he was just the host of a travel show.
19. Casting Controversy
When Henry Golding was cast, it caused something of a controversy. Because Golding was biracial (his father his white), some Asian celebrities like Korean-American Jamie Chung felt like perhaps Golding wasn’t Chinese enough. Chung has since apologized for her remarks about Golding. Golding, on the other hand, didn’t seem to be offended. He felt it was good for people to be watching the studio and questioning the casting decisions. But did Golding think he wasn’t Asian enough? Nope, Golding said, “I never felt I wasn’t suitable for the role because I was half-white. I’ve always seen myself as Asian, so I never had any qualms about that. I was much more concerned if I could act.” Turns out not only can he act, he can handle a controversy with grace.
18. Money Magic
Not only was Crazy Rich Asians a box office hit, it was the top-grossing romantic comedy in the past 10 years! It earned more than both The Proposal and Sex in the City, and it’s the sixth highest-grossing romcom of all time.
According to Crazy Rich Asians director Jon Chu, Yeoh didn’t like the first engagement ring they picked out for her character to wear in the movie. The actress showed the director some of the rings from her own personal collection, and he picked out one of her own emerald and diamond rings for her to wear. Yeoh clearly has crazy, rich taste already.
16. Mahjong Anyone?
The mahjong scene where Rachel and Eleanor have their last heart-to-heart wasn’t actually in the book; it was included as a way to pay tribute to The Joy Luck Club.
15. No Thanks, Netflix
Netflix really, really wanted to produce Crazy Rich Asians. Reportedly, they offered a huge budget for the film, but Kwan turned it down to work with Warner Brothers instead. The reason? He wanted studios to know movies with Asian casts could make money, so hopefully, we can see more in the future.
14. Wig Matters
Comedian Awkwafina was supposed to go through several wig changes in the film. This didn’t happen, because once she put on the blonde wig she wears in the movie, they didn’t want her to wear any others. This wig is where the “Asian Ellen Degeneres” joke originated.
13. Tiger, Tiger
One of the movie props in the film wound up causing a huge problem for production. They needed a taxidermy tiger for the mansion’s foyer. Unable to get real one shipped to them across international borders, they had one made by the prop department. The problem? It looked too real and wound up getting held up in customs. Hopefully, that prop guy is getting a raise for all his excellent work.
12. Good Things Come in Threes
The book that the movie is based on is actually a trilogy. The other two books are China Rich Girlfriend–which is already getting a movie–and Rich People Problems. With any luck, the movies will finish out the trilogy!
11. Crazy Rich Malaysians
Three members of the cast were born in Malaysia: Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding, and Ronny Chieng.
10. Party Time
The cast had a dumpling-making party as a way to get to know each other, and presumably to practice for making dumplings later on in the movie. Sounds like a fun and tasty way to get to know people.
9. Name Change
The family dog Rockefeller is actually named Donald Trump in the book. It was changed for the movie.
8. Sneak Appearance
Kwan makes a quick cameo appearance in the film. While everyone is wondering “Who is Rachel Chu?” Kwan pops in as one of the informants. I suppose as her creator, he’d know her better than anyone.
7. Short Notice
Golding cut his honeymoon short to screen-test for this movie. Hopefully, by now he’s made it up to his wife. Maybe with a second, longer honeymoon…and some new jewelry.
6. Two Times the Charm
Constance Wu, who plays Rachel Chu, has worked with one of her cast mates before. Both Wu and Ken Jeong have worked together on the ABC sitcom Fresh off the Boat. There were two more co-stars who worked together before, too. Yeoh and Harry Shum Jr. were also both in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny.
5. Back in Action
Lisa Lu, the actress who plays the Young grandmother matriarch in the film, was also in The Joy Luck Club.
4. Diversity Problems
In Singapore, the movie didn’t receive that hot of a response. Singaporeans said the movie, which is set in the country, actually isn’t as diverse as Singapore itself, and that by leaving out Southeast Asians, the movie doesn’t accurately represent how multicultural Singapore really is.
3. Crazy Richer Asians
When a movie is this big a hit, a sequel is never far behind, and the Crazy Rich Asians sequel has already been announced. The next movie, China Rich Girlfriend, will follow Gemma Chan’s character, Astrid, and her life following the events of the movie, just like in Kevin Kwan’s novel of the same name. Sadly, most of the cast is currently committed to other projects, so it most likely won’t begin filming until 2020.
Constance Wu originally couldn’t accept the role of Rachel Chu due to filming conflicts with her show Fresh off the Boat, but she felt so connected to the character that she wrote to Jon Chu, the film’s director, and managed to convince him to push back production just so she could play the character.
1. One Dollar
Thanks to someone suggesting to completely alter the fundamental roots of Kwan’s book by casting Rachel with a white actor, Kwan optioned the rights to his book for a mere $1 so he could have a say in creative and development decisions in the movie.
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