Crazy Rich Asians

Published: 5.24.2018
Level 4   |   Time: 3:02
Accent: American
Newsy (4.25.2018)

'Crazy Rich Asians' is working to diversify Hollywood.


triangle Directions

  1. REVIEW the vocabulary / background.
  2. WATCH the video.
  3. ANSWER the questions.
  4. CHECK your answers. (Show Answers)

triangle Vocabulary

  • contemporary [adj] - recent, new, now
  • insanely [adv] - very (stronger)
  • big deal [exp] - important
  • cast [n] - group of actors
  • referring [exp] - talking about
  • major [adj] - big, important
  • lead [n] - main actor/actress
  • colored with [exp] - detailed artistically
  • plays [v] - acts as
  • spinoff [n] - side story
  • explored [v] - tested, tried
  • identity-wise [exp] - in the category of identity (how you define yourself)
  • cinema [n] - movies/t.v.
  • sort of [exp] - kind of, similar to, a type of
  • typecast [v] - given a role as
  • sidekick [n] - secondary actors; not main
  • bit role [n] - small role
  • minority [n] - smaller ethnic groups
  • largely [adv] - mostly
  • underrepresented [adj] - smaller percentage than real life
  • big screen [exp] - movies
  • fare [v] - do, measure of success
  • notable [adj] - important
  • caricatures [n] - making fun of a characteristic of a person
  • portrayal [n] - representation
  • exaggerated [adj] - stronger than reality
  • backlash [n] - protest, negative response
  • whitewash [v] - change everything to white actors
  • initial [adj] - at the beginning
  • diversity [n] - differences
  • period piece [n] - film from long ago
  • dated [adj] - old
  • differentiate [v] - to show differences

triangle Questions

  1. What type of story is “Crazy Rich Asians”?
    contemporary love story
    contemporary load story
    counterculture love lory
    contemporary history

  2. How long has it been since a Hollywood movie featured an all-Asian cast?
    About 55 years
    About 5 years
    About 25 years
    About 35 years

  3. Which movie in the past had a contemporary Asian-American female lead?
    “The Joy Buck Love"
    “The Joy Luck Club."
    “The Boy Luck Club."
    “The Joy Book Club."

  4. What typecasting have Asian-Americans been subject to?
    sidekick or bit roles
    high kicks or bit roles
    sidepicks or bit rolls
    sidekick or bit poles

  5. Who have been largely underrepresented on the big screen?
    Minorities (and especially Asians)
    Minorities (and especially African-Americans)

  6. What did a producer want to do to Kevin Kwan's book?
    Make it into a movie
    Wash it
    Buy it
    Whitewash it

  7. What is something that makes the film special? (Check all that apply)
    All-Asian cast
    Representation of Asian people
    Represetation of the rich

  8. What is different about this film in particular?
    It's not from this time period.
    It's not about dating.
    It's about modern Asian people.
    It's about people who grew up in Asia.

  9. What does the film say about people groups?
    Asians and Asian Americans are different.
    Asians and White Americans are different.
    White Americans and Asian Americans are different.
    All people are the same.

triangle Discussion

  1. Crazy Rich Asians is the first movie with an all-Asian cast in 25 years; is this an important step for Hollywood?
  2. Are there racial problems with Korean films? Typecasting? Caricatures? Other?
  3. Is racial diversity in movies important?

triangle Script

The film "Crazy Rich Asians" is a contemporary love story about meeting the parents. Constance Wu, star of the ABC series "Fresh off the Boat," plays an American-born woman who meets her boyfriend's insanely rich family in Singapore.

"This is a big deal, this movie, because I think it's the first time in like 25 years, it's an all-Asian cast, right? That's a really big deal," Ellen DeGeneres said on her April 23 show. She was referring to the 1993 film “The Joy Luck Club." It was the last major Hollywood movie with a contemporary Asian-American female lead and an all-Asian cast.

"The story itself is colored with so many characters," British-Malaysian Henry Golding, who plays the boyfriend Nick Young, said on Entertainment Weekly. " Each character could have their own spinoff book or movie just because they're so rich. That hasn't really been explored identity-wise for Asians in cinema. They've always been, sort of been typecast as sort of the sidekick or have bit roles."

A recent UCLA report found minorities as a whole are still largely underrepresented on the big screen. Less than 20 percent of film leads are people of color, and Asians fare even worse — making up just 3 percent of all film roles in 2016.

And Hollywood has a pretty notable history of racism toward Asians. There was the "yellow face" of the past, in which white actors played Asian caricatures — like Mickey Rooney's portrayal of an exaggerated Japanese character on "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Even today, white actress Emma Stone faced backlash after playing half-Asian Alison Eng in "Aloha."

Even Kevin Kwan, who wrote the book "Crazy Rich Asians," which the film is based on, said he was approached by a producer who wanted to whitewash his story.

He said, "There was initial interest from a producer who wanted to change [the heroine] Rachel Chu into a white girl. I tell that story to book clubs in suburban middle America, and they go crazy: 'Why does Hollywood think we would want to see this movie with white people?'"

But another thing that makes this film special is the diversity and rich representation among the all-Asian cast. The movie has an Asian writer, is directed by Asian-American Jon Chu and features an all-Asian international cast, including Golding, Malaysian Michelle Yeoh from "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and American comedian and rapper Awkwafina.

Wu added: "To see Asian, Asian-Americans, Asian-Australians and Asian-British in a context that isn't a period piece, that isn't a dated piece — like contemporary people with contemporary problems and not just the idea of an Asian but their real lives. I love that it differentiates between somebody who grew up in Asia and, like, my character, who grew up in America and is 100 percent American."