Friday, June 10, 2016

TGIF FEATURE: Director John Chu - From the streets of NYC to Hollywood's big-name studios.

BEFORE he hit the big-time, and before John Chu was picked to direct the upcoming movie adaptation of Kevin Kwan's best-selling book "Crazy Rich Asians" and before he directed two of the sequels in the Now You See Me movie franchise, Chu could be found in New York City taping his web series The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers

John Chu
In the accompanying video, watch Moose (Adam G. Sevani) and Camille (Alyson Stoner) shuffling delightfully down the sidewalk to a remixed Frank Sinatra in 2010’s Step Up? The dance sequence was shot in one long take.

Crazy Rich Asians will be filmed in Singapore with an all-Asian cast. Chu, who was born in Palo Alto, California, was able to counter a producer who wanted to change one of the lead characters to a Euro/American. No whitewashing here.

“[As Asian-Americans], we have a specific sensibility: We were born here, we grew up here, we watched these movies,” meaning the ones that have portrayed Asians as “others” and typically, the laughingstock, he told BuzzFeed. Chu said he grew up idolizing white characters onscreen because he didn’t relate to the few Asian characters Hollywood presented to him. “A hero that doesn’t look like you makes you want to be something else,” he said.

Crazy Rich Asians is a comedy of manners about the lavish lifestyles of the ultra-wealthy in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as seen through the eyes of an American-born Chinese woman meeting her Singaporean boyfriend's high-society family for the first time.

It is a heavy mantle Chu has put on his shoulders. The movie Crazy Rich Asians could be be the movie that convinces Hollywood that Americans audiences can accept multi-racial casts.

“I realize that the reason why I’ve been able to [get where I am] is because other people have fallen on the sword for me and created a path for me,” Chu explained. “So it becomes only more important as I get older, and as I progress, to open more doors for people that are behind me.”

Thank you, John Chu, for standing your ground.