ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO – On Wednesday, some movie-goers at Ronnie's Marcus Cinema in South County got to see an advanced showing of the highly anticipated movie "Crazy Rich Asians." For some of them, it was the first time in their lives they have seen a movie with an entire cast of characters that look like they do.
"It just feels special to me," said Ella Becker, 14. Emme Carpenter, 16, agreed. "Yeah, because it's nothing we've seen before."
While attending a wedding in Singapore, New Yorker Rachel Chu, played by Constance Wu, finds out her boyfriend, Nick Young, played by Henry Golding, is a billionaire and one of the country's most eligible bachelors. Rachel is forced to learn and navigate a new culture, meet jealous socialites who think she is just after Nick's money and try to win over her boyfriend's critical mother.
It sounds like it has all the elements of a pretty typical romantic comedy, but there is something very different about this movie.
"Crazy Rich Asians" is the first Asian-American-focused film from a U.S. studio in 25 years. John M. Chu directed the romantic comedy based on the worldwide bestseller by Kevin Kwan.
The film features an international cast of stars, led by Wu ('Fresh Off the Boat'), Gemma Chan ('Humans'), Lisa Lu ('2012'), and Awkwafina ('Ocean`s 8,' 'Neighbors 2'), with Ken Jeong (the 'Hangover' films') and Michelle Yeoh ('Star Trek: Discovery,' 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'). The large starring ensemble also includes Golding, making his feature film debut, Sonoya Mizuno ('La La Land'), Chris Pang ('Marco Polo'), Jimmy O. Yang ('Silicon Valley'), comedian Ronny Chieng ('The Daily Show'), Remy Hii ('Marco Polo'), and Nico Santos ('Superstore')
Hollywood has received a lot of criticism in recent years for 'white-washing' movies that portray characters from other backgrounds and cultures, but the crowd leaving the screening at Ronnie's had very positive feedback about this movie with some saying they loved the representation of Asian actors and Asian culture, and others saying they liked the relatable messages that cross cultures.
"Crazy Rich Asians" opens in theaters August 15.