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Crazy Rich Diversity

Art+by+Sarah+Mcdermott
Art by Sarah Mcdermott

Art by Sarah Mcdermott

Art by Sarah Mcdermott

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The box office success of “Crazy Rich Asians,” a romantic comedy that centers around a woman’s trip to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s mega rich family, proves the importance of representation in Hollywood.

    The film is the first major motion picture in 25 years to feature an all-Asian cast, and its success contributes to a movement in Hollywood that aims to create more diverse casting. With films such as “Black Panther” and “Get Out” proving that audiences crave not only unique stories but that they want to see more diversity in film.

    “Audiences are tired of seeing the same stories with the same characters. And we have to give people a reason to get off their couch or devices. We have to give them something different,” said Brad Simpson, a producer on the film.

    The film is based off a novel by the same name, which was written by Kevin Kwan. He opened up about receiving offers that specified the main character needed to be rewritten to center around a white girl instead of an Asian-American.

    “It was early days, yet I knew that this movie would be a challenge because I knew it needed an all-Asian cast, and so I knew that a lot of traditional Hollywood would find it to be not a viable project, and so that’s why I chose to go the team that I did,” said Kwan.

    Recent films, including “Ghost in the Shell,” have received backlash for whitewashing roles that were intended for Asian actors. While many hope that the backlash from these projects will encourage studios to do better, others have spoken about about the importance of creating more roles for Asian actors.

    “We shouldn’t be fighting over scraps. We should be fighting for the system to expand, so that all of us can get access to roles,” said Nancy Wang Yuen, the author of “Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism.”

    According to a recent study by Yuen, 64% of television shows lacked an Asian-American series regular, while out of the top 100 films of 2017, two-thirds didn’t feature a single Asian-American actor.

    “Crazy Rich Asians” had an impressive opening weekend, earning $34 million, but the impact of the film is much more than financial.

“People walk out of the theater, and their eyes are swollen from crying. And for some people, it resonates so deep. And for me, at least, it’s the power of representation,” said one of the film’s stars Awkwafina.

    The success of diverse films this year proves the importance of representation in Hollywood, where a majority of films focus on telling the same stories and exclude major ethnicities. Films like “Crazy Rich Asians” mark a movement in the entertainment business which leans towards telling more diverse stories that can leave a lasting impression on the audience, even if it is not Asian audience.

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Crazy Rich Diversity