We. Cannot. Wait.
It looks like we can soon add Crazy Rich Asians to our list of our fave books turned to films. That’s right: Rachel Chu, Nick Young and Astrid Leong will be jumping off the pages and onto the big screens, and honestly, we can’t wait.
Written by Kevin Kwan, the two books have become international phenomenons since they hit shelves back in 2013 (fyi, the third book Rich People Problems is dropping on May 23rd). Following the lives of the richest families in Singapore, the first book centers around Rachel Chu, an NYU economics professor, and her boyfriend Nick Young, who head back to Singapore to attend his best friend’s wedding (a.k.a. the social event of the season) and meet Nick’s high-society family. With its funny and satirical insider look into the opulent lives of the Chinese and Singaporeans, we’re not surprised to see the page-turner picked up Warner Bros. Studios to bring the most memorable scenes (and fashion moments) to life.
While there’s no word on when the book-to-film adaption will be coming to a theatre near us, from what we’ve gathered, it looks like it’s panning out to be quite the movie. For starters, the movie will be directed by Jon M. Chu (his repertoire includes: Now You See Me 2, Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never)) and is said to make history with its all-Asian cast backed by an American-Hollywood studio (a first since 1993 film Joy Luck Club). As we all know, Hollywood has been in hot water for ages, after making questionable casting calls for Asian characters (read: Emma Stone in Aloha and Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell). Judging by the recent casting announcements, it looks like the producers and creators are sticking to their word. Given that the book has an immense international fan base, you can bet readers (us included) will be eyeing every single detail down to the dresses (ahem, Astrid’s cobalt blue halter-neck Gaultier dress mentioned in the book).
Here’s what we know about the Crazy Rich Asians movie so far.
It’s going to be an all-Asian cast.
Director Jon M. Chu is adamant about staying true to the book, meaning casting only Asian actors and actresses. In an interview with Buzzfeed, he expressed the production will be longer than any other films he’s done because he wants to find the right talents for the distinctive characters. That’s obviously not to say there aren’t any amazing actors of Asian descent out there, but it will take some time to find the perfect ones.
“As an Asian male myself, I feel like this representation is very important to me, and I want it to be a range of dudes that have a range of looks and feels, so it’s not just one-note either.”
Fans had the opportunity to audition for roles as extras.
Ever felt like one of the book characters was basically you? Well, you’re in luck. In hopes of finding more talented Asian actors, Chu reached out on social media to search for actors and actresses in the film.
Constance Wu to play Rachel Chu
Seeing as how Rachel is kind of the most important character in the book, we’re not surprised to see her role being cast first. And the girl-next-door, economics professor Rachel Chu goes to none other than Constance Wu. You may recognize her from the ABC show Fresh Off the Boat, where the up-and-coming star plays the hilarious no-nonsense mother of three, Jessica Huang.
Michelle Yeoh to play Eleanor Young
For the elegant and over-calculating mother of Nick Young, Michelle Yeoh (you’ve seen her in Tomorrow Never Dies, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha) takes the cake. According to Kwan’s Instagram, it was a dream come true to have Yeoh sign on for the role.
“Even before I finished writing the book, I had already thought that in my wildest dreams, if a movie was ever made of my novel,” writes Kwan. “Michelle Yeoh would be so perfect as Eleanor Young.” We’re totally on board with this casting call.
Henry Golding to play Nicholas Young
If you Google Henry Golding, there may not be much about the actor, who is to play Singapore’s most eligible bachelor. While this may be Golding’s first-feature film, with his English accent (his father is British and his mother is of Malay descent) and the fact that he currently resides in Singapore, we can say we see a little Nick in him.
Location, location, location
Director Jon M. Chu has been teasing his fans on Instagram with #FOMO-inducing photos of Singapore. While we’re scratching our heads trying to figure out which scene involves a Singaporean beach, he’s currently in Asia location scouting for the movie.
Gemma Chan to play Astrid Leong
For what’s probably the most anticipated (and most important, imo) character casting, we can finally breathe a sigh of relief, as Gemma Chan has been announced to play the book’s It girl, Astrid Leong. While you’ve probably seen the British film and television actress in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them or in the science-fiction television series, Human, she’s also one to watch on the red carpet and in the front row. Her work with Save the Children in Syria is equally as admirable. Could there be a more perfect person for the role? Nope.
Sonoya Mizuno to play Araminta Lee
Sonoya Mizuno has been cast to play Singapore’s ultimate fashion icon and the enviable bride-to-be in the wedding of the year, Araminta Lee (of the luxury hotel Lees). You may have spotted the Japanese-British actress and former ballerina in Ex-Machina, Frank Ocean’s “Nikes” music video and most recently as Emma Stone’s roommate in La La Land. We don’t know what we’re more excited about: how she’s going to bring her character Colin Khoo’s fiancé to life or her bespoke Valentino wedding dress featuring a high-neck, lace bodice and a 15-foot train.
Kevin Kwan revealed on his Instagram that filming is underway. Satisfying our curiosity, the cast has also been sharing BTS pics on their social media platforms.
Awkwafina to play Peik Lin
If you were wondering why Awkwafina has been popping up in CRA’s cast’s pics as of late, it’s because the New York-based rapper/actress has been confirmed to play Rachel’s big-hearted, bubbly bestie, Peik Lin. Although, Awkwafina’s acting experience may be minimal, she’s already copped roles in Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising, Stork and in the upcoming A-list-packed female Ocean’s Eleven spinoff, Ocean’s Eight. It’s safe to say she’s one to watch this year.
That’s all that’s been revealed so far, but watch this space as we’ll be updating whenever we hear something new!