CLOSINGS: View Closings

'Crazy Rich Asians' features all-Asian cast

David Daniel talks with the 'Crazy Rich Asians' cast about filming in Singapore as the 1st all-Asian ensemble of a contemporary US studio film in 25 years.

Posted: Aug 15, 2018 11:18 AM
Updated: Aug 15, 2018 11:47 AM

"Crazy Rich Asians" cast members Awkwafina, Nico Santos, Ronny Chieng and Janice Koh are hyperaware there's a lot riding on the success of their film.

After all, it is the first major Hollywood studio movie since "The Joy Luck Club" -- which released 25 years ago -- to feature a predominately Asian cast.

The actors told CNN in a recent interview that as proud as they are of "Crazy Rich Asians," their idea of true inclusion means not expecting any one project to be all things.

"Box office still matters," said Awkwafina, who portrays Goh Peik Lin in the movie. "But I think at the end of the day, the success of this film should not determine whether there should be stories of people of color. At the same time, we've seen stories perform super well at the box office and I don't think ["Crazy Rich Asians"] will be any different than those."

Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan, "Crazy Rich Asians" is the story of a dashing college professor who takes his girlfriend (also a professor) home to meet his mega-wealthy family in Singapore.

The cast of the romantic comedy is led by "Fresh Off the Boat's" Constance Wu and Hollywood newcomer Henry Golding.

Related: 'Crazy Rich Asians' serves up auspicious mix of romance, laughs

It's easy to think of the project as the "Asian 'Black Panther'" given the excitement surrounding its diversity. Though Santos, who plays Oliver T'sien in the film and is widely known for his role as Mateo Liwanag on "Superstore," cautioned against comparing a romantic comedy to a Marvel superhero movie.

In an industry where the most valued color is green, the global success of films like "Black Panther" and "Get Out" have proven -- yet again -- that movies featuring casts of color can be extremely profitable. Santos is optimistic "Crazy Rich Asians" will further illustrate that fact.

"I hope ['Crazy Rich Asians'] opens the floodgates for other people of color, for Latinos, for the LGBTQ community to be able to tell our own stories," Santos said. "People are yearning for these stories, they are thirsty for these stories and these stories have value."

Related: Constance Wu gets real about the significance of 'Crazy Rich Asians'

Koh, who portrays socialite Felicity Young in "Crazy Rich Asians," said the film, like "Black Panther," is stirring feelings of pride in those anxious to see people who look like them in a blockbuster.

"Everyone is really excited to see an Asian point of view, but also Asian faces on the screen," she said. "It's a milestone movie in that sense."

Related: 'Crazy Rich Asians' supporters start a #GoldOpen movement to pack theaters

The movie comes at a time of debate over "white washing" in Hollywood (hiring white actors to portray Asian characters) and complaints -- from some -- that industry inclusion has become a black and white issue.

But Chieng, a stand up comic who spent several seasons on "The Daily Show," said he disagrees with that framing.

"We promote Asian storytelling. Not just Asian stories, but Asian people in stories with the full spectrum of the human experience," said Chieng, who portrays Edison Cheng in the movie. "When you say, 'Oh, it's not enough attention on Asians, it's more black and white, that game becomes like you're playing the discrimination Olympics."

Awkwafina pointed to the diversity among Asians in the film.

"One of the main reasons for justifying white washing is, 'Well, there aren't any [Asians]. We couldn't find any, so there aren't any and let's just proceed,'" Awkwafina said. "In this movie we have Asian Americans, we have Asian Brits, Asian Australians, Singapore locals. We are out here. It's undeniable."

Also undeniable? The mounting cultural expectations for "Crazy Rich Asians," but Santos said the project shouldn't have to be perfect.

"We should be allowed to fail," he said. "How many chances do white people get? How many [crappy] movies do they get to make over and over again?"

"They get so many chances to fail at the box office," Santos added. "This is our first chance, so let us throw the dart. If it doesn't stick, then ok. Give us another dart."

Click to Submit Photo

 

 

Huntsville
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 55°
Florence
Overcast
57° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 57°
Fayetteville
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 54°
Decatur
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 55°
Scottsboro
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 63°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22988375
Mobile16788315
Tuscaloosa10235140
Montgomery9978197
Madison922894
Shelby727463
Baldwin661569
Lee651765
Marshall437249
Calhoun422461
Etowah421450
Morgan407135
Houston371734
DeKalb336029
Elmore317353
St. Clair289142
Limestone279730
Walker275593
Talladega263635
Cullman239925
Lauderdale218042
Jackson212515
Franklin203231
Autauga203030
Colbert198731
Russell19283
Blount191125
Dallas186327
Chilton185832
Coffee173211
Escambia172230
Covington171429
Dale166551
Chambers134343
Clarke133617
Pike132713
Tallapoosa131387
Marion107129
Barbour10129
Butler100240
Marengo100222
Winston91913
Geneva8617
Lawrence83732
Pickens83618
Bibb82514
Randolph82016
Hale75830
Clay73612
Washington73412
Cherokee73114
Lowndes70428
Monroe64510
Henry6436
Bullock63917
Crenshaw60330
Perry5856
Fayette56913
Wilcox56412
Conecuh56013
Cleburne5518
Macon53020
Lamar4745
Sumter47221
Choctaw39012
Greene34216
Coosa2033
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 241513

Reported Deaths: 3076
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby35564562
Davidson30982333
Knox1239889
Rutherford11502113
Hamilton11497105
Williamson689756
Sumner5900109
Wilson457756
Putnam432955
Montgomery408052
Out of TN390636
Madison371180
Sullivan354046
Bradley351923
Washington332649
Sevier329921
Blount327334
Maury316437
Unassigned28378
Robertson257741
Hamblen242248
Tipton230922
Dyer216329
Gibson212342
Hardeman185433
Coffee183223
Trousdale17587
Obion173021
Greene165451
Bedford165020
Fayette165022
Anderson164614
Dickson163619
McMinn158934
Loudon158811
Cumberland158425
Wayne15847
Lawrence155618
Jefferson152920
Weakley151125
Carter149532
Monroe141928
Warren141510
Lauderdale140417
Henderson139825
Hardin137519
Macon130725
Franklin126317
Roane12577
Haywood125327
Overton118416
Hawkins117024
White115014
Johnson11277
Carroll112525
McNairy111127
Marshall11089
Rhea108317
Cheatham103111
Cocke101412
Bledsoe10104
Lake9803
Smith97613
Campbell9759
Giles93735
Fentress88910
Lincoln8523
Crockett82920
Henry77110
Hickman76715
Marion7419
Chester72114
DeKalb71117
Decatur64811
Grainger5664
Grundy54511
Union5233
Claiborne5146
Polk49213
Jackson4465
Humphreys4344
Morgan4317
Benton4119
Cannon4042
Houston40417
Unicoi3953
Clay39413
Lewis3752
Scott3625
Sequatchie3384
Stewart3179
Meigs3066
Perry2772
Pickett2627
Moore2592
Van Buren2011
Hancock1153

Community Events