Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu has responded to writer Adele Lim departing the planned sequels to last year's rom-com hit. Lim was a co-writer of the first movie, which went on to become a box office smash. Peter Chiarelli co-wrote the movie, but was offered a great deal more money to return for the sequel. Negotiations with Warner Bros. stalled and Lim left. Now, Chu has made it clear he stands with Lim's decision.
Taking to Twitter, Jon M. Chu revealed a lengthy letter he penned in response to the situation. "For those Of you who are asking, you bet your ass I stand with Adele!" is how Chu opens the letter. He goes on to recap the events that led to the writer's departure, with negotiations breaking down. Chu makes it clear they really wanted her to return. Chu had this to say in defending Adele Lim's fight for pay parity in the industry.
"I will work with Adele in the future and respect the hell out of her. She was my sister and co-conspirator all the way through the film. I am, of course, frustrated that we all can't do the next one together but I think the conversation this has started is much more important than ourselves (and the movie sequels, frankly) so who am I to get in the way of that. I agree with Adele that parity for women and people of color is crucial to the continued enlightenment of our industry and we still have a long way to go."
It's said Peter Chiarelli was offered between $800,000 and $1,000,000 for his work on the sequel. Adele Lim, meanwhile, was offered around $110,000. Lim made it clear she has no ill feelings toward Chiarelli, who actually offered to split his pay with Lim. But Warner Bros. didn't feel Lim, given her experience, was on the same level and wasn't prepared to match the offer from their end. Jon M. Chu also defended Chiarelli, explaining that, from his view, he's not the enemy in this situation.
"What I do know is we, as a community, should not go after my friend Pete Chiarelli in our movie. He wrote two drafts of the script months before I ever joined the project with Adele, and came back to work on the movie right before we started shooting. He is a good man, a creative force and has been a pro in the business for many many years, doing many uncredited re-writes (as those in the industry know go to only the most trusted writers.) He is not the author of the film in the end, Adele isn't the author of the film in the end...and I certainly am not. We did this together along with many people from the producers, the cast, our editor, our production designer, Kevin Kwan, our sound team, our music team and many many more."
Crazy Rich Asians 2 entered development quickly, given that the first movie made $238 million at the box office. However, work on the sequel, and the planned third entry, have stalled. Not only due to this dispute, but because the cast, such as Awkwafina, Constance Wu and Henry Golding have all become very busy. Whenever things do get back on track, Jon M Chu said the door is open for Adele Lim to return.
"Sometimes we all have to do what's best for our own self worth. That said, the door is always open for Adele and if there's another shot at making it work I know we are all for it but that's a personal and private conversation between ourselves. In the meantime, Thank you for being loud, thank you for caring and your support. More to do. More to say. More to learn."
At present, Crazy Rich Asians 2 does not have a release date set. Meanwhile, Adele Lim has reteamed with Awkwafina for Disney Animation's Raya and the Last Dragon, which was announced recently at D23. Feel free to check out the full letter from Jon M. Chu's Twitter account below.