VANITY-FAIR

Crazy Rich Asians To Be Fast-Tracked To Film

Kevin’s Kwan’s novel, Crazy Rich Asians was released in 2013 and quickly became a best-seller. Dubbed the Asian version of Pride and Prejudice meet The Devil Wears Prada, the book follows the life of a successful professor named Rachel, who’s engaged to a down-to-earth professor, Nick Young, whom, unbeknownst to her, comes from a wealthy/snobbish Singapore-based family that comes with a lot of drama.

The book garnered strong reviews and was a bestseller, spawning sequels, the last due out in 2017. However, unlike similar bestsellers–Gone, Girl, Girl on the Train, The Devil Wears Prada, The Nanny Diaries–the book failed to be optioned by a Hollywood studio.

Come word today that the film rights were purchased by WB studios and the film version will be fast-tracked for release in 2018.

You may wonder why this is important.  The film version of the novel comes at a crucial time for the debate surrounding diversity and representation in Hollywood. Variety reports the USC 2014 study, citing that only 5% of speaking parts in film, television, and digital programming were played by Asian actors in all of 2014. The news comes in light of Alan Yang’s Emmy speech citing low Asian-inclusiveness, and controversial castings of Emma Stone in Aloha, and Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell.

The entire cast of characters in the book is Asian, including the American-Born Chinese protagonist, Rachel. Crazy Rich Asians is an opportunity for Hollywood to cast Asians in meaningful roles, and to cast an Asian male actor (Nick Young) as a romantic lead.  Moreover, the behind-the scene agents will also be Asian. The film will be directed by Jon M. Chu. The screenplay will be written by Adele Lim (Fox’s Lethal Weapons).

Read more about the author, Kevin Kwan and the inspiration for the book via Vanity Fair.