When Jon M. Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians was released last year, critics wondered whether the film would really be a game-changing success, helping to increase Asian representation in Hollywood. The film proved the cynics wrong, earning $237 million worldwide at the box office and becoming the highest-grossing romantic comedy of the past decade.
Since its release, there have been remarkable wins for the Asian community in terms of representation—from Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe to the Lulu Wang’s indie hit, The Farewell. The latter dethroned Avengers: Endgame for 2019’s biggest per-theatre average (in other words, it earned more money per screen than Endgame), proving that there truly is a desire and need for Asian representation, and that it can be profitable.
In addition to being groundbreaking for the characters we see on screen, Crazy Rich Asians also helped catapult the careers of many of its cast members. Prior to the film’s release, many of its stars were relatively unknown to wider North American audiences, but now, they’re well on their way to becoming household names and it’s making us so damn happy. Below, see where the cast of Crazy Rich Asians are now.
Before Crazy Rich Asians, Constance Wu was known for her starring role in Fresh off the Boat, the ABC show based on restauranteur Eddie Huang’s best-selling memoir of the same name (oh, and also the first network TV show in 20 years to feature an Asian-American family), but it was her leading role as Rachel Chu in the Jon M. Chu film that really brought Wu into the spotlight. The Taiwanese-American is continuing her role of Jessica Huang on Fresh off the Boat this fall, and will also be heading back to the big screen. This September, she is set to star opposite Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Lili Reinhart and Cardi B in Hustlers, a highly-anticipated film inspired by a viral New York Magazine article about a crew of former strip club employees who turned the tables on their Wall Street clients. Additionally, Wu will stretch her voice acting skills in Wish Dragon, a major animated feature being made in China and set to be released in 2020.
Henry Golding is quickly becoming Hollywood’s leading rom-com man since playing the role of Nick Young in Crazy Rich Asians, his first-ever acting gig. Prior to Crazy Rich Asians, the English-Malaysian actor was a television host, but he has since nabbed two other leading roles: Blake Lively’s husband in 2018’s A Simple Favor last year and Game of Throne‘s Emilia Clarke’s love interest in Last Christmas, which will be released this November. In 2020, Golding will appear Guy Ritchie’s The Gentleman, which will star Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam and Michelle Dockery.
Gemma Chan, who played the glamorous “it” girl, Astrid Leong in the film, has snagged herself several roles since Crazy Rich Asians. Last year, she also generated buzz for her role as Bess of Hardwick in Mary Queen of Scots (another important win for the Asian community, as Bess of Hardwick is historically white). She starred in Channel 4’s series I Am this summer and nabbed the role of Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel. Next, Chan is set to star in yet another Marvel film, The Eternals, playing the role of Sersi alongside Richard Madden, Kit Harrington, Angelina Jolie and Kumail Nanjiani, and she is currently filming Let Them All Talk with Meryl Streep.
Awkwafina (née Nora Lum) was once a viral Internet star from Queens, NY, but has since become a bonafide star (and rightfully so). Shortly after Crazy Rich Asians, the Asian-American actor and rapper, who played Peik Lin in the flick, starred in another Hollywood blockbuster, Ocean’s 8, alongside Sandra Bullock, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway. Last August, she made history by becoming the first-ever Asian-American to host a North American Awards show (the iHeartRadio MMVAs, to be exact) and in October 2018, she became the second-ever Asian-American woman to host Saturday Night Live (the first was Lucy Liu, who hosted the show 19 years ago). But that’s not all: This past July, Awkwafina proved she’s more than just a comedic powerhouse with her role in The Farewell, which received rave reviews from critics.
The actor has numerous upcoming projects, including Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, where she’ll star alongside Canada’s very own Simu Liu, Jumanji: The Next Level with Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson, The Prom with Meryl Streep, Ariana Grande and Nicole Kidman, and Raya and the Last Dragon with Degrassi alum, Cassie Steele. She has also signed on star in The Last Adventure of Constance Verity, a film adaptation based on the fantasy adventure novel written by A. Lee Martinez, is rumoured to be cast in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid and has her own TV show in the works with Comedy Central. Whew!
Michelle Yeoh had a lengthy career before playing Nick Young’s mom, Eleanor Young, in Crazy Rich Asians. The iconic actor rose to fame in Hong Kong before gaining popularity among North American audiences with roles in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the 1997 James Bond flick, Tomorrow Never Dies—and her career is still going strong. The Malaysian-born actor joins Crazy Rich Asians castmate, Henry Golding, in Last Christmas this winter, and her upcoming projects include Boss Level, Avatar 2, 3, 4 and 5, Gunpowder Milkshake and Blazing Samurai.
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On May 10th 2019 we premiered the first film I've ever produced as the closing film of #LAAPFF. "Empty By Design" has been such a trip – still amazed that we pulled this off! Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported along the way and now we've started, we're never going to stop. This film started with 4 of us buying one way tickets to the Philippines with no clue and nothing but a dream. Dreams do come true and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. #EmptyByDesign will be screening next at the #soho10 in NYC next week so come see us there! Thank you @sthanlee and @stevenlamphoto for the 📷 & @keprebels for the amazing suit!
Chris Pang, the Chinese-Australian actor who played Colin Khoo in Crazy Rich Asians, will grace the big screen this November in the Charlie’s Angels reboot starring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Elizabeth Banks. Pang also starred in Empty By Design, the debut full-length feature of Filipina-British director, producer and cinematographer Andrea Walter, which Pang also produced.
Before Crazy Rich Asians, Remy Hii (who plays Alistair Cheng in the film) was known for his roles in television shows such as Netflix’s Marco Polo and ABC’s Harrow. Since then, the Australian portrayed the role of Brad Davis, Peter Parker’s romantic rival who tries to win the heart of MJ (Zendaya) in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Much like Michelle Yeoh, Ken Jeong was also a seasoned celeb prior to Crazy Rich Asians, catapulting to Hollywood fame after playing Mr. Chow in The Hangover. Jeong, who played Wye Mun Goh in Crazy Rich Asians, has been keeping busy, serving as a panelist in The Masked Singer, starring in his own Netflix special, You Compete Me, Ho and appearing in the BTS music video for “Waste It On Me”. The Asian-American actor and comedian will also have upcoming roles in Disney’s live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp, Steve Byrne’s The Opening Act and Warner Brothers’s Tom and Jerry.
Jimmy O. Yang
Prior to Crazy Rich Asians, Jimmy O. Yang was best known for his role in Silicon Valley. Now, the Chinese-American actor and stand-up comedian will have his first leading role in the upcoming film, The Opening Act, where he’ll play an aspiring stand-up comedian named Will O’Brien.