SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The director of “Crazy Rich Asians” is speaking out after former Disney actress Brenda Song claimed she wasn’t allowed to audition for the 2018 movie because she was “not Asian enough.”
In an interview with Teen Vogue, Song – who some may remember for her role on Disney Channel’s “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” and “The Suite Life on Deck” – said she was a big fan of the book and series and asked her team to arrange an audition for the film.
Song said she was hit with some devastating news.
“A lot of people don’t know this, but I never got to read for Crazy Rich Asians, ever,” the 31-year-old said. “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.”
“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?’” she continued.
“Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu has since disputed Song’s claim, tweeting “🤷🏻♂️would these words ever come out of my mouth? Nope makes no sense. I feel horrible she thinks this is the reason,” Chu wrote. “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!”
After the failed audition attempt, Song said she took time off to travel and gather her bearings.
“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 said. “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.”
It’s reported that Song had wanted to audition for Peik Lin’s role, which ultimately went to breakout actress Awkwafina.
“Crazy Rich Asians” made more than $170 million in the U.S. and $283.5 million worldwide.
A sequel is on the way.
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