In a Teen Vogue article published yesterday (November 20), Brenda Song opened up about everything from Dollface to Disney Channel. But easily the most jarring part of her interview was when she revealed that she never got to audition for 2018's Crazy Rich Asians because she wasn't "Asian enough." Now, director Jon M. Chu has taken to social media to respond.
"Would these words ever come out of my mouth?" Chu tweeted. "Nope makes no sense. I feel horrible she thinks this is the reason. The fact is I love Brenda Song and am a fan. I didn't need her to audition because I already knew who she was!" In a separate tweet, Chu said that it "sucks if anything of that nature was ever communicated" and that it's "gross" if something like that was ever implied. But Song's account of what happened is very different.
In the interview, the actress said that her request to audition for "any possible part" was denied. "Their reasoning behind that, what they said was that my image was basically not Asian enough, in not so many words," she said. "It broke my heart." It was even more heartbreaking as a fan of book series. "I said, 'This character is in her late to mid-20s, an Asian American, and I can't even audition for it? I've auditioned for Caucasian roles my entire career, but this specific role, you're not going to let me do it? You're going to fault me for having worked my whole life?' I was like, 'Where do I fit?'"
Ultimately, Crazy Rich Asians went on to star Constance Wu and Henry Golding. It also provided Awkwafina with her breakout role. But whether people agreed with the casting or not, fans of Song have come to her defense online, many saying that she would've been a "perfect" addition to such a groundbreaking and record-smashing film.
Not only did Crazy Rich Asians become the highest-grossing romantic comedy in 10 years just two months after its August 2018 release, but it was also the first film by a major Hollywood studio to feature a majority Asian cast in 25 years. Moving forward, we can only hope that every actor has an equal opportunity to explore the roles they feel truly passionate about.