Jon M. Chu Reflects On Gold House, Support From Henry Golding And The Success Of Crazy Rich Asians

When Crazy Rich Asians became a box office hit in the summer of 2018, it not only showed that romantic comedies could be viable in theaters again, it marked a major moment for Asian talent in major movies. Since then, successful movies such as Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Everything Everywhere All At Once have proved again that Jon M. Chu’s movie has contributed to a Hollywood movement where more authentic Asian stories than ever are getting the spotlight. The director reflected on Crazy Rich Asians as this exciting trend continues. 

Jon M. Chu spoke exclusively with CinemaBlend’s own Law Sharma about Asian representation within film; he recalled the role Gold House, a nonprofit collective of Asian and Pacific Islanders, had in supporting Crazy Rich Asians. In his words: 

I'll never forget when we first started having those conversations we were at my parents' restaurant. They have a Chinese restaurant in the Bay Area and we all were sitting down there. Bing [Chen] who started Gold House and we had people from Wall Street, people from Silicon Valley, people from LA and people from the studios, all Asian, trying to figure out how we can all support this movie that's about to come out, knowing the opportunity that we had in front of us of an all Asian cast from Asians around the world, in a rom-com when rom-coms weren't the hottest thing at that moment especially in theaters.

Ahead of Crazy Rich Asians making A-list stars out of actors like Henry Golding, Awkwafina and Gemma Chan, Chu remembered not knowing how massive the film would be. He met with members in Gold House about supporting the film within their community. Chu continued: 

Just thinking of that day and thinking of how impossible it felt, but what we were all gonna try and all these communities coming together. And then to see last week, everyone there and celebrating movies, like Everything Everywhere All At Once. That was mind blowing to me. Everyone was so supportive and loving – to see Henry Golding there to see Jimmy O. Yang, knowing Awkwafina is shooting another movie and Michelle Yeoh of course, starring in all these movies. To see people like Simu Liu, it just showed that how fast it happened is incredible and that we still have a lot more to do. But, just knowing that that can happen in four or five years is insane.

In recent years, there’s certainly been an uptick of Asian talent in major films and behind the scenes, which includes Pixar’s Turning Red and Netflix’s romantic comedies The Half Of It and the All The Boys trilogy. Chu is one of the few major Asian directors, who had made Step Up and the Now You See Me movies ahead of deciding to adapt Crazy Rich Asians. While speaking to CinemaBlend (also in the video above), the filmmaker also said this about his journey into becoming so successful himself: 

A lot of organizations were there before [Gold House] and they helped. They gave me scholarships. They gave me connections. Even Project Involve gave me mentors and people to see. And so I'm a product of those organizations. Having made movies in the business didn't know my place in the community yet. And so, I needed people in the community to tell me that on Twitter or in articles or in these organizations – that there was an opportunity for me to be a part of this if I chose to be. So I think all those organizations are more important than ever, but they were always important. There is a reason why this generation of creatives are here, without that support, we couldn't have even gotten to this step. And so they’ll become stronger and more important, especially as we all sort of Voltron together. And it's not just in entertainment, it's in news. It's in journalism, it's in so many things, politics, tech, sports, so that's what's fun is that all the rise is happening and we're all even if we're not in the same business, sort of being inspired by each other.

Last summer, Jon M. Chu released In The Heights, which highlighted the Latin community, and coming up, he has numerous projects in the works, including the two Wicked movies starring Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande. During the interview, Chu spoke about what’s going on with those movies, and we’re already pumped. 

Chu has also long been attached to the Crazy Rich Asians sequels, but he and the cast have been so busy with other opportunities it seems there hasn’t been the time to rush into it. It was recently announced that a spinoff centering on Gemma Chan and Harry Shum Jr’s characters is coming

We’ll continue to keep you posted on updates on upcoming movies here on CinemaBlend. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.