To compose the cast of "Crazy Rich Asians," the filmmakers sent feelers across five continents, attended numerous Skype auditions, and read chemistry-between an audition and a funny lunch-to see if the actors were compatible were. They looked at stand-up comedians and TV stars, models and musicians and even announced an open call in the social media. At the end of the film there were Asian screen heroes (Michelle Yeoh), breakout stars (Awkwafina), newcomers (Henry Golding) and YouTube discoveries (Cheryl Koh). Here six actors – and a singer – remind of the casting process.
How much did director Jon M. Chu want Constance Wu Rachel to play the romantic lead role? Bad enough to drive the film back four months to shoot the fourth season of their ABC series "Fresh Off the Boat". Although Ms. Wu had largely secured the role, she was called in to do chemistry read and screen tests with all sorts of nicks. To get into her psyche, the actress has asked every personal questions. Have you ever broken your heart? When was the last time you were really ashamed? "Actor love to talk about her feelings," she said. Mr. Golding left with the role, but it was not because the pool was flat. "People say it's so hard to find great Asian American actors, but that's not it," she said. "I think it's offensive to the men I tested with, to the men I went to drama school with, the men I did Off Off Broadway with, maybe they do not have the biggest agents, because agents do not take them because they do not have roles, but that does not mean they do not exist. "
Mr. Golding initially suspected something when he noticed Mr. Chu following him on Instagram. It turned out that Mr. Chu had heard about this handsome tour operator in Malaysia and dug up as much as he could find. After seeing his YouTube videos and skyping with him, Mr. Chu beckoned Mr. Golding, who had never played a role, with Ms. Wu for a Los Angeles chemistry lecture. "I was just expecting Jon and Constance and maybe a cameraman," he said. "I come into the room and there are 15 people: executive producers, casting people, Warner Bros. heads." The audition went well and two weeks later Mr. Golding was recalled to Los Angeles to do a screen test. The only hiccup: He was in the middle of his honeymoon in South Africa. He thought, "My wife will kill me." But she understood perfectly. She knew that this was a chance of a million.
The filmmakers said Michelle Yeoh will always be Eleanor, Nick's mother, and Rachel's archenemy, "I guess if you've been in the business long enough, sometimes you have the privilege of not having to audition." However, she watched the casting process remotely, including Mr. Chu's open-call video. "I think it was really important that he did that, and that producers think the cast is out of the She also admired the filmmakers for being the role of Rachel, who, she said, was a sacrilege. "You do not know what your audience wants until it's out there." she added, "When we played Crouching Tiger, everyone said that you had to dub this movie in English because Americans would not read subtitles. But we have proved that they are wrong.
[ Read more about how the filmmakers played the roles for "Crazy Rich Asians" ]
The New York actress ("Ocean & # 39; s 8 ") and rapper (" My Vag ") were asked to read the role of Peik Lin, Rachel's best friend." I'm definitely not Astrid, "she admitted, referring to the beauty At the time, Awkwafina (real name: Nora Lum) was something of a newcomer in acting (her only other film credit was a bit of part in "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising"), and Mr. Chu was still She worked on developing her character, which changed considerably from book to film. "I had never really auditioned with an Asian director," she said, "so it was very intense. It just feels different. In a way, you feel closer. "As for the audition," I did not find it terrible, which is always a great feeling. She added, "I never really felt like a sort of Asian-American generation until I saw this cast. They have icons like Ken Jeong, they have Ronny Chieng from "The Daily Show". Then it feels like you are part of this amazing community within the industry.
Her online casting was a kind of mood, as the then 21-year-old student from the University of Southern California, Ms. Koh, had never played before, but her cover of pop songs on YouTube had collected hundreds of thousands of hits in her bedroom in Los Angeles, her video foreplay includes one and a half minutes of Ms. Koh, who was born and raised in Malaysia, who read the lines with a classmate, and about 15 seconds of her singing Jessie J's "Mamma Knows Best" a cappella. "I just threw it in," she said, Ms. Koh uploaded the video in February 2017 and waited, waiting a year later, after almost taking the video – "I was pretty ashamed" – she got a call from Warner Bros. You can hear her Mandarin and English version of the Beatles song "Money" while the opening credits are playing, and during the credits, Awkwafina adds her rap verses to the mix.
Ge mma Chan
Ms. Chan was called from the UK to Los Angeles to audition for the role of Astrid, Nick's glamorous cousin. "There were many times, maybe less now, where I would be called, and the character's race was very much part of the story," she said. "Or I'd say you have a nice English accent, but can you sound a bit more Asian, or someone's idea of Asians, and I really knew that would not happen with this movie." The experience went well beyond the casting Process out. "It showed me how many times I was the only person of color, and certainly the only Asian actor, on a movie or TV set, it was wonderful to look around and see people from all over the world."
Jimmy O. Yang
Early on, Mr. Yang ("Silicon Valley") thought he could take on the role of Nick until his manager made him as gentle as possible. "He says," Jimmy, I do not know how to tell you that, but they are looking for a handsome guy for the lead role, "he said, later, undeterred, Mr. Yang read for Colin's role, Nick's equally good-looking Friend, About a month after the audition, Mr. Yang's manager embarrassed him that Colin's role had gone to someone else, but would he be interested in playing everything to Bernard, the spoiled, good-natured billionaire in Versace? "I was like, dude, yes! "he said." Bernard is the most disgusting, filthiest, throwing his money around the guy, just the worst kind of person. It's simply fun. "