Daniel Dae Kim Thinks Crazy Rich Asians’ Success Actually Led To Some Problems For Asians Trying To Make Films

Daniel Dae Kim in Stowaway and Henry Golding in Crazy Rich Asians, pictured side-by-side.
(Image credit: Stowaway Production Inc./Warner Bros.)

Success has its ups and downs, especially when centered around a cultural phenomenon like the film adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians. Though director Jon M. Chu’s rom-com blockbuster opened doors for more films focused on stories involving Asian leads, there was a drawback to the attention those sorts of projects were receiving.

It’s a double edged sword that’s been highlighted by actor Daniel Dae Kim during a panel discussion at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Speaking about how the Warner Bros. smash hit caused problems for Asians trying to make films, NBC News picked up on these key comments made by Kim: 

One of the collateral damage effects of Crazy Rich Asians was that everyone wanted to do more Asian projects as long as they were just Crazy Rich Asians. If you had a project that spoke to something other than people being super rich and super wealthy and super happy, then they weren’t interested. Not only did we have difficulty trying to find other portrayals of Asian Americans, but it also had the additional burden of having to represent all Asians.

Daniel Dae Kim mentions a valid concern when it comes to Asian representation on screen, which invites an interesting parallel in the post-Crazy Rich Asians landscape. The recent arrival of the 2023 Oscar nominations saw the most nods going to Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All At Once, which is definitely not a film that meets the criteria of “super rich, super wealthy, and super happy.” 

While that project’s success could be seen as helping turn the tide for Asian-centric movies, it should also be noted that the Michelle Yeoh-led film comes from indie studio A24. So major studios are still on notice when it comes to the matter. 

As both a Crazy Rich Asians sequel and spinoff are currently developing at Warner Bros., the franchise looks to be getting back on its feet. Though in light of Daniel Dae Kim’s sentiments above, the amount of time it’s taken those projects to progress also feels like a problematic development. With the very franchise that increased interest in more “Asian projects” finding itself delayed, it makes for an even more troubling picture. 

Kim’s role in Avatar: The Last Airbender’s reboot showcases another touchstone of multi-ethnic diversity in fiction resurging in its prospects. That Netflix series is hotly anticipated, but also could set up as similar trap to the Crazy Rich Asians saga has laid down. Success for Asian talent is still a favorable outcome, but would be seen as even more successful if the projects available developed as focused on diversity of story. 

At the moment, Daniel Dae Kim is set to be seen next in the Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action series. That project is still awaiting an official release date, so fans will have to keep their ears open for future developments. Meanwhile, Crazy Rich Asians is currently streaming for those with an HBO Max subscription

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.