Everyone I know who’s seen Crazy Rich Asians came out of there obsessed with Gemma Chan. It was inevitable. This is why when I wrote about the trailer back in April, I noted that it was low on Astrid, her character, deliberately. Rachel Chu, played by Constance Wu, is the stand-in for the audience. She’s the one who brings us into the Crazy Rich Asians universe. The star of our universe is the sun. The star of the CRA universe is Astrid. And you can’t blast Astrid out too early. But by the time the movie is over, you’ll get it. You’ll get why both she and Gemma are so compelling.
In a new profile in British Vogue, she’s described as “Britain’s foremost Asian actress”. No disrespect to Gemma but it’s not like Britain is churning out Asian actresses, you know? It’s not a compliment when most people can’t name any other Asian actresses from Britain (or America or Canada for that matter) – and I’m not sure most people in Britain could name Gemma Chan. This is why we’re here, after all. This is what they’re working on, what they’re pushing for, with Crazy Rich Asians. That said, there has been change.
Gemma, in addition to being in Crazy Rich Asians, is also currently working on Captain Marvel, and she’s actually in the upcoming Mary, Queen of Scots with Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I. IT’S A PERIOD PIECE. Gemma plays Bess of Hardwick, Elizabeth I’s BFF. A Chinese girl in a period piece! Big ups to the director Josie Rourke and the casting director(s) for making this happen.
This is a good introductory article to Gemma, someone who you may not know right now but someone who’s on the verge of a major breakout in just a few weeks. For her talent and for her style. This outfit? COME ON.
Here’s Gemma with CRA author Kevin Kwan and Jimmy O Yang promoting the movie in Philadelphia last night. This wispy silver white tunic over black pants could have been my Outfit of the Week. But I wanted her on the main page too badly. And the press tour is just beginning. I’m expecting Gemma to be serving a lot more style porn in the coming days.