An opulent delight, CRAZY RICH ASIANS follows Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she travels to her boyfriend’s homeland of Singapore where she must contend with his disapproving relatives, battle jealous socialites and navigate her identity as an Asian American woman. Directing Workshop for Women alum Ashley Eakin (AFI Class of 2020) served as director Jon Chu’s assistant on the groundbreaking film.
AFI Movie Club: CRAZY RICH ASIANS
Watch Phillipa Soo announce CRAZY RICH ASIANS.
DID YOU KNOW? CRAZY RICH ASIANS is based on a bestselling novel by Kevin Kwan. He deliberately turned down a much bigger budget and a three-picture deal from Netflix to produce the film, and instead teamed with Warner Bros with a modest $30 million budget. He did so because he wanted a theatrical release and to prove that Asian American studio films can be commercially viable.
DID YOU KNOW? CRAZY RICH ASIANS marks the big screen debut of Malaysian actor Henry Golding, who stars as billionaire Nick Young. Before his foray into film, Golding worked as the host of the BBC’s THE TRAVEL SHOW since 2014.
DID YOU KNOW? CRAZY RICH ASIANS actors Constance Wu and Ken Jeong previously starred together on the television series FRESH OFF THE BOAT.
DID YOU KNOW? CRAZY RICH ASIANS marks the first feature film credit of co-writer Adele Lim. Having grown up in Southeast Asia, she has said she felt a connection to the material – which allowed her to bring cultural authenticity to the script. Next up, she has written Disney’s animated feature RAY AND THE LAST DRAGON, which will see her reteam with CRAZY RICH ASIANS actress Awkwafina.
DID YOU KNOW? The cast of CRAZY RICH ASIANS had a dumpling-making party when they arrived in Kuala Lumpur as a way to get to know each other, and to practice making dumplings for a scene in the film itself. Actress Gemma Chan said, “We all needed to roughly know what we were doing. I’d never made dumplings before. It got quite competitive.”
DID YOU KNOW? Actress Michelle Yeoh, who plays Nick Young’s mother in CRAZY RICH ASIANS, loaned the production several jewelry pieces from her own personal collection for the film.
DID YOU KNOW? The Young family mansion’s taxidermied tiger proved to be a challenge for the production. The best specimen was in London, so production designer Nelson Coates hired sculptors in Thailand to create a tiger out of foam and fur – only to have it held up by customs because agents thought it was real. The production finally got it installed the night before filming.
DID YOU KNOW? Kris Aquino, who plays Princess Intan who sits with Rachel at Colin and Araminta’s wedding, is actually the daughter of former Philippine President Corazon Aquino and Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., and the sister of former President Benigno Aquino III.
The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Discussion Questions
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- How does CRAZY RICH ASIANS capture the satire of Kevin Kwan’s original novel?
- Why do you think Nick doesn’t tell his girlfriend Rachel about his family’s wealth?
- How does their life in New York contrast with the way he was brought up in Singapore?
- Why does Eleanor object to Rachel dating her son? How does class and nationality factor into her thinking? How does Eleanor differ from Rachel’s own mother?
- How is “old money” vs “new money” contrasted in the film? What are the different values reflected by the “old money” families of Singapore and the “new money” families like Peik Lin’s?
- What do you think of the film’s depiction of wealth and excess? What is the film’s message about issues such as class, race and identity?
- Why do you think author Kevin Kwan held out for a theatrical release? What did the film’s box office success prove about the desire for stories about Asian Americans and the Asian diaspora?
- Why is there a dearth of films featuring Asian American stories? How is CRAZY RICH ASIANS a significant film for the Asian American community both with representation onscreen and off?
- How would you rate CRAZY RICH ASIANS?
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