Jon M. Chu finds it ‘hard to accept’ success of Crazy Rich Asians

Jon M. Chu finds it “hard to actually accept” the huge success of his 2018 romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians.The movie, which starred Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina and Michelle Yeoh, was praised by critics upon its release and went…

Jon M. Chu finds it “hard to actually accept” the huge success of his 2018 romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians.

The movie, which starred Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina and Michelle Yeoh, was praised by critics upon its release and went on to gross more than $238 million (£194 million) at the worldwide box office.

However, the 40-year-old director is still struggling to accept just how successful the groundbreaking rom-com was, because he faced brutal receptions for his previous films, including Step Up 2: The Streets, Jem and the Holograms, and the Justin Bieber documentary, Never Say Never.

“They all get s**t on,” Chu told Variety’s #REPRESENT: Success Stories series. “It’s why it was hard to actually accept its success, because I had already decided in my own life that I wasn’t going to depend on the critics, and I wasn’t going to depend on the box office.”

He explained that he chose to focus on his next projects and pay no attention to the film’s reception in an effort to stay unaffected by the critics and box office takings.

“I was just going to make the thing, and I was going to focus on my next thing,” Chu shared. “Only recently am I really able to actually sort of recognise it, but I still can’t enjoy it, because I already made a decision in my life not to let that part give me satisfaction, I guess.”

The next project Chu has been focussing on is the feature adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical In the Heights. He was in the middle of post-production when the coronavirus pandemic hit and forced it to shut down, so the movie’s release has been pushed back until June 2021.

He is also developing two Crazy Rich Asians sequels, based on the follow-up novels China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems.

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Gemma Chan felt ‘sick with nerves’ filming with Meryl Streep

Gemma Chan “felt sick with nerves” before she began filming with acting legend Meryl Streep in Let Them All Talk.In Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming comedy, Streep plays Alice Hughes, a famous author who goes on a cruise with her friends and nephew in …

Gemma Chan “felt sick with nerves” before she began filming with acting legend Meryl Streep in Let Them All Talk.

In Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming comedy, Streep plays Alice Hughes, a famous author who goes on a cruise with her friends and nephew in an effort to find fun and come to terms with her past.

The Crazy Rich Asians star was thrilled when she learned she would be co-starring with the lauded Streep, the performer with the most Oscar nominations ever, but that feeling disappeared and she became nervous at the thought of filming with her.

“At first I was pinching myself, but then I immediately felt sick with nerves,” Chan told InStyle. “In my first scene, my character and Meryl’s character are having lunch in New York. The restaurant was filled with a hundred extras, and you could hear a pin drop. And then they told us to improvise. No pressure — just improvise with one of the greatest actresses that’s ever existed!”

While the experience was stressful, the British actress learned a lot from her colleague.

“Meryl is incredibly talented, but she’s also a perfectionist about her work,” the 37-year-old gushed. “If she didn’t think she hit a particular beat of the scene, she’d do it again and again until she had it. She really gave me the confidence to settle in, take my time, and go back if I needed to.”

Let Them All Talk, which also stars Lucas Hedges, Candice Bergen, and Dianne Wiest, is set to debut on streaming service HBO Max later this year.

Chan, who is also known for films such as Mary Queen of Scots and Captain Marvel, will next be seen starring alongside Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek in Marvel’s The Eternals. The film is set for release in February 2021.

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Jon M. Chu ‘disgusted’ by Crazy Rich Asians casting scam

Jon M. Chu has called out a “disgusting” casting scam targeting actors interested in his Crazy Rich Asians sequels. The filmmaker is currently working on two follow-ups to his smash hit 2018 romantic comedy, but the projects are yet to have scripts an…

Jon M. Chu has called out a “disgusting” casting scam targeting actors interested in his Crazy Rich Asians sequels.

The filmmaker is currently working on two follow-ups to his smash hit 2018 romantic comedy, but the projects are yet to have scripts and aren’t near the casting stage.

On Wednesday, he took to Twitter to express his dismay after discovering that a user named Alan Baltes, who claimed to be an actor and casting associate, posted a phony casting notice announcing that “live Zoom auditions” were being held to find new leads for the sequels. The advertisement claimed Asian actors aged between 20 to 40 as well as Caucasian women aged between 25 and 35 should apply, and those who wanted to be considered should pay Baltes a $99 ($79) “submission fee”.

“I kept reading it, and when it said $99 I was like, ‘This is f**ked up,'” Chu told Variety. “There’s so many scams like that in L.A. anyway and to actually target, specifically, Asian actors, was very frustrating.”

Chu first discovered the scam when he was tagged in a tweet and he subsequently notified Twitter bosses and the legal team at Warner Bros. Baltes’ account has since been deactivated.

“Asian American actors finally get the opportunity or the hope that there are roles and parts out there. People have this light inside of them to pursue this dream that they never thought was possible before, and to take advantage of that and know that you can take $99 for a fake audition is just disgusting,” he continued.

Baltes responded to the publication, insisting that “someone” who claimed to be with casting sent him the “false information” and that no money had been paid.

According to Variety, this isn’t the first time Baltes has tried to solicit money for fake auditions. In 2018, he posted a similar scam for Jurassic World: Dominion and director Colin Trevorrow tweeted: “Anyone who requests money for an audition isn’t on the level.”

Crazy Rich Asians, based on the novel by Kevin Kwan, starred Constance Wu and Henry Golding. The sequels will be based on the follow-up novels, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems.

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Jon M. Chu was determined to make In the Heights a big studio movie

Director Jon M. Chu was determined to make In the Heights a big studio film rather than a small independent musical.When the filmmaker signed up to direct the movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical, which focuses on a largely Hispa…

Director Jon M. Chu was determined to make In the Heights a big studio film rather than a small independent musical.

When the filmmaker signed up to direct the movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical, which focuses on a largely Hispanic community in Manhattan’s neighbourhood of Washington Heights, he used his status following his success with Crazy Rich Asians to make the film a big studio movie because he felt it deserved to be one.

“The lesson I got from Jon is we’re allowed to take up space with our stories,” Miranda told Variety. “He used his post-Crazy Rich Asians capital to say, ‘No, we get to take a big swing.’ This story, which could very easily have been this indie tiny musical about this neighbourhood, (he) was like, ‘This deserves a big swing. And this deserves to be as big as any of the other movies out there.’”

In the Heights stars Anthony Ramos as Usnavi, a bodega owner who dreams of a better life. The role was originated by Miranda on Broadway, and the Hamilton creator has taken on the smaller part of Piraguero, the owner of a small piragua stand. He is also overseeing the music.

The Mary Poppins Returns actor recently revealed he was still in the midst of completing the music when the coronavirus pandemic halted post-production and led to the film’s June release being postponed.

Yet, Chu has since assured fans that he is committed to bringing the movie to cinemas.

“I think it’s going to give a lot of people that light they need,” he commented to Insider. “The big thing is we get this movie on the big screen when people are in the right place in their lives to enjoy it. When people are coming out of the darkness and the light can come in.”

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Jon M. Chu applauds decision to postpone release of In the Heights

Director Jon M. Chu has praised the decision to postpone the release of In the Heights.The silver screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway musical was set to be released on 26 June, but studio executives at Warner Bros. announced on Tuesd…

Director Jon M. Chu has praised the decision to postpone the release of In the Heights.

The silver screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway musical was set to be released on 26 June, but studio executives at Warner Bros. announced on Tuesday that it would be delayed, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We had the best summer of our lives filming In the Heights movie last year,” Miranda told his followers on Twitter. “We couldn’t wait to share it with you. But we’re going to have to wait a little longer. When we can safely gather again, flags in hand, we will be there, enjoying this movie in theatres.”

And in an interview with Insider, Chu revealed he was relieved the film had been postponed, as he felt it needed to be shown in a crowded cinema, something that would be impossible now with the closures of movie theatres around the world.

“We want people to have (that) experience,” he explained. “And with it being a musical, if you look back at history, that kind of movie has always brought people together at the worst times to celebrate life. And now we need that even more so.”

While the Crazy Rich Asians filmmaker was frustrated at being just 20 days from completing the film, he wants In the Heights to bring people together once the world begins to recover from the Covid-19 outbreak.

“I think it’s going to give a lot of people that light they need,” Chu shared. “The big thing is we get this movie on the big screen when people are in the right place in their lives to enjoy it. When people are coming out of the darkness and the light can come in.”

He also took to Twitter to share the same touching sentiment, and told his followers: “We will have a big friggin’ party when we get to see it on the big screen! And we will all be together again dancing in the aisles!! Stay healthy and take care of your family in the meantime.”

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Awkwafina to star in gambling drama

Awkwafina is set to play the world’s greatest female gambler in The Baccarat Machine. The Crazy Rich Asians actress, who recently won a Golden Globe for her performance in The Farewell, will portray Cheung Yin ‘Kelly’ Sun, the most successful female ga…

Awkwafina is set to play the world’s greatest female gambler in The Baccarat Machine.

The Crazy Rich Asians actress, who recently won a Golden Globe for her performance in The Farewell, will portray Cheung Yin ‘Kelly’ Sun, the most successful female gambler in modern history.

Based on Michael Kaplan’s article The Baccarat Machine, which was published in Cigar Aficionado magazine, the film will follow young Chinese woman Sun as she painstakingly develops talent and an obsession for payback.

With major casinos conspiring to bar her from their properties, Sun partners with the international “King of Poker” Phil Ivey in order to take down the system through subterfuge, ingenuity, and pure daring, resulting in one of the most ingenious legal gambling runs ever documented.

John Penotti and Charlie Corwin from SK Global, which is financing and producing the project, made the announcement on Wednesday. They also revealed Andy Bellin will be writing the script and Jeffrey Sharp will be producing. They are still in talks with potential directors and additional actors.

“We can’t think of a better way to start this project than by announcing that our friend Awkwafina has come on board,” Penotti said in a statement, according to Deadline and Variety. “She is uniquely equipped to bring Kelly to life onscreen and will infuse the role with genuine humour and humanity. Along with our partners at Sharp, we’re thrilled to bring this unbelievable story to the screen.”

SK Global previously worked with Awkwafina on Crazy Rich Asians, one of her breakout roles in 2018, along with Ocean’s 8. The actress, real name Nora Lum, was recently seen in Jumanji: The Next Level and is starring in new TV comedy series Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens, which she co-created.

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Awkwafina: ‘I had to learn to love myself in a dress’

Awkwafina had to learn how to beat her insecurities and love herself in a dress.The Crazy Rich Asians star feels more comfortable wearing suits on the red carpet, but she is working hard to become confident while wearing gowns. “I think fittings for me…

Awkwafina had to learn how to beat her insecurities and love herself in a dress.

The Crazy Rich Asians star feels more comfortable wearing suits on the red carpet, but she is working hard to become confident while wearing gowns.

“I think fittings for me always start with insecurity, like, ‘I hate this part about me,'” the 31-year-old shared. “I love dresses, but I think I had to learn to love myself in a dress. I had to learn to look at myself and be like, ‘Don’t slouch; really stand up and feel proud that you’re in this beautiful dress.’ I had to teach myself that.”

Awkwafina, real name Nora Lum, prefers wearing glamorous two-piece suits because not only can she move better, it makes her feel powerful.

“The first time I really wore a suit to an event, I remember thinking, ‘I can move so well.’ But then there is (also) something about looking at yourself in a suit that does make you feel a sense of empowerment,” the Golden Globe Award-winning actress added. “I like suits because I grew up kind of more of a tomboy. So I live in them better.”

Awkwafina’s style has evolved with the help of stylist Erica Cloud, who is responsible for dressing the former YouTube rapper in a pale pink Dsquared2 sequinned suit for the 2019 Academy Awards, and now the actress feels like she can express herself on the red carpet.

“I always felt very unsure when it came to fashion, but what I learned from (working with a stylist) is that it is definitely an expression of who you are,” she said. “If you don’t (feel like) yourself in it, you’re not going to feel good in anything that you wear.”

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Awkwafina makes history with Golden Globes win

Awkwafina made history when she won the Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy prize at the 2020 Golden Globes on Sunday night. The Crazy Rich Asians actress, real name Nora Lum, beat Knives Out’s Ana de Armas, Booksmart’s Beanie Feldstein, Late Night’s …

Awkwafina made history when she won the Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy prize at the 2020 Golden Globes on Sunday night.

The Crazy Rich Asians actress, real name Nora Lum, beat Knives Out’s Ana de Armas, Booksmart’s Beanie Feldstein, Late Night’s Emma Thompson, and Cate Blanchett for Where’d You Go, Bernadette to win the Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical prize for her role in The Farewell.

With her win, the 31-year-old became the first person of Asian descent to win that category and win a lead actress Golden Globe for a film.

No Asian woman had ever been nominated in the category until last year, when her Crazy Rich Asians co-star Constance Wu landed on the shortlist and was subsequently beaten by Olivia Colman for The Favourite. At the 2019 awards ceremony, Sandra Oh became the first Asian to win Best Actress in a TV show for Killing Eve.

First-time nominee Awkwafina, whose father is Chinese-American and late mother was South Korean, acknowledged her historic win backstage by saying, “I just heard that fact and it was pretty mind-blowing. There’s also this other feeling that you want there to be more, and I hope this is just the beginning.”

In her acceptance speech, Awkwafina joked to the star-studded audience at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles, “This is great. If I ever fall on hard times, I’m gonna sell this, so that’s great.

“I’ve never been to the Golden Globes, so I’m here now and it’s this and it’s great. Most importantly, to Lulu Wang, our incredible director. You gave me this chance, this chance of a lifetime and taught me so much.”

She dedicated the award to her father, praised her paternal grandmother, whom she described as her “best friend”, and thanked her late mum, commenting that she “always hoped was watching from somewhere above and I hope she’s watching now.”

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Gemma Chan felt like Cinderella in elegant Crazy Rich Asians outfits

Gemma Chan had a Cinderella moment each time she donned her wardrobe for Crazy Rich Asians.The British actress portrayed Astrid Leong-Teo in Jon M. Chu’s hit 2018 romantic comedy, with the kind-hearted character sporting many impressive designer outfit…

Gemma Chan had a Cinderella moment each time she donned her wardrobe for Crazy Rich Asians.

The British actress portrayed Astrid Leong-Teo in Jon M. Chu’s hit 2018 romantic comedy, with the kind-hearted character sporting many impressive designer outfits, including a beautiful rose-pink dress with cowl neck from Dior.

But while Gemma had a ball dressing up to play one of Singapore’s most fashionable faces, in a chat with The Allure Podcast, she explained that she didn’t get to keep any of the outfits.

“Astrid, she’s kind of meant to be the equivalent of royalty…in Singapore. So, you know, I tried to channel that kinda old school…glamour, kind of an Audrey Hepburn-ish, Grace Kelly, that kind of vibe,” she explained, adding that she wished she had such a stunning collection of garments.

“It was like being Cinderella. I had to give everything straight back. But, you know, I felt so lucky to even be wearing some of those outfits.”

Costume designer Mary E. Vogt was tasked with putting the outfits together for the entire Crazy Rich Asians cast, including Henry Golding and Constance Wu.

But as Gemma noted, it wasn’t just the costumes that allowed her to tap into the elegant vibe required of her for the role, but the hairstyle too.

“Well, in terms of my work, in terms of my acting, it’s an intrinsic part of getting into character,” the 37-year-old added. “And whether it’s just a particular thing, a particular way your hair is styled, having my hair up when I was playing Astrid, that kind of thing immediately changes your posture and the feeling of having your neck exposed… And, yeah, it’s a big part for me of getting into character.”

Two sequels to Crazy Rich Asians are currently in the works.

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Brenda Song claims she ‘wasn’t Asian enough’ to audition for Crazy Rich Asians

Brenda Song has claimed she missed out on the chance to audition for Crazy Rich Asians because producers felt she was too American.In a new interview with Teen Vogue, the actress revealed that she didn’t get the opportunity to test for the hit 2018 rom…

Brenda Song has claimed she missed out on the chance to audition for Crazy Rich Asians because producers felt she was too American.

In a new interview with Teen Vogue, the actress revealed that she didn’t get the opportunity to test for the hit 2018 romantic comedy, which featured a largely Asian-American cast.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but I never got to read for Crazy Rich Asians, ever…,” the 31-year-old said. “Their reasoning behind that, what they said, was that my image was basically not Asian enough, in not so many words. It broke my heart.

“I said, ‘This character is in her late to mid-20s (sic), an Asian-American, and I can’t even audition for it? I’ve auditioned for Caucasian roles my entire career, but this specific role, you’re not going to let me do it?’ You’re going to fault me for having worked my whole life?’ I was like, ‘Where do I fit?'”

Brenda is best known for her TV roles in such shows as The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Dads, Scandal, New Girl, and her new series Dollface. She also played the love interest of Andrew Garfield’s character in David Fincher’s The Social Network.

Following Brenda’s interview, Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu responded on Twitter and furiously denied her accusations.

“Would these words ever come out of my mouth?” he tweeted. “Nope, makes no sense. I feel horrible she thinks this is the reason. The fact is I love Brenda Song and am a fan. I didn’t need her to audition because I already knew who she was!”

Crazy Rich Asians starred Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, and Michelle Yeoh. Two sequels are currently in the works.

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