"Crazy Rich Asians" is coming to Hollywood, and it’s making some history at the same time.
Photo via Warner Bros.
Based on the wildly popular 2013 book by Kevin Kwan, "Crazy Rich Asians" follows Rachel Chu (played by Constance Wu) and Nicky Young (Henry Golding), a young Asian-American couple in love. Unbeknownst to Rachel, the love of her life comes from Singapore's wealthiest family and is one of the country's most eligible bachelors. When Rachel agrees to meet Nick's family in Singapore, she’s thrown into a totally unexpected, wild, and ultimately hilarious new lifestyle. The novel was so popular that filmmakers quickly adapted it for the big screen.
Photo via Warner Bros.
Set to be released Aug. 17, 2018, "Crazy Rich Asians" is one of the very few Hollywood films to feature an all-East Asian cast.
There have been maybe handfuls of international and small-studio films to have predominantly Asian actors, but one of the last from a major studio with an entirely East Asian cast was "The Joy Luck Club" in 1993. The internet is understandably going wild.
You bet your sweet ass #CrazyRichAsians is historic. 🙌 We've waited 25 years since The Joy Luck Club to see a seco… https://t.co/jOwps3dlS4— Eugene Lee Yang (@Eugene Lee Yang)1524499163.0
#CrazyRichAsians is the kind of big, beautiful, vibrant rom-com Hollywood needs; the kind it hasn’t seen (or done w… https://t.co/VpDr5r5iXx— jen yamato (@jen yamato)1524552869.0
Just went to the premiere of #crazyrichasians. It was absolutely incredible. And hilarious. It’s going to make a fortune.— roxane gay (@roxane gay)1524547973.0
When is the last time you saw two Asian romantic leads on the poster for a major Hollywood motion picture?… https://t.co/jDabLx1cjU— Angry Asian Man (@Angry Asian Man)1524504512.0
In addition to the film being truly groundbreaking, it’s also debunking huge problematic myths and narratives about Asian culture. Here are four reasons I'll be lining up for a ticket and bucket of popcorn this August.
1. The movie completely debunks the myth that Asian men aren’t sexy.
Asian men have often be subjected to emasculating stereotypes, bearing the brunt of straight, cisgender male jokes on masculinity. They've been often overlooked and ignored in society’s standards of “heartthrob,” but Henry Golding is here to remind us all how false that narrative is.
I meannnn, look at him! *sips a glass of water* Image via Warner Bros.
In the trailer, Golding's character Nick Young is seen both shirtless and suited up, and in both cases, I'm sweating out of thirst. He looks confident, dashing, and secure in his masculinity and sexuality — a rare representation of Asian men that the film industry desperately needs more of.
Henry Golding will play Nick Young. Photo by Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images.
2. Instead of being hypersexualized, Rachel Chu is a nuanced, fleshed-out character who many people can relate to.
On the list of problematic Asian stereotypes (and trust me, it’s a long list) is the world’s obsession with minimizing Asian women to hypersexualized individuals that serve to satisfy the male gaze. Asian women are often positioned as plot devices without any real character development, lacking nuance and personality traits that white women have been able to experience more frequently on screen. But, it's clear that "Crazy Rich Asians" is flipping this idea on its head too.
Photo via Warner Bros.
Instead of depicting Rachel as hypersexual (or taking the opposite problematic route of depicting her as not enjoying sex or sensuality at all), "Crazy Rich Asians" does what has seemed impossible for many Hollywood filmmakers: It makes her a human.
Rachel is clumsy, awkward, adorable, smart, confident (at times), and terrified of her mother-in-law. She’s basically all of us. Most importantly, she gets to have depth that extends beyond limiting tropes.
3. The film showcases the diversity within East Asian culture.
Americans seem to have this insatiable appetite for consuming Asian culture without actually understanding the diversity of Asian culture. Nick Young, a Malaysian-British actor, plays a Singaporean bachelor. Constance Wu, a Taiwanese-American, plays a Chinese-American professor. Michelle Yoah, a Malaysian actress, was born to an ethnically Chinese family and plays a fierce Singaporean mom.
Contrary to pervasive beliefs, East Asian culture extends beyond the Chinese and Japanese cultures often shown on camera. Asian actors hail from all over the world, and it's important that films continue to highlight that diversity.
Michelle Yeoh will play Eleanor Young, Nick's mom. Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images.
4. In the sure-to-be-classic rom-com, Asians are living their absolute best lives.
"Meet the Parents." "Richie Rich." "She's All That." "Notting Hill." "Titanic." "The Holiday" — all of those are very different movies that depict white people partying, meeting parents, living ridiculously rich lives, and falling in love with one another. Some of those are realistic and some are not, as the world of art should be. Unfortunately, people of color — particularly Asians — hardly ever have gotten to live these carefree lives on screen.
Photo from Warner Bros.
By showing Asians as living fun, silly, comedic lives, we humanize characters that might otherwise serve as plot devices in predominately white films. We get to see Asian characters as what they are: Humans who have full, meaningful lives.
"Crazy Rich Asians" is already stealing our collective hearts. If this trailer is any indication of what can be expected from the film, American moviegoers are in for a treat.