Directed by Jon M. Chu the story centers around a young Asian American woman (Constance Wu of TV's Fresh off The Boat) who meets the parents of her boyfriend (Henry Golding) only to discover they're one of the richest families in Singapore. It is the first Hollywood studio film in 25 years to feature Asian Americans in leading roles since 1993's The Joy Luck Club.
Our Bonnie Laufer spoke with the romantic leads of Crazy Rich Asians Constance Wu and Henry Golding to find out more about working together on this film and why it has meant so much to them on a personal level.
Click the link at the bottom of the Q&A for that.
ORIGINAL-CIN- Aside from the opulence, what stood out for me watching this film was the comradery. It felt very real. How instant was the bond between this cast?
GEMMA CHAN: “It was instantaneous. We became like a big family pretty quick. We would all eat together. It was wonderful and unlike any experience I’ve ever had working on a movie.”
HENRY GOLDING: “It was like a summer camp. We all were staying in one hotel, people who weren’t shooting on any given day were still hanging out with each other. Even after a long day of shooting, we would meet up with each other and have dinner so it all did feel like a big family gathering. “
CONSTANCE WU:“We all knew how special it was and we wanted to make it great. We all loved each other and for me it was such a privilege to work with such great people.”
OC: Had you all read the book and did you have a favourite character?
CW:“I loved that my character Rachel has a very close bond with her mother, and that she is proud of her working class roots. She doesn’t care if money or style defines her. What defines her are the sacrifices that her ancestors went through before her, who immigrated and gave her opportunities that she might now have had because of them.”
OC:Henry, did you and Constance hit it off right away? You never know when you have to play opposite someone if you’re going to have chemistry.
HG:“Yeah, I think that is actually what was evident when we auditioned together, Our chemistry read was very natural.”
CW:“That is how we got the roles, because the chemistry in our audition went so well.”
HG:“It felt natural how we portrayed our characters and how they are in love.”
CW:“And I’m not going to lie, it’s not hard to have chemistry with somebody who looks like this, you know?”
HG:“Stop, you’re making me blush!” (Laughs)
OC: There’s been a lot of talk, and rightfully so, about how this movie has the first all Asian-American cast in 25 years (since the Joy Luck Club). Constance you recently wrote a heartfelt open statement on Twitter about how much this whole experience has meant to you. Why did you feel you had to do that and why has this become so personal for you?
CW:“First of all I do want to say, that when I say Asian American - I also mean Asian-British and basically I include every Asian person who has grown up in a culture where they are not the dominant culture or they are not the normative face.
“I wrote that post because I just had a moment of tremendous gratitude. Ever since I did my television series, Fresh off the Boat, I have met so many amazing Asian men and women who come up to me, crying, or are so moved, telling me that, finally, they feel like they are worthy of being the stars of their own stories. Because they had never seen a face like theirs be allowed to have a story centered around them.
“Even though we have many amazing Asian and Asian American actors they are never in the forefront. So I just wanted to express my gratitude and to let people know why it’s so important for all of us.”
OC:The book wasn't called Crazy Rich Asians for nothing! To be around such opulence is truly insane and it is depicted so well in the film. Could you even imagine ever being that rich?
HG:“It’s a life I don’t think any of us could get used to. It was amazing to have the opportunity to live vicariously through these wonderful over the top characters. However, there are people who do live like that and have that wealth. We saw a lot of it while we were shooting in Singapore, it is pretty wild.”
CW:“That is really part of the wishful-fantasy part of this movie. It is pretty over the top but it’s kind of like The Great Gatsby. You get to see all of the spectacle and the fabulous costumes. It’s kind of what makes the movie so much fun.”
Click HERE for Bonnie’s video interview with Ken Jeong and Awkwafina.
Crazy Rich Asians. Directed by Jon M. Chu. Starring Henry Fielding, Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh. Opens wide, Wednesday, Aug. 15.