New comedy Crazy Rich Asians has become Hollywood’s latest sleeper hit (a film that over performs at the box office despite minimal promotion and a lack of ‘big name’ actors), and in the process has changed the perception of films that cast leads from minority nationalities. As Awkwafina (playing Goh Peik Lin) points out in our interview, it’s been 25 years since a Hollywood film with an all-Asian cast was released.
Directed by Wayne Wang, The Joy Luck Club (1993) was a huge hit with both critics and audiences, but there was very little follow up on the film’s success. However, plans for a Joy Luck sequel have been announced this year, and there are already talks of another Crazy Rich Asians film, even as the first iteration is still in cinemas.
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Ken Jeong and Awkwafina play father and daughter in the film. They are part of the nouveau-riche Goh family, who, despite their immense wealth, are dwarfed by the riches of the ‘old money’ Young family. As Jeong jokes, this discrepancy keeps his character ‘humble’ throughout.
Awkwafina, who earlier this year starred in Ocean’s 8, also explains how important location was within the film. “Singapore is a character in this movie,” she says “and that’s exactly where you go.”
Crazy Rich Asians is on general release in the UK from 14 September