While it has not yet been confirmed that Kris Aquino will be part of the cast of Crazy Rich Asians, there is already a Pinoy cast member who will join this Hollywood movie.
Nico Santos, a Filipino-American comedian born and raised in the Philippines, will be part of the movie adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s hit debut novel Crazy Rich Asians.
He currently stars as Filipino immigrant Mateo in the American comedy series Superstore. He also worked with Amanda Seyfried for the 2017 movie The Clapper.
Crazy Rich Asians is about Rachel Chu and her introduction to boyfriend Nick’s absurdly rich Chinese family in Singapore. It portrays the over-the-top and absurd, as well as compassionate characters in the affluent section of society. The movie has already started filming in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The hugely successful novel has resonated with Asians in and outside of America, and Warner Bros will be the studio that ushers it to the big screen. Kwan is a producer and John M. Chu (Step Up) is the director.
ASIAN CAST UPDATES. Whether or not you’re a fan of the book, you’ll surely look forward to this romantic comedy. Here are some of the confirmed members of the cast—a selection of Asians from all over the world. That bodes well for all who auditioned and are still hopeful.
Constance Wu. She plays Rachel Chu, a Chinese American professor who travels with her boyfriend, Nick, to his homeland Singapore to meet his family for the first time—and discovers that he is part of local high society.
Henry Golding. The British-Malaysian TV host will play Nicholas Young, who returns to Singapore to attend his best friend’s wedding and introduce his girlfriend to his upper crust family and friends. This will be Golding’s movie debut.
Michelle Yeoh. Philippine audiences know her from her Hong Kong martial arts movies. Her Hollywood blockbusters include Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Tomorrow Never Dies. She will play the stern matriarch, Eleanor Young.
Gemma Chan. Chan will play Nick’s cousin, socialite Astrid Leong. She is part of the TV series Humans and was in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Sonoya Mizuno. British Japanes Mizuno will play Araminta Lee, fiancée of Nick’s best friend, Colin Khoo. She was most recently in the sci-fi thriller Ex Machina and she played Caitlin in the Hollywood hit musical movie La La Land.
KWAN IN THE PHILIPPINES. In August 2015, as part of his book tour, Kevin Kwan was in Manila and also found time to vacation in the island paradise of Palawan.
However, it was not his first time in the Philippines—he was first in Manila visiting a friend from New York in 1997.
In an interview with Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Pam Pastor, he talked about what kept him busy. “I was in Palawan for five days and absolutely loved it. I did a lot of snorkeling, I did a lot of kayaking. I love a lot of these outdoor water activities, so you know, I did a lot of hikes and did a lot of island-hopping just to really see the amazing parts of Palawan.”
In an interview on ANC with Karen Davila, he talked about what he loved about his stay in Pangulasian, El Nido: “It was amazing. It’s paradise. I don’t think I’ve been anywhere as beautiful. I really fell in love with the place. And the people are so nice. And I love that there’s this perfect balance of tourism and ecology—and this beautiful, beautiful landscape is being preserved. It really blew my mind. I wanna come back. Soon!”
In the same interview, he said that he is now in love with Filipino food.
On garlic rice: “What a simple, brilliant idea. I don’t know why no one else does that!”
On ensaymada: “Talk about an amazing dessert. The first day when I was in El Nido, they said: ‘You have to try this.’ And I was: ‘What is this creamy cake?’ I bit into it and I was like: ‘Oh my God!’”
On Philippine mangoes: “You guys have the best mangoes in the world!”
In an interview with Pastor of Inquirer, Kwan also talked about the Filipina nanny in his debut novel, Laarni: “As you know, there are a lot of Filipinos working in Asia. I also grew with Filipino maids so they hold a very close place in my heart in many ways. Laarni was sort of the tribute to that, she’s very capable, she does everything, she’s kind of behind-the-scenes, in control.”
There is a Filipino connection in the book’s sequel China Rich Girlfriend as well.
Kwan told Chonx Tibajia of The Philippine Star: “Evangeline de Ayala is, of course, a completely fictional character. I wanted the new book to have a beautiful, elegant and cultured Filipina that came from an established family.
"To me, the ‘de Ayala’ is name is synonymous with that, but I chose it also because the name sounds aristocratic and important to non-Filipinos, much like Rockefeller or Vanderbilt in the U.S.
"I actually don’t know all that much about the Pinoy rich — my experience is limited to my first trip to Manila over a decade ago to visit a good friend from college. It was my introduction to Philippine society—I had the time of my life and met so many lovely people. This same friend was the one who gave me the idea to use the word ‘switheart.’ I thought it might give my Filipino readers a good laugh.”