Cul­tures clash­ing in rom-com

Lav­ish movie set in Sin­ga­pore

Maroochy Weekly - - LIFE | COMMUNITY DIARY - Seanna Cronin

LIFT­ING the lid on the lives of Asia’s rich and fa­mous,

Crazy Rich Asians is one of the most highly-an­tic­i­pated ro­man­tic come­dies of the year.

Based on Kevin Kwan’s best-sell­ing novel of the same name, the film tells the story of New Yorker Rachel Chu, who strug­gles to find ac­cep­tance af­ter dis­cov­er­ing her boyfriend’s fam­ily are the wealth­i­est de­vel­op­ers in Sin­ga­pore.

Ac­tor Con­stance Wu talks about bring­ing her char­ac­ter to life and work­ing with the likes of Michelle Yeoh and Awk­wa­fina.

Q: Had you read the novel be­fore be­gin­ning work on the film?

A: A few years ago, an agent told me to read the book be­cause it was so pop­u­lar that it was in­evitable that it would be adapted into a film. A few years later, I learned that (di­rec­tor) Jon M Chu and (pro­ducer) Nina Ja­cob­son were go­ing to make the film. I had a meet­ing with them about it, but I couldn’t do the film be­cause I was film­ing (the TV se­ries) Fresh off the

Boat for most of the year. A short time later, I re­con­sid­ered, think­ing that if I don’t ex­press what this film means to me, I am go­ing to re­gret it. So, I emailed Jon: ‘Hey, I un­der­stand that the tim­ing doesn’t work out, but I want you to know that if you wait for me, I will put my en­tire heart into this project be­cause it means so much to me’. I didn’t think any­thing would come of it, but then they waited for me (laughs).

Q: How did you ap­proach the char­ac­ter?

A: From the be­gin­ning, my goal was to bring as much depth as pos­si­ble to Rachel. I do that with ev­ery role, but it par­tic­u­larly mat­ters to me with Asian-Amer­i­can char­ac­ters. We didn’t want Rachel, or the film it­self, to be just fun and cute. We had to do some real work to make sure it also had guts and emo­tion and heart. I spent a lot of time ex­plor­ing those as­pects of Rachel.

I also ap­pre­ci­ated how Rachel is the por­tal into the story and its world, for the au­di­ence. Her mum was a wait­ress and a sin­gle mother. Ev­ery­thing that Rachel has was earned through hard work, and she’s re­mained hum­ble and ap­pre­cia­tive.

Q: What does Henry Gold­ing, a new­comer, bring to the role of Nick?

A: Henry was ter­rific. The se­cond he walked on the set, he was Nick. Henry kind of just had to be him­self be­cause, like Nick, he is so charm­ing and lov­able that peo­ple will fall in love with him. I love Henry’s nat­u­ral charm and dash­ing Bri­tish ac­cent. I also love that while he grew up in Eng­land, he made the choice to live in Sin­ga­pore where our story is set. So, he re­ally un­der­stands that cul­ture.

Q: What was it like to work opposite Michelle Yeoh, who plays Nick’s judge­men­tal mother Eleanor?

A: Michelle did not dis­ap­point at all. She em­bod­ies dig­nity, re­spect, grace and pro­fes­sion­al­ism. I re­ally en­joyed work­ing with her. I com­pare work­ing with Michelle to a ten­nis player be­ing coached by Roger Fed­erer. What Michelle of­fers im­pacts you in such a way that it re­ally im­proves your work.


BIG LAUGHS: Michelle Yeoh, Henry Gold­ing and Con­stance Wu in a scene from Crazy Rich Asians.

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