Adele Lim, one of the screenwriters on “Crazy Rich Asians,” has left the sequel team over a pay disparity, according to a story out Wednesday.
Lim, a veteran TV writer who had not written for film before “Crazy Rich Asians,” last fall was offered a small fraction of the money that had been offered to her co-writer, veteran screenwriter Peter Chiarelli, according to the Hollywood Reporter. She didn’t make the deal.
After five months of looking for another Asian writer, the studio came back to Lim in February with a higher offer, closer to her co-writer’s, but she passed on the job, sources told the trade. “The Proposal” scripter Chiarelli had even offered to split his fee with her, THR said.
“Pete has been nothing but incredibly gracious, but what I make shouldn’t be dependent on the generosity of the white-guy writer,” Lim told THR. “If I couldn’t get pay equity after ‘CRA,’ I can’t imagine what it would be like for anyone else, given that the standard for how much you’re worth is having established quotes from previous movies.”
“Crazy Rich Asians” made nearly $240 million worldwide on a budget of $30 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
Lim, who was hired by director Jon Chu, joined “CRA” after Chiarelli had already penned what Lim told The Times last year was “a great script” based on author Kevin Kwan’s book.
“But Jon, to his credit, knew that he had a female protagonist and he wanted a female point of view. When I came on, we basically talked about how I grew up in this culture,” said Lim, who grew up in Malaysia and is of Chinese descent.
“There are so many tiny nuances in the book,” she added. “For Jon and I to be able to go into our collective childhood histories and find that common ground between our experiences growing up and the character’s experiences in that book .… You want it to come from an authentic perspective.”
Chu had wanted to keep the “Crazy Rich Asians” creative team together for its sequels. Kwan’s trilogy also includes the books “China Rich Girlfriend” and “Rich People Problems.”
Lim, the writer on Disney’s animated feature “Raya and the Last Dragon,” starring Awkwafina as the dragon, was not available Wednesday for comment. A rep for Chiarelli did not respond to a request for comment.