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Director Jon M. Chu was thrilled when he got the chance to make ‘Crazy Rich Asians’--one of the only U.S. studio releases ever with an all Asian cast. Given that history, it’s not surprising that one of his biggest challenges was casting--specifically, finding the right actor to play leading man Nick Young. After a worldwide search, Chu ended up going with someone who wasn’t an actor at all. Chu and ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ author Kevin Kwan tell us about the unusual journey that led them to travel show host Henry Golding, and why they were committed to having their movie play in theaters, even if that meant turning down a crazy rich offer from Netflix.

Hollywood news banter 6 MIN, 25 SEC
  • This year’s Oscars telecast was the lowest-rated in history, so ABC is desperate to boost the ratings. But the rule change by the Academy that adds a best “popular” film category to the Oscars is proving to be well, extremely unpopular.
  • The battle between CBS and Viacom rages on, and CBS folds its investigation of Les Moonves into its larger news investigation of Charlie Rose and Jeff Fager. And one of the CBS board members made a tape of Sumner Redstone, and his daughter Shari is not happy about it--the tape may demonstrate the full extent of Redstone’s poor health. A judge has ruled that the tape will not be made public, but it won’t be thrown out either.

Matt Belloni, Editorial Director of The Hollywood Reporter (@THRMattBelloni)

Director Jon M. Chu and author Kevin Kwan on 'Crazy Rich Asians' 20 MIN, 55 SEC

Near the beginning of the new movie ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ handsome Nick Young, played by Henry Golding, asks his Chinese-American girlfriend Rachel Chu, played by Constance Wu, to take a trip with him from New York to his home country of Singapore.

Soon they’re on a plane, and much to Rachel’s surprise, they’re flying first class and they’re treated like royalty. She gets Nick to admit his family has money, but she doesn’t realize how much money until her college roommate Peik Lin, played by Awkwafina, lays it out for her. Turns out the Young family were some of the original land developers in Singapore. They’ve got an empire to protect, and Nick’s mother Eleanore, played by Michelle Yeoh, has a very specific idea of the type of girl Nick should marry, and Rachel is not it.

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is based on the 2013 novel of the same name, written by Kevin Kwan. Both Kwan and director Jon M. Chu took the comedy very seriously because ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is the first American studio film in many years to feature an entirely Asian cast. Kwan and Chu joined us in the studio, just hours before their big red carpet premiere.

They told us why it was so important to them for their movie to play in theaters-- even though Netflix offered tons of money and a trilogy--and about the worldwide search for a cast that involved some Facebook friending and Instagram stalking.

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ trailer

Jon M. Chu, director of “Crazy Rich Asians” (@jonmchu)
Kevin Kwan, author of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and 'Rich People Problems' (@kevinkwanbooks)


(L-R) HENRY GOLDING, executive producer and author KEVIN KWAN, director JON M. CHU and CONSTANCE WU on the set of "CRAZY RICH ASIANS," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo: Credit: Sanja Bucko.

Kim Masters

Kaitlin Parker

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