Crazy Rich Asians was a hot commodity as soon as it hit shelves but according to author, Kevin Kwan, not everyone who showed interest in in optioning the book for a film came with the right ideas.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Kwan reveals that one producer he met with, wanted him to re-imagine the role of main character, Rachel Chu, as Caucasian. Kwan told EW, “That was their strategy. They wanted to change the heroine into a white girl. I was like, ‘Well, you’ve missed the point completely.’ I said, ‘No, thank you.'”
During a book tour, Kwan said the reactions he received when he talked about the whitewashing controversy cemented the fact that the audience wanted something different. Kwan said, “You should’ve heard them scream. They were like, ‘Nooo!’ I remember one woman saying, ‘What makes these people think that all we want to do is see the same white actors or actresses on screen?’ To hear that reaction really confirmed for me what the audience wanted.”
Kwan was able to find producers that shared his vision on the book’s representation. Kwan said, “[Nina] felt it was really important to tell the story and to have this message and to have that representation out there.”
Thankfully, Kwan is still hopeful and believes that we are beginning to see change in terms of representation and whitewashing. He said, “I do think the tide is turning, and my personal experience as far as I’m concerned has always been a very positive one, from the very beginning. I had one of the top producers in Hollywood come to me wanting to make this movie and wanting to do it right, so I think the culture is shifting. They’re seeing the importance of this.”
Crazy Rich Asians is slated to hit theaters on August 17, 2018.
Source: Entertainment Weekly