Director Jon M. Chu on Asian representation in Hollywood: ‘I think the doors are opening now’

Perhaps greatest identified for his work on 2018’s “Crazy Rich Asians,” Jon M. Chu has been working as a director in Hollywood since 2008.

His movies span a number of genres, starting from romantic comedies and dramas to motion flicks and, most just lately, musicals. Chu’s newest launch, a filmed model of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning Broadway hit “In the Heights,” is due out this summer season.

Next, he’ll take on Stephen Schwartz’s “Wicked.”

“I think we have a lot to say and, therefore, a lot to do,” Chu mentioned throughout CNBC’s “Race and Opportunity in America” particular on Wednesday. “I think the doors are opening now.”

However, the journey to the director’s chair wasn’t a simple one for Chu.

“I would say one of the biggest barriers for me growing up was the fact that people didn’t think Hollywood was a place for an Asian-American director,” Chu mentioned. “There were Asian directors from other places, but an Asian-American director, the voice of that, the who we are and what we have to say, I think, wasn’t quite there yet.”

In the previous couple of years, Asian representation in Hollywood has grown, however there’s nonetheless room for enchancment.

Chu, for his half, in 2018 helped deliver the first Hollywood launch to function a principally Asian forged to the large display screen since 1993’s “The Joy Luck Club.”

“Crazy Rich Asians” tallied $238 million globally and was extensively embraced by critics and audiences alike.

“Representation is showing the world who you are at, at its most intimate levels,” Chu mentioned. “Showing your languages, not just actual word languages but the love language of food, the love language of insults, of class in terms of what self-worth is, not just the worth of your car.”

“Crazy Rich Asians” targeted closely on the way it feels for an Asian-American to undergo a cultural id disaster when touring to Asia for the first time, Chu mentioned. The realization being that Asian-Americans belong to each worlds.

“I think sharing our culture on the big screen where people have to pay money or subscribe to, saying we’re worth your time and your space to hear our stories is huge,” he mentioned.

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