Crazy Rich Asians director responds to actress’ race claim

By Keiran Southern, PA Los Angeles Correspondent

The director of Crazy Rich Asians has denied an actress’ claim she was overlooked for the film because she was not “Asian enough”.

The comedy-drama was a critical and commercial success on its release last year and was praised for being the first major Hollywood production to feature a majority Asian cast since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club.

However, former Disney Channel star Brenda Song, who is of Thai descent, said she tried to get an audition but missed out because of her appearance.

The 31-year-old told Teen Vogue: “Their reasoning behind that, what they said was that my image was basically not Asian enough, in not so many words. It broke my heart.

“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?”

Song, known for TV roles including The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, added: “You’re going to fault me for having worked my whole life?’ I was like, ‘Where do I fit?'”

Crazy Rich Asians director Jon Chu has now denied he barred Song from auditioning because of her race.

He tweeted: “Would these words ever come out of my mouth? 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!”

Crazy Rich Asians starred Constance Wu and Henry Golding and surpassed expectations at the box office, grossing $238 million (£184 million) worldwide.

A sequel is in development.