There have certainly been quite a few notable Asian-centric productions in Hollywood movies and television dramas over the years (Memoirs of a Geisha, Kim’s Convenience and the upcoming Mulan remake, to name a few), but an entirely Asian cast is something of a rarity in the Western entertainment scene.
That’s why Crazy Rich Asians is arguably one of the most important films to be released this year — it’s the first major Hollywood flick to be fronted by an all-Asian cast since The Joy Luck Club in 1993 (a whopping 25 years have since passed!).
In the lead-up to the romcom’s release yesterday in the US, the key actors from the film were busy with press interviews, emphasising how important representation is in today’s entertainment business. And to celebrate that, we’ve compiled some of the most moving and inspiring quotes from the cast during their press tours.
“To have real representation [in movies] means you have a character that has hopes and dreams. And in this [movie], that’s what [the actors] have. It’s so diverse but at the same time, it’s got heart. It’s about love and family.” — Michelle Yeoh on the Today show.
“I feel so lucky and grateful...when my television show Fresh Off The Boat was the first network TV show in over 20 years to feature an all Asian-American story...and [now that I’m] meeting more people and hearing their stories, and why it’s important to them to see their stories reflected on screens, it’s been a really meaningful process.” — Constance Wu on the Today show.
“I hope [this movie’s] the beginning of something. I hope it opens doors for other stories to be told [as well as] diversity in storytelling. I think Hollywood’s finally waking up, realising that people want to see inclusivity.” — Gemma Chan on Entertainment Tonight.
“[This movie’s] about love. It’s bringing back those family values of love, the 'gauntlet' of family trying to separate love. It’s about a boy who loves a girl.” — Henry Golding in The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
“I feel very blessed to be part of this. The first [movie with an Asian cast that I worked on] was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and then Memoirs of a Geisha. But I think, this time, it’s different because the moment seems to have come for us with [all these] contemporary voices [from the actors] from around the world and [they’re] very proud of where they come from. It was a joy to watch them in action.” — Michelle Yeoh on Build Series
“I grew up in Richmond, Virginia…in a very white area and I’m sure in terms of institutional bias...of course that affected [me] but Richmond is also a really friendly and polite place so I never got any blatant bullying. Which I think made me internalise any feelings I had, and like [lead to] self-blame.
It’s so ‘fun’ to blame yourself. That’s what I did in Hollywood too; if I didn’t get a part, I never thought [it was] because I was Asian. I was like, ‘Well I’m not pretty enough or not a good enough actor.’” — Constance Wu on Build Series
“Representation matters because I didn’t have a lot growing up. The first time I saw Margaret Cho on Comedy Central, I was seven years old and I remembered it so vividly. It was such an impactful moment for me because I saw that [representation] was possible. You don’t see how much of a privilege it is until you see it in front of your eyes.” — Awkwafina on Build Series
“I looked around me and got the inspiration from the women I see around us every day. They are women who are independent, smart, and not afraid to dream and do great things because they can. I think it’s time that we have representation because look around us, we are a very diverse culture...we’re all part of the fabric of this society in America.” — Michelle Yeoh on Build Series
Crazy Rich Asians will be released on 22 August 2018 in Singapore.
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