Crazy Rich Asians was the mega-successful book-series-turned-movie that broke the box office and truly did justice for Asian representation in Hollywood. When you think of actresses of Asian descent that could have fit one of the main roles perfectly, Brenda Song was at the top of the list.
It turns out that she wasn’t denied the role — something worse was the cause. Brenda revealed to Teen Vogue that she wasn’t even allowed to audition because she ‘wasn’t Asian enough.’
She allegedly wanted to audition for the character named Peik Lin that was portrayed by Awkwafina.
‘A lot of people don’t know this, but I never got to read for Crazy Rich Asians, ever. 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.’
One of my favorite memories of making #CrazyRichAsians was when we opened the auditions to anyone in the world with our open call. We watched hundreds &hundreds of videos from very talented people from all around the world. Made us tear up many times. https://t.co/G5e64q0zmf
— Jon M. Chu (@jonmchu) November 21, 2019
Her story just shows just how messed up Hollywood can be even when it comes to movies that center around people of color.
She continued: ‘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 director for the hit disputed her claims via Twitter.
Jon M. Chu responded to a tweet by EW with: ‘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!’
It was also pointed out that there was an open casting call that people from around the world were able to audition for that movie part.
Luckily for Brenda, she went on to star in a Netflix thriller and Dollface on Hulu.