Crazy Rich Asians director, Jon M. Chu, took to Twitter to respond to Brenda Song’s claim she couldn’t audition for the hit movie because she was “not Asian enough.”
31-year-old Song said she couldn’t try out for a part in the successful film because of her image, a claim Chu has since denied on social media.
Director denies Song’s claim, calls it ‘gross’
After Song’s interview with Teen Vogue in Nov. 2019 where she commented on Crazy Rich Asians, Chu responded on Twitter shutting down the idea made by the actress that she had been prevented from auditioning.
“??Nope,” the filmmaker tweeted after one of his followers shared Song’s interview where she made the claim, according to E! News.
“I love @BrendaSong and that sucks if anything of that nature was ever communicated. It’s gross actually,” he wrote. “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.”
Song, a Disney Channel star, played London Tipton on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. She currently stars in Hulu’s newly released original series, Dollface, that premiered on Nov. 15, 2019.
In a subsequent tweet, Chu emphasized his previous statement.
“Would these words ever come out of my mouth?” he tweeted. “Nope. Makes no sense. 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!”
The director, 40, also mentioned an open casting call held for the movie.
“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.”
Song: ‘It broke my heart’
In her interview with Teen Vogue, Song said she liked Kevin Kwan’s book, Crazy Rich Asians, and wanted to have a chance at a part in the film adaptation. She recalled speaking with her managers about a possible meeting or audition. When they got back to Song, they said they had spoken with those related to the film who had sent the message that she wasn’t right for a role in the movie.
“Their reasoning behind that, what they said was that my image was basically not Asian enough, in not so many words,” Song said. “It broke my heart. 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?’ I was like, ‘Where do I fit?’”
After that, the actress took time off to travel.
“I got myself together and said, ‘Brenda, there is only one you, and you can’t change who you are. You can’t change your past,’” she recalled. “I am so grateful for every job that I’ve done. All I can do is continue to put good auditions out there, do the best that I can—that’s all I can ask for.”
Based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Kwan, the movie with an all-Asian cast hit theaters in Aug. 2018, to positive reviews from both fans and critics. According to Box Office Mojo, Crazy Rich Asians made more than $238 million in worldwide sales. Following the success of the film, there’s at least one sequel on the way.
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