Crazy Rich Asians is a new rom-com from director Jon M Chu, based on the best-selling 2013 Kevin Kwan novel of the same name, which tells the story of Chinese-American NYU economics professor Rachel Chu, who is invited to her boyfriend’s native Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. There she discovers that not only is his family wealthy but among the wealthiest in the country: they are not just rich but crazy rich.
On the face of it, the film is a modern twist on the classic rags to riches fairytale as carved out by Cinderella and played upon in Pride and Prejudice. But we see that our contemporary heroine – as an economics professor at a leading US university – is never really in need of saving by a Prince Charming nor fully succumbs to the idea that she might be. Instead, amongst the indulgent set pieces and hilarious comedy, the feature taps into our current obsessions with glamour and hyper-wealth, as facilitated by Instagram and all-consuming coverage of the royal wedding. It also hits upon ideas of identity and family, not least the still-taboo topic of how Asian and Asian-American cultures dovetail and collide, and the interior lives of women across these communities.
The movie also marks the first time in 25 years – since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club – that we’ve seen an all-Asian cast, and perhaps with its 70-strong lineup and Asian director, the picture could represent a watershed moment in Hollywood, demonstrating that further diversity on and off screen can work, even with the big budgets.
We were there for the film’s London premiere to speak with Constance Wu, who plays Rachel, about how she sees her character and her experience of making the film.
Henry Golding spoke about how it felt to have landed the big time with his debut film role in a huge Hollywood movie and working with Jon M Chu, plus his upcoming projects.
Comedian Ken Jeong (The Hangover) who plays Goh Wye Mun, Peik Lin’s wealthy father, emphasised the importance of the film for having an all-Asian cast as well as his character’s funniest moments.
Gemma Chan also told us about her role as Astrid Leong-Teo, Nick’s cousin, and how she hopes the movie will pave the way for further diversity in cinema.
Jing Lusi, who plays Nick’s ex, also spoke to us about the themes explored in the feature and the significance of the casting of Asian actors.
Awkwafina stopped to talk to us about playing Goh Peik Lin, Rachel’s Singaporean college best friend, and the best moments of filming.
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 7th September 2018.
Videos: Cristiana Ferrauti
Photo: Getty Images
Crazy Rich Asians is released nationwide on 14th September 2018.
Watch the trailer for Crazy Rich Asians here: