Mr. Malcolm’s List is the latest regency romance to dazzle fans of the genre. But there is a major actor who got away from wearing a corset and being part of some social season debauchery: Gemma Chan. The British actress has been really making a name for herself in recent years with roles in movies like Crazy Rich Asians and Raya and the Last Dragon, and while she originated a role, we finally know why she didn’t star in Mr. Malcolm’s List.
When Deadline announced Mr. Malcolm’s List casting back in 2019, Gemma Chan was named as the lead of the movie alongside Freida Pinto, the latter who did end up starring in the romance as Selena Dalton. However, Zawe Ashton ended up replacing Chan. When CinemaBlend spoke to the film’s director Emma Holly Jones, she said this:
Gemma Chan actually got to play the role of Julia Thistlewaite in a 10-minute short for Mr. Malcolm’s List, which much of the cast of the film shot first before the movie was greenlit to viral success. The viral short movie, which came out in 2019, starred Freida Pinto, Sope Dirisu, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and other actors, who all came back for the feature. However, Gemma Chan ended up filming Eternals around the same time and the role was reportedly given to Chan’s Crazy Rich Asians co-star Constance Wu before she dropped out as well and Zawe Ashton came in. Jones also said this:
Once viewing 2022 movie release, Mr. Malcolm’s List the movie and short certainly show that the movie had been sharply planned for sometime. And it’s interesting to see Gemma Chan in the role of Julia, bringing something different to the role than Zawe Ashton did. Check it out:
The movie features the rare, but ever growing inclusion in the regency genre, which actors Sope Dirisu and Freida Pinto particularly embraced with their characters. The release of the book-to-movie adaptation may come after the success of Bridgerton, but the short came out nearly two years before the first season.
Mr. Malcolm’s List has been praised by both critics and audiences alike. The movie is currently playing exclusively in theaters.
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