Director of rom-com drama Crazy Rich Asians, Jon M Chu is currently promoting his upcoming film In the Heights. While speaking to Insider during the promotions, Chu addressed criticism surrounding the representation of South Asian characters in the 2018 film. Chu said that he should have made these characters more human and he totally understands the criticism.
The film which stars Constance Wu and Henry Golding in lead roles is predominantly set in Singapore. The ethnic group which is the third-largest in the country is Indians. However, in Crazy Rich Asians, South Asians were given subservient roles, playing guards or domestic workers.
Chu said that he did not understand the lesson initially. According to the director, the book already existed and he was making it into a film and could not add a character to the book.
Commenting about the scene where the female protagonist gets lost with her friend and comes across South Asian guards, Chu said that he now realises that he could have done ‘stuff’ to make them more human instead of ‘just guards’. He agrees that hearing about the criticism has been a learning experience.
The Step Up 2: The Streets director also shared that South Asian actors were present at a party in the film, however, they were just ‘sort of’ there and he did not give them the space to be there.
He also said that there is going to be pressure on them to not disappoint fans. Kwan added that he cannot wait for a time when there will be so many movies like this that the pressure would be off them.