Today in bad but unsurprising revelations:Crazy Rich Asiansauthor Kevin Kwan was reportedly pressured by a film producer to make the book’s Chinese-American protagonist, Rachel Chu, a white woman instead.
Kwan detailed the experience, which happened before the book was even published, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“They wanted to change the heroine into a white girl,” he explained. “I was like, ‘Well, you’ve missed the point completely.’ I said, ‘No, thank you.’”
Hollywood whitewashing, of course, is egregious and nothing new. (Remember Scarlett Johansson inGhost in the Shell?Emma Stone inAloha?) In this particular case, making Rachel a white woman would effectively ruin the plot of the book, which in large part focuses on a Chinese-American woman’s experience of spending time in Asia.
It’s a good thing, then, that this bad idea did not come to pass. In the end, Constance Wu, who is Taiwanese-American, was cast as Rachel.
Crazy Rich Asianswill hit theaters on August 17, 2018.