FROM Kevin Kwan
Designing “Crazy Rich Asians” This week the first full-length trailer was released for “Crazy Rich Asians,” a film opening in August. It’s based on the bestselling rom-com of the same name by Kevin Kwan. “It's really the Downton Abbey of Asia. This is a family story it's about a ridiculously rich clan that's been privileged for generations,” Kwan said. The book details the relationship of Rachel Chu, an American-born Chinese woman, who falls in love with Nicholas Young, a fellow professor at NYU. When he invites her to a wedding in Singapore, Kwan says, what she assumes is just a summer holiday turns into “Pride and Prejudice in Asia” when she realizes “his family is richer than God and he's sort of the Prince William of Singapore, or of Asia, really.” The popular novel invites readers “to just see the clash of cultures and get a peek behind the scenes of this very privileged class of people that exist in Asia,” Kwan says, and he worked with the film’s costume designer Mary Vogt and production designer Nelson Coates to get the fashion and food and sets just right. “Basically you try to become the expert in whatever your subject matter is,” Coates tells DnA, adding that it was an “unbelievable, unabashed joy” to work on this movie. He had to do extensive research into the fashions, art and tastes of the Chinese diaspora, including the specifics of the old Peranakan culture in what is now Singapore. This promoted DnA to ask if below the line talent such as designers should hail from the community the movie depicts. After all, issues of identity are front and center right now, in the era of #OscarsSoWhite and the Academy’s campaign to boost diversity. And the relevance of identity to design is going to be a focus of upcoming DnA shows. Coates says that even as a good designer can do the research, he’s certainly been thinking about this issue in his role as head of the Art Directors Guild. “As designers we should be able to go beyond just our particular cultural touch points,” he said. “I've always hired a colorblind crew. That's always been a very, very strong concern for me. Just because you get different perspectives.” Michelle Yeoh in Crazy Rich Asians (2018). Photo by Sanja Bucko - © 2017 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND SK GLOBAL ENTERTAINMENT
Kevin Kwan satirizes Asian elite in "Rich People Problems" The extreme levels of new wealth in China have spawned government crackdowns on corruption and public outcry over the Communist nation’s high-spending “princelings.” But novelist Kevin Kwan says the real story is about the old money. He is the author of the so-called Downton Abbey of Asia, a hilarious bestselling trilogy: “Crazy Rich Asians,” soon to be a major motion picture, “China Rich Girlfriend,” and now “Rich People Problems.” The books follow the “ridiculously rich clan” of Tyersall Park estate in Singapore and their entanglements with the super rich families of mainland China and the diaspora. Along the way Kwan explores class through the stuff his characters buy, from over the top interiors to multi-million dollar couture dresses and cosmetically improved collectible fish. He recently visited the set of “Crazy Rich Asians” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and spoke to DnA from his hotel room there. “Rich People Problems” by Kevin Kwan
Lucia Micarelli: An Evening with Lucia Micarelli Violinist and actress Lucia Micarelli visits The Treatment to discuss her emotive performances as she prepares for PBS' An Evening with Lucia Micarelli.
Morgan Parker: There Are More Beautiful Things than Beyoncé Morgan Parker says that the poems in her book There Are Things More Beautiful than Beyoncé take a stand against the clichés of the dominant culture.
Accusations of lying fly between James Comey and White House During his testimony Thursday, former FBI Director James Comey accused President Trump and other White House officials of lying when they said the FBI was in disarray and its staff had lost confidence in him. President Trump’s lawyer said Comey was wrong -- that the president never asked for his loyalty, and never asked him to back off the investigation into former NSA director Michael Flynn.