I’m not trying to be dramatic but yesterday morning, when The Hollywood Reporter posted its new Crazy Rich Asians cover and story, my hands started shaking. Seeing people who look like me or my family, who are more likely to have our shared experience, on the cover of an English language magazine – this hasn’t happened much, if at all. As Constance Wu says in the article, “I tried to make Rachel’s story about identity. What does this say about the experience of being Asian-American, how it shapes you differently than the experience of being Asian-Asian? People think it’s the same, but when you grow up without your face being a part of dominant culture, it changes things.”
The great thing about Crazy Rich Asians, though, is that this is not a movie about what makes us different. This is a movie about what makes us the same: we all fall in love; we have all felt intimidated by the unknown, the new; we all judge and are judged; we all have family drama; we all yearn for friendship and acceptance; we’re all looking for the perfect meal, we all appreciate the perfect dress.
Crazy Rich Asians is universal AND specific. It’s what Duana and I talk about all the time on Show Your Work and it’s what Jon M Chu (director) and Kevin Kwan (author) and the entire CRA team have delivered. It’s the goal they set for themselves to deliver. Because no one knows better than they do what’s riding on this movie.
"The biggest stage with the biggest stakes — that's what we asked for."
This article then is about the work that went into making it happen. Work that includes turning down a f-ck tonne of money from Netflix so that the film could play in theatres. Work that includes being patient with both the story and the schedule to get the characters and the narrative exactly right. Work that includes taking major risks for the major reward: change.
We are planning an all Crazy Rich Asians special podcast episode of Show Your Work that we’ll post when the movie comes out and we’ll unpack all the great work that we learn about in this THR piece. And another note on great work - this piece came out just ahead of the CRA press junket that’s happening this weekend. Which is what I’m doing this weekend. I’ve been junketing now for almost 13 years. I have never been on a junket where there’s an Asian person on the other side of every door I go into for the interviews. It’s hard to explain the emotion I’m carrying going into this. For some reason…I’m nervous? Tell you all about it next week.
Yours in gossip,