By Ed Diokno
Views from the Edge
Michelle Yeoh has been cast to play Eleonor Young, the status-seeking, manipulative mother of Nick in the upcoming movie version of Crazy Rich Asians.
The Hollywood Reporter
announced the casting news in an exclusive.. The internationally famous movie star is the second major star named for the all-Asian cast of the adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s New York Times
best-selling novel, which centers on the lives of wealthy Chinese families living in Singapore. Last week, it was announced that Fresh Off the Boat’s
Constance Wu would play Rachel Chu.
The storyline follows Rachel Chu (Wu), an American-born Chinese economics professor, who travels to her boyfriend Nick’s hometown of Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. Before long, his secret is out: Nick is from a family that is ultra-ultra wealthy. He’s perhaps the most eligible bachelor in Asia, and every single woman in his ultra-rarefied social class is incredibly jealous of Rachel and wants to bring her down.
Yeoh will play Nick’s controlling mother who disapproves of Rachel because of what she believes are Rachel’s “common” roots since she was raised by a single mother. For Rachel – Eleanor would be the dreaded mother-in-law from hell. John Chu, the director, has been very careful in casting the upcoming movie and has conducted an international search for the cast of beautiful people. Kwan will serve as executive producer in the Warner Bros. project.
Yeoh, who is Chinese Malaysian, already speaks with a slight British accent favored by the upper-class Singaporeans, so she is perfectly cast as Eleanor. Already an established international star best known for action films made in Asia, she broke into the American market as one of James Bond girls in Tomorrow Never Dies followed by the big martial arts hit, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, where she was able to display her athletic abilities.
She has also been cast in a recurring role as a starship captain in the upcoming TV reboot of the Star Trek franchise.
Still to be announced is who would play the pivotal, third major role of Nick Young, the handsome, desirable, down-to-earth and sexy male lead. It was widely speculated that Chu would pick someone who is better known in the burgeoning Asian market but the requirement that the actor speak English with a British accent may have eliminated many of those actors. The fact that director Chu (and Warner Bros.) have chosen two actresses already established in the American media market seems to indicate that there’s still hope for an Asian American actor to take that plum role that could redefine the much maligned Asian male image.
AsAmNews is an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. You can show your support by liking our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/asamnews, following us on Twitter, sharing our stories, interning or joining our staff.