Ken Jeong Reveals He Literally Begged to Be in ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

Ken Jeong wanted to be in “Crazy Rich Asians” badly, similar to how he now feels about hosting the Oscars.

The blockbuster film, which was recently nominated for both the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards, is the first all-Asian picture to grace Hollywood in 25 years.

In an interview on BuzzFeed News’s Profile, Jeong revealed that he approached director Jon M. Chu years ago and offered to do anything to be on the cast list.

“I said, ‘Look, whether I’m in the movie or not, this is literally the most important Asian American movie since ‘The Joy Luck Club.’ I will do whatever you want me to do,’” he told his friend.

Image via Facebook / PROFILE by BuzzFeed News

The 49-year-old actor’s intuition proved right as “Crazy Rich Asians” — which unapologetically swept the box office for weeks — somewhat changed Hollywood’s perception of Asians and Asian Americans for the better. He described the end result as more than just a movie, but “a movement.”

“Money talks. So when you are doing big business and we’re doing something like ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ that gets a worldwide box-office gross for $230 million, then everybody will want to get in that game.”

Jeong as Goh Wye Mun in “Crazy Rich Asians.” Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Jeong also recalled past experiences of being asked to do archaic Asian accents, which he always refused.

“I was very polite and very calm and I just said, ‘As we’ve said before, you know, I will not do that, but, however, if there’s another Asian American actor who maybe needs this part more than me, give it to them,’” he told Profile.

Image via Instagram / @kenjeong

Needless to say, Jeong was not alone in his attempt to halt the perpetuation of such stereotypes.

“It’s not just me doing that. Every Asian American actor you know with some visibility has had to say that, and I think that’s just getting less with the success of projects like ‘Crazy Rich Asians.’”

“Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu (Left) and Jeong (Right). Image via Instagram / @kenjeong

“Crazy Rich Asians” is nominated for Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical at the Golden Globes. Constance Wu is nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.

The film is also nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the SAG Awards.

Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Aside from his nominations as part of the cast, Jeong is being floated as a potential host to the upcoming Oscars, earning the endorsement of former host Whoopi Goldberg.

Featured Images via Warner Bros. Pictures / (Left) and Facebook / PROFILE by BuzzFeed News (Right)

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: info@nextshark.com