Gemma Chan was delighted to see “sexy Asian men” in Crazy Rich Asians.
The British star plays Astrid in the romcom, alongside the likes of Constance Wu, Awkwafina and Henry Golding. As well as being a huge critical and commercial success, Crazy Rich Asians is also the first major movie to feature a majority Asian cast since The Joy Luck Club in 1993. And Gemma is heartened to see Asian characters represented in a new way.
“It’s fun seeing Asians in an aspirational way,” she explained in an interview with The Times. “Asian men have been emasculated on screen for so long – never the romantic lead, always the sidekick or a stereotypical, probably quite demeaning role. So how great that we have sexy Asian men in it!”
Gemma added that the film’s “mad title” meant she “was a bit suspicious” of the premise at first, but is glad she got involved as Crazy Rich Asians “brought home the fact that Asian culture is not homogeneous.”
The 35-year-old’s upcoming projects include playing geneticist Minn-Erva alongside Brie Larson in Captain Marvel and playing Elizabeth Hardwick, a friend to Queen Elizabeth I, in Mary Queen of Scots.
Though she feels progress has been made in terms of diversity and representation, Gemma believes there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
“Well, for example, if you do see a person of colour in a TV show, they have to justify why they’re there. You have to justify your seat at the table or you get accused of tokenism,” she considered. “So I think there’s still a way to go with that.”
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