Jon M. Chu on ‘Crazy Rich Asians’: ‘We Had a Sense of Purpose’

Read on: Variety.

Making any movie is hard, but nothing is more challenging than creating a film that looks fun and effortless — and original. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” succeeds on all three counts, and the film’s popularity proves that it struck a nerve with fi…

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Jon M. Chu: ‘China Rich Girlfriend’ Will Be “Fun & Insane”; On ‘In The Heights’ & Thai Cave Rescue Film

Read on: Deadline.

Crazy Rich Asians has of course swept in a much-needed new era for actors of Asian descent, given that it’s the first all-Asian cast studio film since The Joy Luck Club 25 years ago. It certainly rocked the box office, but when director Jon M. Chu set …

‘Good Trouble’ Review: ‘The Fosters’ Socially-Aware Spinoff Gives Realistic Charm To Adulting

Read on: Deadline.

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details from the premiere episode of Good Trouble. Gone are the days of the enjoyably schmaltzy and sugar-coated melodramatic coming-of-age series about young adulthood (I love me some Dawson’s Creek) and welc…

Netflix, Amazon, Hulu & Apple Top TV For 1st Time; Broadcast & Cable Decline

Read on: Deadline.

The era of Peak TV hit a record-breaking peak in 2018 with the relative newbies of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Apple’s soon to debut small screen service beating out the broadcasters and cablers for the first time ever.
Though down by a notch from FX bos…

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Star Constance Wu & Director Jon M. Chu On Golden Globe Noms & Bigger Picture

Read on: Deadline.

Crazy Rich Asians was the surprise sensation of the year, and its hot streak continued Thursday with two nominations for the 76th annual Golden Globes, including Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical).
Constance Wu got the other nomination, with her b…

Warner Bros & ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Helmer Jon M. Chu To Tell Screen Story Of Journey Singer Arnel Pineda

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is re-teaming with its Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu to chronicle the journey of Arnel Pineda, a Filipino singer rescued from obscurity by a YouTube video that led him to become the lead singer of the iconic ’80s ar…

Jon M. Chu Scores A Publicists Guild Showman Of The Year Honor

Read on: Deadline.

Jon M. Chu, director of Crazy Rich Asians, will receive the Motion Picture Showman of the Year Award at the Cinematographers Guild’s Publicist Awards, to be held February 22 at the Beverly Hilton.
“Jon M. Chu has made an extraordinary contribution to t…

Constance Wu: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Sequel Must Wait; She’s Not Yet Attached To Jennifer Lopez Film

Read on: Deadline.

For those anxiously awaiting China Rich Girlfriend–the follow-up to the Warner Bros. smash-hit Crazy Rich Asians, according to Constance Wu, it may take a while, due to director Jon M. Chu’s schedule.
“I don’t know much about th…

Michelle Yeoh On How ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Could Finally Shake Up Academy History

Read on: Deadline.

In the midst of a packed schedule in the run-up to Oscar voting, Michelle Yeoh is sipping two types of super-healthy juice at the Beverly Hills restaurant where we meet—green and lemon. After all, she has to keep up her strength, given the high s…

Rita Moreno Set To Return To Movie Musical Roots For ‘In The Heights’

Read on: Deadline.

Hollywood legend Rita Moreno is returning to her movie musical roots. The EGOT recipient is set to play matriarch Abuela Claudia in Warner Bros’ forthcoming adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical In the Heights, Deadline ha…

Hollywood Film Awards To Honor ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

Read on: Deadline.

Warner Bros’ romantic comedy blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians has been added to the list of honorees at the 22nd annual Hollywood Film Awards. The ceremony is November 4 at the Beverly Hilton.
Jon M. Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians starring Constance …

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Star Michelle Yeoh Signs Overall Deal With SK Global Labels

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Crazy Rich Asians” star Michelle Yeoh has entered into an overall deal with SK Global Entertainment and her label Mythical Films , the companies announced Wednesday

SK’s international shop Ivanhoe Pictures was one of the producers on last weekend’s box office winner “Crazy Rich,” a landmark in Hollywood representation and a revival of the romantic comedy genre.

Ivanhoe and its domestic counterpart in the SK Global portfolio, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, will work on “producing, directing and select acting opportunities” with Yeoh.

Also Read: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Sequel in Development With Jon M Chu Planning to Return

“We are thrilled to be in business with such a versatile storyteller. One would be hard pressed to find a more universally loved and supremely talented global star,” SK Global president John Penotti said in a statement.

Yeoh said she’s excited to continue working with both companies  “to develop stories that bridge cultures. The success of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ has shown us that there are many more wonderful stories to tell from around the globe and I am delighted to partner with this very creative and wonderful team.”

Yeoh has is the star of features like Ang Lee’s award-winning “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” winner of 4 Academy Awards, as well as the James Bond title “Tomorrow Never Dies.” She also appeared in Marvel’s recent “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”

Upcoming SK content includes the psychological thriller “Greta” from Neil Jordan with starring Isabelle Huppert and Chloë Grace Moretz. Additionally, the Hindi-language television series “Ghoul” will debut on Netflix on August 24 and was developed via Ivanhoe Pictures.

Yeoh is represented by David Unger at Artist International Group.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Author Kevin Kwan Could Face Jail Time in Singapore for Draft-Dodging

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Sequel in Development With Jon M Chu Planning to Return

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Doesn’t Speak for the Entire Asian Experience (Guest Blog)

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Sequel in Development With Jon M Chu Planning to Return

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

A sequel to “Crazy Rich Asians” is in development, with plans for director Jon M. Chu to return, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

Producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson of Color Force and John Penotti of Ivanhoe are planning to reunite for the follow-up, as well as screenwriters Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim.

Warner Bros., which hasn’t officially greenlighted the film, has the option for the entire trilogy written by Kevin Kwan, which includes “China Rich Girlfriend” and “Rich People Problems.” Henry Golding, Constance Wu and Michelle Yeoh also have options for the sequels.

Also Read: Ballin’ on a Budget: How ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Made Mega-Rich World for $30 Million

Do not read on if you don’t want to read spoilers for “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Of course, the end of “Crazy Rich Asians,” which hit theaters last week, teases a follow-up film. The mid-credit scene focuses on Astrid Leong (Gemma Chan) and Charlie Wu (Harry Shum, Jr.), the latter being a big character in the second and third book.

When asked about a potential sequel, Chu told TheWrap, “We would love to, of course — we wouldn’t put that in if we didn’t have the intention [to make a sequel]. However, we don’t get to decide — the audience does.”

According to Thrillist, producer Nina Jacobson told reporters earlier this month, “We’ll just tease [it] a little bit at the end and hope that audiences ask for more movies so we can continue to tell the story.”

The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Rolls Up No. 1 at Box Office With $34 Million 5-Day Opening

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Stars Dueled Over Epic Mahjong Showdown: ‘No One Was Giving in’

Does ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Have a Post-Credits Scene?

How ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Hooked A $34M #GoldOpen At The Box Office

Read on: Deadline.

This weekend director Jon M. Chu and Warner Bros. took what might have appeared to be a niche genre proposition on paper and turned it into a cultural moment.
Crazy Rich Asians, based on Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novel, earned $25.2M at the domest…

This Is What ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Meant to Its Fans: ‘My Heart Is Bursting’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Though its box office opening wasn’t a record breaker like “Black Panther,” Jon M. Chu’s “Crazy Rich Asians” had the same impact on Asian-American moviegoers that the Marvel blockbuster had on African-Americans, filling a demand for representation that had long been ignored in Hollywood.

As the film steamed towards a strong $34 million five-day opening — among the best for a romantic comedy this decade — Asians who saw the film took to social media to express their gratitude to Chu, Constance Wu and the rest of the film’s cast and crew for finally giving them the chance to see characters that reflected themselves on-screen.

Also Read: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Rolls Up No. 1 at Box Office With $34 Million 5-Day Opening

Among the most widely shared was a Twitter thread from Huffington Post editor Kimberly Yam, who talked about her lifelong struggle with her Chinese-American identity.

“You’re 8 years old. Your 3rd grade class orders Chinese food & your father delivers it. You are so excited to see your pops in school. He’s your hero,” Yam begins. “But apparently other kids don’t think he’s so cool. They laugh at him and mimic his accent. You don’t want to be Chinese anymore.”

You’re 9 years old.
You attend ballet camp. Someone tells you that another girl *hates* you. She thinks your eyes are an “ugly shape.” You don’t have the vocabulary to describe why that’s hurtful. But now, you hate your distinctly Asian face. You don’t want to be Chinese anymore.

– Kimberly Yam (@kimmythepooh) August 18, 2018

You don’t want people thinking you’re uptight. You laugh along with everyone else. You don’t want to be Chinese anymore.

– Kimberly Yam (@kimmythepooh) August 18, 2018

Also Read: Michelle Yeoh Recalls Hollywood Quota System: ‘We Can’t Have Two Minorities’ in the Same Film

Yam goes on to discuss how after she went to college, she began to fight back against the self-hatred that a childhood filled with classmates making fun of Asians instilled in her, and that watching “Crazy Rich Asians” just added to the pride she now feels as an adult.

“You’re 25 years old. You see a movie with an all-asian cast at a screening and for some reason you’re crying and you can’t stop. You’ve never seen a cast like this in Hollywood. Everyone is beautiful,” she concludes. “You’re so happy you’re Chinese.”

But you know you rejected your culture a long time ago. You know you refused to speak Chinese & you remember calling your mother’s food “disgusting.” It’s fucked. It clicks. It’s a race to reclaim everything you’ve hated about yourself. For the 1st time, you want to be Chinese.

– Kimberly Yam (@kimmythepooh) August 18, 2018

You’re 25 years old.
You see a movie with an all-asian cast at a screening and for some reason you’re crying and you can’t stop. You’ve never seen a cast like this in Hollywood. Everyone is beautiful.
You’re so happy you’re Chinese. #CrazyRichAsians #RepresentationMatters

– Kimberly Yam (@kimmythepooh) August 18, 2018

“Aquaman” director James Wan echoed Yam’s statement, saying he wish he had a film like “Crazy Rich Asians” growing up.

“I don’t think I’ve seen a mainstream Hollywood movie with an entire cast that looks like — well, me and my family — before, and my heart is bursting,” he tweeted.

Everyone, do yourself a favor, go see this superbly made romantic-comedy! With a stellar cast, headlined by the incredible & exquisitely talented @ConstanceWu, dashing & charming @henrygolding, and living-goddess Michelle Yeoh! THANK YOU, @jonmchu, you had me at laksa and durian!

– James Wan (@creepypuppet) August 19, 2018

Check out more tweets from people who saw the film this weekend below, as well as thanks from the cast.

Everyone, do yourself a favor, go see this superbly made romantic-comedy! With a stellar cast, headlined by the incredible & exquisitely talented @ConstanceWu, dashing & charming @henrygolding, and living-goddess Michelle Yeoh! THANK YOU, @jonmchu, you had me at laksa and durian!

– James Wan (@creepypuppet) August 19, 2018

in my #crazyrichasians feelings

– mc jin (@iammcjin) August 18, 2018

Hearing the amount of 1st gens that are taking their parents & grandparents to the movies for the first time is the coolest thing about this. Never thought a rom-com could bring families together. #CrazyRichAsians

– Harry Shum Jr (@HarryShumJr) August 18, 2018

#Representation: when it’s been absent most of your life, sometimes you have to see it to realize just how much you needed it.
Adored #CrazyRichAsians. Made me proud and made me cry. Hilarious, touching, a total delight! Congrats to all.

– David Hwang (@DavidHenryHwang) August 19, 2018

The funny thing about #CrazyRichAsians is that asian people aren’t treating it like their Black Panther moment, we’re just happy to see other asian people on a screen not throwing roundhouse kicks at a white protagonist

– Noah B (@noahfloods) August 16, 2018

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Rolls Up No. 1 at Box Office With $34 Million 5-Day Opening

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Stars Dueled Over Epic Mahjong Showdown: ‘No One Was Giving in’

How ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Director Reappropriated a Racial Slur With a Coldplay Song

Ballin’ on a Budget: How ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Made Mega-Rich World for $30 Million

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

In the high-flying world of Kevin Kwan’s “Crazy Rich Asians” book trilogy, $30 million would barely cover the couture, jewels, private jet fuel and five-star menu for a ladies’ lunch in Singapore.

But $30 million was the budget for the Warner Bros. adaptation of the bestselling novel, about the competitive world of Asia’s super-rich thrust upon an unsuspecting Constance Wu when she flies from New York to meet her boyfriend’s family

Million-dollar diamonds, penthouses in the clouds, six-figure dinner tabs and more an orgy of brand names and labels. How’d they pull it off on a mid-range studio budget?

Also Read: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Stars Dueled Over Epic Mahjong Showdown: ‘No One Was Giving in’

TheWrap assembled the “Crazy Rich” filmmaking team including director Jon M. Chu, producers Brad Simpson and Nina Jacobson, and production designer Nelson Coates for a lesson in balling on a budget.

Starting with …

Lockdown Diamonds

The expensive jewelry seen in the movie was borrowed from jewelers that came with security guards.

“Kevin [Kwan] was on par the whole time, saying, ‘People who know watches will know that that’s not an expensive watch,’” Chu told TheWrap. “I was like, ‘Kevin, that’s a $150,000 watch!’ And he’s like, ‘That’s not good enough, we have to get that $500,000 watch.’ We had to get the million-dollar earrings, that came with security guards, and I had never done a movie where you are bound by your time because a security guard needs to bring the jewelry back to the safe. I had never been dictated by the jewelry, the costumes, of how long you can shoot, so that was insane to go through. But totally worth it.”

Kwan, the author of the book on which the movie is based, added, “I also was able to help procure a vintage Rolex Paul Newman ‘Panda’ Daytona valued at $600,000 from a watch collector that we flew half-way around the world for a particular scene.”

However, renting the stellar pieces for the movie also came with complications, especially the ones worn by Gemma Chan’s Astrid Leong in the movie.

Also Read: Does ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Have a Post-Credits Scene?

“I was really angry when [the security guards] were like, ‘The earrings have to go back right now,’ and I said, ‘We’re not done shooting the scene,’ and they were like, ‘Well, make sure her ears aren’t seen then!’” Chu added. “I thought, ‘This is ridiculous.’”

“I think we had around $3 million worth of jewelry, with several guards, on set!” said Coates.

Yeoh’s Private Stash

Michelle Yeoh’s character, Eleanor Young, also wears a gorgeous ring at the end of the movie — and that particular piece of jewelry came from her own jewelry box.

“We had a ring made, and it didn’t look great. All the people I asked — my friends who love jewelry — said ‘Yeah, that doesn’t look great,’” Chu explained. “So Michelle was like, ‘Hey, I have a ring. I bought the ring as a gift to myself.’ So it’s hers! She said, ‘I buy myself a gift after every movie I do.’”

Brand Desertion

The world of “Crazy Rich” is nothing if not jet-setting, which gave an easy layup for product placement in the form of a major airline (deals like these happen all the time in studio films, like a recent Turkish Airlines partnership on “Batman v. Superman”).

But no one bit, producers Jacobson and Simpson said, specifically a natural partner in Singapore Airlines.

“We were shocked,” admitted Jacobson, whose Color Force Productions partner Simpson was equally gobsmacked.

“It was going to be an ad for Singapore Airlines!” Simpson said. “But they were not sure the movie would represent the airline and their customer in a good light. People want what Richard Curtis’ movies (“Love, Actually,” “Notting Hill”) do for England — they make you want to visit the country.”

They wound up creating a fictional airline, Pacific Asean Airlines.

Chu said, “People didn’t have faith in this movie. They didn’t know what this movie was. It seems obvious now, but when we were making it, everyone thought it was a little movie and they were very suspicious about what we were trying to do.”

Singapore Airlines did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Fashion Fears 

Designers were also reluctant to put their necks on the block, knowing how quickly trends change and how intensely competitive the world of “Crazy Rich Asians” is.

“We didn’t get the support of all designers — we were two years out from getting the movie out so they were like, ‘We have nothing to sell here; we don’t know where fashion is in two years,’” Chu explained.

Also Read: How ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Director Reappropriated a Racial Slur With a Coldplay Song

“You can’t buy the dress on [character] Astrid Leong right now; it was on sale last year,” Simpson added.

Kwan told TheWrap, “To give authenticity to the production while staying on budget, I worked overtime to connect our costume designer Mary Vogt to designers and artisans I personally know that are favored by real ‘crazy rich Asians.’ Designers you wouldn’t even find in the fashion magazines because they cater exclusively to the 0.1 percent crowd and prize discretion over publicity. These include the jeweler Carnet by Michelle Ong, who lent us museum-quality jewels valued in the millions, and accessories designer Neil Felipp, who lent us some of his iconic, award-winning evening purses.”

He added, “So our actresses really looked like a million bucks because they were literally wearing millions of dollars worth of jewels and accessories.”

Jacobson credits Vogt with saving the day and creating a wardrobe for the 1 percent using local designers and vintage finds.

“She, basically, just had to deal. She bought it, found it, shopped it, shipped it,” Jacobson said.

Limited Wide Shots

A money saver (which sounds like it’s out of the Blumhouse playbook) was simply limiting wide shots.

“As a group, we decided where we wanted to throw our money,” said Chu. “In regards to wide shots, we thought, ‘What are the ones we could probably do without?’”

Old-Fashioned Movie Magic

Chu told TheWrap that working with experienced crew members who wouldn’t “take no for an answer” was an important part of making the movie work on a low budget.

“We needed experienced people who would know how to do it all strategically and budget-friendly, and we needed people who are passionate and loving of the subject matter so that they would give it their all,” Chu said.

Chu tapped Coates, a production designer who has worked on films like “Fifty Shades Darker” and “The Proposal,” to spin gold from dust — literally.

“It was such a labor of love and it was shockingly challenging to do — even the weather conditions alone,” Coates said. “It rained five out of every seven days, and Malaysia is the third highest lightning strike country in the world. Every set had to be earthed with lightning rods!”

In Kwan’s novel, Singapore society is largely unaware of the existence of Tyersall Park — a monolithic colonial mansion that sits on the grounds of the Eastern equivalent of Central Park. Coates wound up transforming a crumbling Malaysian government building, infested with feral dogs and bats, and littered with monkey poop, into a generations-old manor.

Adding the conservatory to the property that was basically constructed from scratch — Coates says there is basically just brick there — allowed the crew to “Gatsby it up.”

Also Read: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Film Review: Constance Wu Stands Out in Culturally Rich Rom-Com

Kwan also said Coates “was able to borrow some of the rarest antiques from shops all over Singapore and Malaysia to decorate the set of Tyersall Park.”

Coates explained that all the jewelry stores in Singapore and Malaysia are in the malls, hence not a very glamorous exterior shot for a film that is supposed to boast the unachievable for — let’s just be frank — us poor people.

“When we were scouting for Astrid’s penthouse, we were walking into the St. Regis in Kuala Lumpur. They have a bar and we walked in, and I said, ‘It’s a jewelry store!’ Everyone looked at me like I was off my rocker. We built jewelry cases and we made them empty their wine cellar where we made velvet shelves — and it quickly became a private client area for their jewelry.”

Perhaps the most impressive, elaborate location the team worked with was the Gardens by the Bay, a location that was not secured until two weeks before filming began. However, the location was completely booked in exactly the place they wanted to shoot — but they found common ground when the crew agreed to break down every night and reassemble the set whenever it was free to use.

“We wanted a place for the reception that looked like mere mortals could not have arranged,” Coates said. “You are upping the visual ante throughout the whole movie. It took four months to get the Gardens by the Bay on board. They, basically, had planned all their festivities including a light show and fireworks in the exact spot where we wanted our reception.”

He added, “We worked with the Malaysian and Singapore governments to get access to these places — there was no way we could afford them otherwise.”

One of those places, of course, involved the Marina Bay Sands — in particular, the world famous rooftop with the stunning infinity pool that has graced the covers of countless travel magazines and the pages of bloggers.

“The rooftop actually has two restaurants that are separately leased and not run by the hotel, so we had to get them on board. We had help from the Marina Bay Sands because they knew this would be great for them,” said Coates. “Of course, we had to pay the location fee because in terms of the nightclub and restaurant, we were taking over their business.”

All in all, the crew shot for eight weeks — five weeks in Kuala Lumpur, two in Singapore for exteriors… and all the New York scenes were also shot in Singapore.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Opens to $5 Million Wednesday at Box Office

How ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Director Reappropriated a Racial Slur With a Coldplay Song

Don’t Be Surprised If ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Blows Away Box Office Expectations