Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu hit Twitter Wednesday to express dismay and disgust over a scammer, Alan Baltes, perpetrating a fraud by claiming to be casting for Crazy Rich Asians 2, and even a third sequel to his hit movie, charging would-be actors $99 for a Zoom audition.
Jon M. Chu said that, while, there are sequels in development, he and the producers are not casting for any roles, as was indicated in a false press release calling for casting for China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems, the supposed sequels to Crazy Rich Asians.
The press release and social media posted notices claimed that Baltes was a casting agent and was collecting a submission fee of $99 via either Google Pay or Venmo for anyone who wanted to be considered for an online audition to be conducted via Zoom. The casting notice sought Asian actors, ages 20's through 40's for lead roles and Caucasian female between ages 25-35.
Chu said that future follow-ups to Crazy Rich Asians may hold open casting calls, as they have done in the past, but there has been no casting, scouting or pre-production at this point. Chu said "We're so far from it. We don't have a casting director. We've done zero. We don't even have a script. Th director said this.
"I kept reading it, and when it said '99 dollars', I was like, 'This is f***ed up. There's so many scams like that in L.A. anyway and to actually target, specifically, Asian actors was very frustrating. Asian American actors finally get the opportunity or the hope that there are roles and parts out there. People have this light inside of them to pursue this dream that they never thought was possible before, and to take advantage of that and know that you can take $99 for a fake audition is just disgusting."
Chu first became aware of the scam when he was tagged in a tweet. He then alerted the Warner Bros' legal department. The scammer, Baltes, actually had the gall to block Chu on Twitter after Chu posted a response. Baltes' account has since been deactivated, as has a link to the phony release.
Baltes replied to a request for comment via email stating that "someone sent me the information and was misrepresenting himself as being with casting. The person is no longer in contact with me after I inquired further. They were attempting to get me to send them money for casting calls." Baltes added that no one had paid any money and when he was asked who provided the false information, he alleged he no longer had the information since it was on his Twitter account, which had been deleted.
Baltes has an IMDb profile and SAG resume. His credentials claim small parts for movies and TV, including well knows shows Desperate Housewives and Lost. Baltes has been previously involved with casting scams, having been previously outed for seeking money for casting in other movies. In 2018, it was Jurassic World: Dominion, with director Colin Trevorrow that Baltes was supposedly casting for, in that case also asking for a $99 casting fee. This news comes from Variety.