Why Crazy Rich Asians Is So Important For Visibility, According To Constance Wu

Constance Wu in Crazy Rich Asians
(Image credit: (Warner Bros.))

While romantic comedies have frequently been a sustainable crowd-pleaser, if Crazy Rich Asians makes it big at the box office, it will be an outlier in its genre and prove to Hollywood that there is a considerable audience rooting for Asian-American-centered stories. Before the movie hit theaters on August 15, Fresh off the Boat's Constance Wu, who stars in the film, penned a letter on Twitter explaining why its release is such a milestone for her as an actress and the Asian-American community. Just like how Fresh off the Boat was a one in a million opportunity for her to tell a story of an Asian-American family on network television, a first in over 20 years, so is Crazy Rich Asians. In her words:

Before CRA, I hadn't even done a tiny part in a studio film...I never dreamed I would get to star in one...because I had never seen that happen to someone that looked like me. CRA is changing that, just like FOTB did. CRA not only centers an Asian American story, it is also filled with a talented, dynamic, unique all-Asian cast.

This is a big moment for the industry, Constance Wu and the Crazy Rich Asians' cast and crew overall. In her sincere tweet, Wu also explained that before nabbing a leading role as the hilarious Jessica Huang on Fresh off the Boat, she was barely scraping by as an actress, working primarily as a waitress for 10 years. She had no idea she would be here, being not only offered one, but two opportunities that are making history for Asian representation in Hollywood. Directed by Jon M. Chu, Crazy Rich Asians, which is based on the same-named novel, has New Yorker Rachel Chu traveling to Singapore with her boyfriend, played by Henry Golding, to visit his incredibly affluent family. In the letter, Wu said Chu described the project as "a movement" instead of a movie because of the great strides it has in store for the Asian-Americans with its wide release. Putting Crazy Rich Asians on the big screen was so important to Chu and book author Kevin Kwan that they passed a massive offer from Netflix to allow it time in theaters.

In recent years, inclusion in Hollywood has been hot on everyone lips, but there is still a lot of work to be done, including with Asian-American talent. Just last month, Sandra Oh became the first Asian-American woman to be nominated for an Emmy for Leading Actress in a Drama. In her letter, Constance Wu cited a quote from director Ava DuVernay regarding the shortage of voices for people of color in Hollywood, to which she says, "What do I do, keep knocking on that door or build your own house?" Wu built on this idea with a call to action for the Asian-American community. In her words:

My dear Asian American friends, we are building our own damn houses. We got the tools, the ability and we definitely got the style. Just because others don't see it, doesn't mean we don't have it.

The box office success of Crazy Rich Asians when it is releases on August 15 is instrumental for it to make history. Considering that the Asian-American community has been waiting for Hollywood to release a movie like this for over 20 years, it will be interesting to see how Crazy Rich Asians does commercially.

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.