"This movie will literally define how minorities are represented in the future."
Awkwafina has discussed being involved in Crazy Rich Asians and her thoughts on its importance.
“I remember being like, ‘Oh my god, I want to be in this movie, and if I’m not in it, I just want it to exist,’” said Awkwafina, who has been cast in the film.
She said that the film should eradicate Hollywood myths about casting Asians. “Movies are a gamble and people don’t want to take chances with money on people who don’t sell and in this case…the assumption [is] that Asian people don’t sell.”
Awkwafina AKA Nora Lum revealed that her views are also shared by producer Nina Jacobson. “I had a conversation with [producer] Nina Jacobson, and she said this movie will literally define how minorities are represented in the future.”
“There has not been a movie like this. It’s going to set some kind of precedent, and in a way, the world will be our focus group.”
Lum shared one recollection with the Crazy Rich Asians cast. “I would hang out with the cast and I remember this one night we were hanging out and I looked at everybody, Gemma [Chan], Sonoya [Mizuno], Henry [Golding], and I could see that we were all once ‘that Asian’ in a movie,” she said.
“And I also knew that we are all are not quite Asian and we’re not quite American or British or Australian. And I think that was kind of beautiful.”
Awkwafina also believes that political movements such as Black Lives Matter help to force Hollywood to reshape its outdated casting mould. “Any shift in Hollywood is provoked by a political disruption,” Lum said.“A political shift told people that it’s not okay to cast white actors as Asian people.
“It’s not okay to say racist things in major Hollywood movies, to make fun of Asian people. And that opened up the field: cast Asian American actors in Asian American roles, to let them tell their own stories.”
In related news, Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding has shot down claims that he’s “not Asian enough” to have been cast in the film.