Crazy Rich Asians’ leading ladies reveal what it’s like being an Asian woman in Hollywood
And playing women that don't need to be saved...
Crazy Rich Asianshas just come to our screens, and unsurprisingly it is set to be the film of the year.
The strong female leads, the food porn (do not watch this film without snacks), the fashion (we’re talking Elie Saab, Dior, custom-made Michael Cinco and Carven Ong) and the many life lessons we can take away from it. But the film has of course become such a talking point because of the Asian representation (the first all-Asian cast in a major studio film in 25 years).
Junior Digital News Editor Jenny Proudfoot sat down withCrazy Rich Asians‘ leading ladies, Gemma Chan and Constance Wu, to talk high class couture, Asian representation, and why now is not the time forCrazy Rich Asians, it’s long past due.
Constance Wu and Gemma Chan in Crazy Rich Asians. Credit: Warner Bros
Crazy Rich Asians is such a long time coming, why do you think it took so long?
Gemma:To be honest, I don’t know. It’s been 25 years since there’s been a mainstream Hollywood movie with an all Asian cast and yeah, it feels like the film is somewhat overdue. There was the belief that if you have a film with non-white leads, it won’t sell abroad or that it will only have a niche audience, but these things have just been proved untrue.
Constance: There hasn’t really been an evocative voice that demands attention rather than expresses gratitude for belonging until recently. You know, in Asian-American culture there is an assumption that you play by the rules. But then when you have a voice as evocative and provocative as we do here, it causes people to think differently – it causes conversation and we need to have more conversation. We live in countries where wecanexpress and so weshouldexpress. That’s what happened here. There were people who were willing to speak out and that started giving other people the confidence to express themselves, their views and their identities. And I think that when people see there is more than one voice out there with talent, that there are lots of different voices with talent out there, then they start paying attention.
What initially drew you in?
Constance:It’s a number one lead in a studio movie, and despite definitely having Asian actors that are worthy of it, it hasn’t really happened before. Sandra Oh for example is tremendous – and she should have been the star of her own movie ages ago, but she’s always been the number two or number three. She even said withKilling Evewhen she read the script she just assumed that she was number two because it just doesn’t happen. Don’t get me wrong – number two is great, number three is great, everybody who is a supporting cast member is fantastic and it’s awesome. But it’s when the industry expects a certain ethnicity to only do that and to just be grateful for that, that’s when we have to ask for more.
Video: Jimmy O. Yang - “Crazy Rich Asians” and “How to American” | The Daily Show
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