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CRAZY RICH ASIANS Makes for Crazy Inspiring Times

Originally published August 10, 2018

Ask me, and I would not be able to tell you what it was like when THE JOY LUCK CLUB came out. I wouldn’t be able to properly recollect what it was like for part of the film to be shot in the San Francisco Bay Area, nor can I describe the anticipation leading up to its 1993 release. But when you are among the Millennials who were born in the early 90’s, the lack of memory not only makes sense, but also shows just how much time has passed between then and now.

It’s been 25 years, and the long streak of not having a contemporary-set Hollywood film featuring an all-Asian cast ends in less than a week when CRAZY RICH ASIANS will finally be released to the public. Just from what I’ve been hearing about it so far from those who caught an advanced screening – or screenings, in some cases – it’s been nothing but positivity for all the right reasons. Plus, that 100% fresh score it currently has on Rotten Tomatoes is not too shabby.

We are living in incredible times for Asian Americans in film. With TO ALL THE BOYS I LOVE coming out on Netflix two days after, ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE currently in production, and other projects of a similar kind occurring, CRAZY RICH ASIANS is looking to mark the start of a new era; where Asian Americans will finally be recognized by the masses as being able to carry a film – both onscreen and behind the camera – as the ultimate creative forces.

The film’s release makes for both inspiring and coincidental timing in my life. I just completed work as a background actor for an independent film that’s being shot in the Bay Area. While it doesn’t have an all-Asian cast, it does have quite a diverse cast and crew, and I hope that my presence, as minimal as it may be, will help add to something. (Plus, getting to partake in several scenes with Gregory Alan Williams in the room was pretty epic.)

Also, as of this year, I’m starting to tackle my goal of becoming a screenwriter. Back in January, I submitted a spec script I wrote based off of FRESH OFF THE BOAT for a writing program I applied for. Currently, I’m writing my first feature-length screenplay, featuring a Hapa woman as the lead.

I want to do to my part in contributing to the growing number of Asian American narratives, and with CRAZY RICH ASIANS about to come out, it now feels like my efforts – whether writing a script or appearing for a brief moment onscreen – will actually count towards making something happen.

There’s a particular quote I came across from the Kevin Kwan novel the film is based on. I have no idea if it’s spoken in the film or not, but I find it appropriate to end with it:

“I hate to point out the obvious, but here’s this tiny bird that’s been trying to get through a huge bulletproof glass wall. A totally impossible situation. You tell me it’s been here every day pecking away persistently for ten minutes. Well, today the glass wall came down.”

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