Bestseller novel Crazy Rich Asians turned major motion picture began filming in Kuala Lumpur since April 2017. The novel basically centers around a naïve Economics Professor, Rachel from New York who only recently discovers that her fiancé, also a university Professor, is ridiculously rich with equally crazy family members when they travel to Singapore for a friend’s wedding. Visiting Singapore for the first time offers her a glimpse into the affluent lifestyles of the top 1% of the population.
The classic middle class Cinderella meets Prince Charming type of narrative did not quite capture my attention initially as I thought it wouldn’t offer much depth in terms of characters or storyline. However, the more I researched, I found that this novel candidly and cleverly discusses in a refreshing manner the differences and dynamics between the old rich and the nouveau rich as well as the generation gap between self-made and descendants of inherited wealth. Although it is a tale concerning only 1% of the highly privileged, yet like psychopaths, their effects can be far reaching than thought possible. This novel appeals to both the general public and retailers as it is in their best interest to study the quirks of insanely rich Asians who accounted for 70% of worldwide luxury goods consumption.
Coincidentally, it was the lead actress’s, Constance Wu’s (also starred in Fresh Off The Boat series) first time visiting both Malaysia and Singapore. Other casts from Malaysia are ex-Bond girl Dato Michelle Yeoh and the lead actor Henry Golding. Interestingly, it will also be Dato Michelle Yeoh’s first time playing a prospective monster-in-law from hell role. Despite that this movie allegedly claimed to only cast Asian actors, the choice of the lead actor was surprisingly questionable. Henry Golding is not exactly of full Asian parentage but rather a hapa, a term for children of mixed Asian and Caucasian parentage. A better fit would be to cast Aarif Rahman, a Malaysian Hong Konger. The handsome actor previously won best actor award for portraying Emperor Li Zhi in The Empress of China series.
Nevertheless, it should be fascinating to anticipate the outcome of the movie. Since the choice of the lead actor was a rather risky investment as it was his first major movie role and casting him kind of reinforces the white washing stereotype instead of working against it. We’ll see if this movie will be able to achieve a breakthrough in terms of commercial box office success. Sometimes miracles do happen when least expected! 😉