White dude gets the lead role in “Crazy Rich Asians”

Henry Golding, courtesy of Clarence Aw

Uh, yeah, sorry Asian dudes. But a White guy got the lead in Crazy Rich Asians. Yeah, I know, Kevin Kwan was hinting at an all-Asian cast. And I know that y’all were hoping for some respite after Scarlett Johannson got the role as an Asian woman and Matt Damon got to rock the Great Wall. But chill, guys. It’s a movie about rich Asian people in Asia, so there will probably be lots of opportunities for bit roles and extras who can play the busboys, maids, and concierge workers at those crazy, rich Asian hotels. Lots and lots of roles, most of which probably don’t even require speaking, and you only have to show your face for a few seconds in front of the camera! How easy is that!

On the plus side, after a year of giving Asian roles only to famous White people, Hollywood is giving opportunities to less famous White people too. It’s similar to how they gave Jennifer Lawrence an opportunity to play the non-White lead in The Hunger Games, and look how far she’s come! Maybe this new White guy will go just as far.

Also, the female lead is going to Constance Wu. Since she’ll be working opposite of a White guy, you won’t have to work hard to suspend disbelief after her public comments last year.

Sigh. It’s become harder and harder for me to take Hollywood seriously. It’s all like one big trillion-dollar joke.

18 thoughts on “White dude gets the lead role in “Crazy Rich Asians”

  1. Nick Young in the book is supposedly part English so the casting of a half white half Asian is accurate there. This does throw the “all-Asian cast” claim into question though.

  2. Hapa lives matter too! Guess we’ll have to wait and see how decent Asian portrayals are in the movie.

    I actually submitted myself for their online open call, or more accurately: publicity stunt. Doesn’t seem like Nick “Young” is actually all that interesting of a character and the other roles are more fun.

    As far the character is “part English in the book,” that would totally be reverse one-drop rule. And Alison Ng is also “part Chinese” by that standard…

  3. Don’t go see Hollywood movies, support torrenting their movies. Don’t take your kids to Universal Studios. Spread the word of how racist Hollywood is towards asians.

  4. Preach it, Kyrie! And boycott Disney. lol

    The Chinese in China won’t, so it don’t matter. Just do what’s best for your pocketbook and conscience.

  5. So what are we calling this now, “half-white washing?” I don’t know any rational informed American of Asian descent who willingly and sometimes, enthusiastically, supports an industry leading the driving force at erasing, marginalizing, vilifying, emasculating, fetishizing, and trivializing AAPIs..
    Thus, I will continue to call out this racist bullshit in real life. I will continue to support non-profits like http://www.kulturemedia.org. I will continue to support Asian indie media creators and native Asian alternatives. Most importantly, I will continue to boycott ALL Hollywood films until the message is received; maybe they never will.
    Why even legitimize these stories (whether you torrent or not) and their creators, when the profits and reviews of authentic, non-racist inclusive films contradict Hollywood’s assertion that Americans will not only believe AAPIs can something more than caricatures and racist stereotypes?

  6. @krobrah kai,

    CRA ≠ GitS in terms of whatever standards of whitewashing/yellowface/racebending we’re trying to discuss.

    For my money, this project is only ticket purchase worthy if the Asian American side and Singaporean side shows way more Asians in a positive light rather than just the male protagonist (hapa Henry GOLDING) and the female protagonist (Constance Wu) and promoting the AF/WM (Michelle Yoh’s character and husband).

    The current trend of hapas in Haolewood completely reminds me of that Australian movie “Rabbit Proof Fence” whereby any sort of white features and genes is considered higher caste and like the “Mestizos/Mestizas” of Latin-America and the Philippines where any European features are considered more desirable than indigenous populations. And it’s always the indigenous women with white men that’s shown as colonial conquests.

    This is another type of mental colonization that people of color and people of conscience need to reject and call out against.

  7. Technically not Whitewashing because a Eurasian actor took a (supposedly) Eurasian role. The question then is why the book the movie is based on featured a Eurasian male lead instead of an Asian one.

    Nevertheless, it is a fact that American society seems to have trouble accepting Asians or any non-White race unless they have significant White ancestry.

  8. Ouch! You had to hit me with that one! 🙂

    Well, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Welcome to Hong Kingstonism, Millennial edition…

  9. Michelle Yoeh also has a history of dating WMs, now with Constance Wu, Gemma Chan (who’s main talent is “reveals” all on HUMANS), and Henry Golding (hapa from WMAF)…

    Not looking good for “the community club” so far; and hard to separate the personal from the political for me and my parochial “tribalism” where it’s supposedly marketed to Asians/Asian-Americans with “all Asian cast”…

    So, wait for it to be solar movies? haha

  10. Yeah, John Chu and the studios done shoot themselves in the foot over the casting for this one; especially considering the whole point is to promote more AFAM romantic comedy and it’s going to be AFWM out the wazoo.

    If the fanboys on social media goes nuts over all kinds of BS reasons about casting for Marvel and DC projects, APIAs should expected to be no less outspoken about something that’s essentially erasure and neo-colonialism.


  11. I met Jon M. Chu’s father, Chef Chu. He struck me as a social climber based on his wall of photos of himself posing with famous people in his restaurant. He bragged about his son being the third best Taiwanese American director, after Ang Lee and Justin Lim, and then claimed that Crazy Rich Asians was going to be the next Asian American Joy Luck Club. He concluded that his son’s work was proof that Asians are moving up in America and have equal opportunity in the film industry.

    I don’t know how much of his father’s views reflect Jon Chu’s, but my guess is the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And so far, it doesn’t look good.

  12. Saw a sneak preview audience feedback cut of the movie which they forced people to sign NDAs for… and it’s “meh”

    What makes any of the studio people think somebody will post under their real names is beyond stupid…

    Anyhow, not much to discuss about except they probably won’t be able to make that China money on this… #SAD

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