'Crazy Rich Asians' features all-Asian cast

David Daniel talks with the 'Crazy Rich Asians' cast about filming in Singapore as the 1st all-Asian ensemble of a contemporary US studio film in 25 years.

Posted: Aug 15, 2018 12:43 PM
Updated: Aug 15, 2018 12:47 PM

"Crazy Rich Asians" cast members Awkwafina, Nico Santos, Ronny Chieng and Janice Koh are hyperaware there's a lot riding on the success of their film.

After all, it is the first major Hollywood studio movie since "The Joy Luck Club" -- which released 25 years ago -- to feature a predominately Asian cast.

The actors told CNN in a recent interview that as proud as they are of "Crazy Rich Asians," their idea of true inclusion means not expecting any one project to be all things.

"Box office still matters," said Awkwafina, who portrays Goh Peik Lin in the movie. "But I think at the end of the day, the success of this film should not determine whether there should be stories of people of color. At the same time, we've seen stories perform super well at the box office and I don't think ["Crazy Rich Asians"] will be any different than those."

Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan, "Crazy Rich Asians" is the story of a dashing college professor who takes his girlfriend (also a professor) home to meet his mega-wealthy family in Singapore.

The cast of the romantic comedy is led by "Fresh Off the Boat's" Constance Wu and Hollywood newcomer Henry Golding.

Related: 'Crazy Rich Asians' serves up auspicious mix of romance, laughs

It's easy to think of the project as the "Asian 'Black Panther'" given the excitement surrounding its diversity. Though Santos, who plays Oliver T'sien in the film and is widely known for his role as Mateo Liwanag on "Superstore," cautioned against comparing a romantic comedy to a Marvel superhero movie.

In an industry where the most valued color is green, the global success of films like "Black Panther" and "Get Out" have proven -- yet again -- that movies featuring casts of color can be extremely profitable. Santos is optimistic "Crazy Rich Asians" will further illustrate that fact.

"I hope ['Crazy Rich Asians'] opens the floodgates for other people of color, for Latinos, for the LGBTQ community to be able to tell our own stories," Santos said. "People are yearning for these stories, they are thirsty for these stories and these stories have value."

Related: Constance Wu gets real about the significance of 'Crazy Rich Asians'

Koh, who portrays socialite Felicity Young in "Crazy Rich Asians," said the film, like "Black Panther," is stirring feelings of pride in those anxious to see people who look like them in a blockbuster.

"Everyone is really excited to see an Asian point of view, but also Asian faces on the screen," she said. "It's a milestone movie in that sense."

Related: 'Crazy Rich Asians' supporters start a #GoldOpen movement to pack theaters

The movie comes at a time of debate over "white washing" in Hollywood (hiring white actors to portray Asian characters) and complaints -- from some -- that industry inclusion has become a black and white issue.

But Chieng, a stand up comic who spent several seasons on "The Daily Show," said he disagrees with that framing.

"We promote Asian storytelling. Not just Asian stories, but Asian people in stories with the full spectrum of the human experience," said Chieng, who portrays Edison Cheng in the movie. "When you say, 'Oh, it's not enough attention on Asians, it's more black and white, that game becomes like you're playing the discrimination Olympics."

Awkwafina pointed to the diversity among Asians in the film.

"One of the main reasons for justifying white washing is, 'Well, there aren't any [Asians]. We couldn't find any, so there aren't any and let's just proceed,'" Awkwafina said. "In this movie we have Asian Americans, we have Asian Brits, Asian Australians, Singapore locals. We are out here. It's undeniable."

Also undeniable? The mounting cultural expectations for "Crazy Rich Asians," but Santos said the project shouldn't have to be perfect.

"We should be allowed to fail," he said. "How many chances do white people get? How many [crappy] movies do they get to make over and over again?"

"They get so many chances to fail at the box office," Santos added. "This is our first chance, so let us throw the dart. If it doesn't stick, then ok. Give us another dart."

Terre Haute
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 64°
Robinson
Broken Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 61°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
62° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 62°
Rockville
Overcast
61° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 61°
Casey
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 63°
Brazil
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 64°
Marshall
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 64°
Partly sunny and breezy. Rain tonight.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Sunday Morning Forecast Update

Image

Saturday Evening Forecast

Image

Saturday Morning Forecast Update

Image

Barr-Reeve vs Loogootee 9-25-20 ITZ

Image

Harrison vs Vin Lin ITZ 9-25-20

Image

West Washington vs North Central ITZ 9-25-20

Image

Riverton Parke vs Cloverdale ITZ 9-25-20

Image

Linton vs North Daviess ITZ 9-25-20

Image

Indy Lutheran vs Northview ITZ 9-25-20

Image

OV vs Sullivan ITZ 9-25-20

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 288773

Reported Deaths: 8832
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1430845203
DuPage17393560
Lake16794487
Will13917378
Kane13065326
St. Clair6574190
Winnebago5848149
Madison5666136
Champaign464520
McHenry4567118
Peoria345949
McLean326023
Rock Island297176
Kankakee273177
Unassigned2538244
Sangamon240145
Kendall199725
Tazewell174923
LaSalle170157
DeKalb156738
Macon150344
Coles145030
Williamson139045
Jackson125924
Clinton115320
Boone111323
Adams111210
Randolph93711
Effingham8653
Vermilion7454
Whiteside73820
Ogle6956
Monroe67315
Grundy6675
Henry6645
Morgan65523
Knox6483
Bureau63711
Jefferson60038
Marion5480
Macoupin5407
Christian53711
Franklin5303
Stephenson5176
Union51424
McDonough48015
Logan4611
Crawford4403
Woodford4206
Fayette4063
Cass39511
Jersey39015
Livingston3886
Shelby3854
Montgomery37113
Lee3681
Iroquois36419
Perry34715
Saline3344
Warren3302
Bond3225
Douglas3087
Wayne2785
Jo Daviess2592
Lawrence2542
Carroll2274
Greene22611
Cumberland2155
Hancock2153
Moultrie2143
Jasper2119
Washington2101
Richland2055
Fulton1740
Pulaski1741
Clark1722
White1670
Johnson1530
Clay1510
Wabash1513
Mason1451
Mercer1375
Piatt1370
Pike1271
Menard1251
De Witt1161
Edgar1138
Massac1092
Ford1045
Marshall1010
Alexander801
Scott780
Gallatin722
Hamilton681
Henderson660
Edwards630
Brown590
Calhoun590
Putnam570
Stark552
Schuyler490
Hardin390
Pope291
Out of IL30

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 116549

Reported Deaths: 3577
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21322766
Lake10566323
Elkhart6623111
St. Joseph6488109
Allen6244203
Hamilton4893109
Vanderburgh365231
Hendricks2741123
Monroe259836
Tippecanoe248313
Johnson2328124
Clark222757
Porter215447
Delaware196062
Cass19509
Vigo183527
Madison167075
LaPorte144440
Floyd137063
Warrick133039
Howard131363
Kosciusko121817
Bartholomew117057
Marshall100724
Boone98146
Dubois97919
Hancock93043
Grant92534
Noble91532
Henry80326
Wayne76114
Jackson7589
Morgan72438
Shelby67429
Daviess67228
Dearborn66428
LaGrange63811
Clinton60214
Harrison58224
Putnam57912
Gibson5225
Knox5179
Lawrence51229
Montgomery51121
White48614
DeKalb48311
Decatur45839
Miami4363
Greene42635
Fayette42213
Jasper3962
Steuben3857
Scott37711
Sullivan33712
Posey3350
Jennings31412
Franklin30925
Clay3015
Ripley2988
Orange28824
Whitley2766
Carroll27513
Wabash2688
Adams2663
Washington2661
Starke2647
Wells2634
Jefferson2483
Spencer2463
Fulton2412
Huntington2363
Tipton22722
Perry21913
Randolph2167
Jay1850
Newton17311
Owen1691
Martin1660
Rush1554
Pike1511
Vermillion1300
Fountain1272
Blackford1193
Pulaski1131
Crawford1070
Brown1043
Parke1002
Benton870
Union790
Ohio787
Switzerland690
Warren401
Unassigned0226