Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu has weighed in on co-writer Adele Lim’s decision to walk away from the sequel following pay disparity disputes.
Update (9/9/19):Crazy Rich Asians fans far and wide have been pretty vocal about their support of co-writer Adele Lim, who recently released a compelling statement in which she explained why she chose to walk away from the sequel following pay disparity disputes with Warner Bros.
Among those rallying behind Lim and her decision to exit the sequel is Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu.
Originally when the sequel was greenlit, it was Chu’s hope that Crazy Rich Asians 2 would be able to keep the original creative team in tact. Now that Lim has officially exited the project however, the dream of that happening is dead in the water.
That hasn’t stopped Chu from speaking out in support of Lim and her decision though.
On Monday (September 9), Chu took to Twitter to break his silence on the matter with a lengthy statement that began with: “For those of you who are asking, you bet your ass I stand with Adele!”
In his lengthy statement, Chu spoke about how “messy” pay negotiations can get before revealing that while he wasn’t involved with initial talks, he did step in after he heard that Lim wasn’t happy with Warner Bros. original offer.
“Because I am close with Adele, when I discovered she was unhappy with the initial offer, the producers, myself and studio executives left into action to ensure we got to a place of parity between the two writers at a significant number,” wrote Chu. “Unfortunately by the time we came up with several different ways to satisfy everyone’s needs, a lot of time had passed and she declined the offer. These things happen in negotiations, and I’m proud that she was able to stand up for her own measure of worth and walk away when she felt like she was being undervalued.”
In addition to explaining that he believes Lim’s decision to walk away has started a conversation the film industry needs to be having, Chu also took a moment to ask fans not to take their frustrations out on Crazy Rich Asians co-writer Peter Chiarelli.
Finally, Chu ended by saying that while Lim may not be part of the sequel’s creative process, that might not necessarily mean she won’t return to the Crazy Rich Asians family.
“The door is always open for Adele and if there’s another shot at making it work I know we are all for it but that’s a personal and private conversation between ourselves,” said Chu.
Read the director’s full statement below:
For those of you who are asking… pic.twitter.com/1SoFLrUBbF
— Jon M. Chu (@jonmchu) September 9, 2019
Original Story (9/4/19):
Adele Lim, co-writer for the massively successful Crazy Rich Asians, has left the sequel after a Warner Bros. offer that was far under what her male co-writer would receive.
No matter how you look at it, Crazy Rich Asians was a crazy wild success.
The film debuted at number one at the box office and — with a budget of about $30 million — went on to gross $238.5 million at the worldwide box office. That made it the highest-grossing romantic comedy of the last decade, and the sixth highest-grossing romantic comedy ever.
Numbers aside, Crazy Rich Asians was led by an entirely Asian-American cast — the first film from a major studio to do so since The Joy Luck Club, which premiered in theaters 25 years prior. It was a story filled with and about Asian-Americans — one that focused on their happiness and love, and featured many of the tropes that are so often closed to Asian-American actors and actresses.
Crazy Rich Asians also put Constance Wu — the hilarious matriarch from Fresh Off The Boat — into the Hollywood spotlight, and helped push the careers of Gemma Chan, Henry Golding and break-out star Awkwafina forward.
However, for as much as Crazy Rich Asians has helped push boundaries in terms of race and storytelling, the sequels still leave something to be desired in terms of achieving parity.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed this morning that co-writer Adele Lim has decided to leave the sequels to Crazy Rich Asians after learning that the co-writer on the project, Peter Chiarelli, would receive a much higher fee than her on the upcoming sequels.
No official numbers have been reported, but sources close to THR reported that Warner Bros. starting offers ranged from $800,000 to $1 million for Chiarelli and around $110,000-plus for Lim.
Adele Lim walked away from a deal last fall, which led producers to seek out other writers of Asian descent for the job. After a five-month search, they made a second offer to Lim in February — one which brought the amount closer to what Peter Chiarelli would receive. For his part, Chiarelli likewise volunteered to split his fee with her.
Lim likewise passed on that offer, saying:
“Pete has been nothing but incredibly gracious, but what I make shouldn’t be dependent on the generosity of the white-guy writer. If I couldn’t get pay equity after Crazy Rich Asians, I can’t imagine what it would be like for anyone else, given that the standard for how much you’re worth is having established quotes from previous movies, which women of color would never have been [hired for]. There’s no realistic way to achieve true equity that way.”
Even without the Crazy Rich Asians sequel, Lim has a bright future ahead of her. The Malaysian-born writer has a first-position contract with Disney Animation for four years, for whom she is currently writing its Southeast Asian mythology-influenced feature Raya and the Last Dragon.