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Brenda Song is ‘not Asian enough’? ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ director denies her claim

Jon M. Chu
Jon M. Chu, director of the 2018 hit “Crazy Rich Asians.”
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

“Not Asian enough”? Not true, says Jon M. Chu.

The director of 2018’s hit “Crazy Rich Asians” is disputing actress Brenda Song’s claim that she wasn’t considered for a role in the romantic comedy because people on the film thought she was “not Asian enough.”

In Twitter posts Wednesday, Chu responded to a handful of stories that reported Song’s allegation.

"[W]ould these words ever come out of my mouth? Nope makes no sense,” he tweeted. “I feel horrible she thinks this is the reason. The fact is I love Brenda Song and am a fan. I didn’t need her to audition because I already knew who she was!”

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In another reply , Chu said, “I love @BrendaSong and that sucks if anything of that nature was ever communicated. It’s gross actually. The fact is, obviously I know who she is and didn’t need her to audition. I’m a fan of hers! Nothing more nothing less. Bums me out she thought it was anything but.”

In a candid interview with Teen Vogue published Wednesday, Song said she didn’t get to read for the historic rom-com, the first big studio movie in more than 25 years to star an all-Asian cast.

After asking her managers to schedule her a meeting or audition for the film, they returned with a no-go for the “Suite Life of Zack & Cody” actress; people from “Crazy Rich Asians” said she wasn’t right for the part.

“Their reasoning behind that, what they said was that my image was basically not Asian enough, in not so many words,” she told the outlet. “It broke my heart.”

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“I said, ‘This character is in her late to mid-20s, an Asian American, and I can’t even audition for it? I’ve auditioned for Caucasian roles my entire career, but this specific role, you’re not going to let me do it? You’re going to fault me for having worked my whole life?,’” Song said. “I was like, ‘Where do I fit?’”

On Thursday, Chu tweeted a 2018 article from Public Radio International about the film’s open audition call.

“One of my favorite memories of making #CrazyRichAsians was when we opened the auditions to anyone in the world with our open call,” Chu wrote. “We watched hundreds & hundreds of videos from very talented people from all around the world. Made us tear up many times.”

The rom-com, based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan, broke box-office records last year and was the first contemporary English-language Hollywood film with an all-Asian cast since “The Joy Luck Club” more than 25 years ago. At the time, “Crazy Rich Asians” was the highest-opening romantic comedy since 2015’s “Trainwreck.”


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