Crazy Rich Asians’ Director Responds To Writer Departure

Crazy Rich Asians poster

Crazy Rich Asians was one of those movies that seemed destined for a sequel considering its box office success, so it was little surprise when the follow-up was announced. However, that sequel has now hit something of a delay following the departure of co-writer Adele Lim after it was revealed that she was being paid significantly less to pen the sequel than her co-writer Peter Chiarelli.

Now Jon M. Chu, who directed Crazy Rich Asians, and is on board to helm the two planned sequels, has spoken out on Kim's decision to leave the movie. Chu says he supports Lim's decision, though he admits that pay negotiations in Hollywood are always a messy business.

For those of you who are asking, you bet your ass I stand with Adele! I believed in her before we ever shot the movie and believe in her beyond. As many of you can imagine, negotiations are tough and more often than not messy -- no matter who you are in this industry. The studio always comes in at a low offer and the talent always comes in at a high one then everyone enters the process knowing there’ll be lots of back and forth to find where we meet.

According to the initial report, when Adele Lim originally decided to leave the project, other writers were sought, but in the end, the studio came back to Lim with a new offer that was closer to parity with Peter Chiarelli. Jon M. Chu says in his statement posted to Twitter that he was part of the group that put together the second deal, in hopes of getting Lim to return, but she rejected the offer.

In the end, the director says that he is proud of the way that Adele Lim was willing to stand up for her own value. While he's sad to lose her as part of the team making the movie, he understands and supports her decision as he believes that seeing pay parity for women and people of color is important.

These things happen in negotiations, and I’m proud that she was able to stand up for her own measure of worth and walk away when she felt like she was being undervalued. I have experienced this several times in my years of making movies trying to keep a creative team together on budgets both big and small. It’s always heartbreaking and never fun.

While specific numbers aren't known, reports are that Peter Chiarelli was being offered $800,000 or more, while Adele Lim's offer was more like $110,000. While that difference is certainly significant, the studio has said that is all due to the previous experience of the two writers.

You can read John M. Chu's comments in their entirety below.

No release dates have been set for the two Crazy Rich Asians sequels, and it seems likely that there will be no rush. We'll have to wait and see if anybody else is brought on board to help pen the script. Once the story is locked in, we'll likely a release date set and things moving forward quickly.

Adele Lim's career is going to be fine. She's written the script for Reya and the Last Dragon Disney's animated feature is set for 2020.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.