“Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu responded to Brenda Song’s statement that she failed to audition for the blockbuster film because she was not “Asian enough” for its production team.
In a new interview with Teen Vogue, the “Dollface” star revealed that while she is a fan of Kevin Kwan’s trilogy, she “never got to read” for its first movie adaptation.
Song reportedly asked her managers for a meeting or an audition for “any possible part,” but they returned to her with the news that she was “not right for a role in their [production’s] eyes.”
“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,” the 31-year-old actor told Teen Vogue.
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Much of the movie’s cast reportedly signed on in the spring of 2017, with filming taking place from April to June in the same year.
“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? You’re going to fault me for having worked my whole life?’ I was like, ‘Where do I fit?'” the former Disney Channel star lamented.
After the heartbreaking news, Song took some time off to travel and pull herself together. Within the week of her return to Los Angeles, she was offered the lead role in Netflix’s “Secret Obsession.”
“I got myself together and said, ‘Brenda, there is only one you, and you can’t change who you are. You can’t change your past.’ I am so grateful for every job that I’ve done,” she told Teen Vogue. “All I can do is continue to put good auditions out there, do the best that I can — that’s all I can ask for.”
After Song’s statement on Wednesday, “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu responded in apparent confusion on Twitter.
“Would these words ever come out of my mouth? Nope makes no sense,” the 40-year-old filmmaker wrote. “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!”
🤷🏻♂️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!
— Jon M. Chu (@jonmchu) November 20, 2019
This is not the first time “Crazy Rich Asians” has sparked controversy. In September, screenwriter Adele Lim made headlines after revealing that she had left the project over a massive pay disparity, with Chu expressing support for her decision.
Song has yet to respond to Chu’s statement. Twitter users weighed in on the story:
Brenda Song was a prolific child comedic prodigy, up there with Amanda Bynes. She’s a fantastic actress. But it’s your words against hers. Just because you’re typing this, doesn’t mean you’re divulging the truth here.
— Jennifer Brigitte (@HBICmaverick) November 20, 2019
I could totally imagine you guys saying she wasn’t Chinese enough, though. Correct me if I’m wrong…
— Jenny Jue (@DowntownCasting) November 21, 2019
That’s better but also means I know who you are am I’m not interested. I would’ve liked her in it.
— J is for Jeremy Giants are SF (@giantsfanj) November 20, 2019
So you knew who she was, and didn’t give her a chance. So she wasn’t good enough. But the terrible actresses on there were… she didn’t have to be main but could have easily replaced many of the others.
— ❤️ (@sailorlilymoon) November 21, 2019
I love Brenda Song as an actor. Why wasn’t she offered a minor role at least? Henry Golding is half-white, no shade, he’s charming, but Brenda wasn’t “Asian enough??”
— 🌙🥭It’s chaos Be kind🏳️🌈🎡🇲🇽👻🧚🏽♀️ (@perdiladopamina) November 21, 2019