Kevin Kwan, author of the book that inspired the movie “Crazy Rich Asians,” isn’t about to wait a few more decades for more Asian representation in Hollywood.
The movie won the Vanguard Award at Kore Asian Media’s Unforgettable Gala ― an annual Asian American Awards ceremony ― on Saturday, and Kwan did not mince words when it came to pushing for more Asian stories in the entertainment industry.
“This is really just the beginning of our fight because when you look at it, one movie every 25 years isn’t fucking enough,” he told the crowd, referencing the number of years since “The Joy Luck Club,” another historic movie with an all-Asian cast, debuted.
Kwan noted the severe lack of major film industry awards winners of Asian descent and highlighted Constance Wu’s recent Golden Globes nomination. He added,“I think we’re looking here at a lot of potential Oscar winners.”
At the awards show, Kwan delved into his own identity struggle. He revealed that early on in his career, he took on several projects that weren’t related to his heritage, including a book about Cuba that got him banned from the country.
“So I did all these things never wanting to express this little secret part of me until one day my father died, and I realized I had a story I wanted to tell,” he said during the emotional speech.
Kwan said that while he initially planned to keep his “Crazy Rich Asians” writing to himself, a friend convinced him to show the work to agents. And though he faced rejection and doubt, everything changed when an agent took a chance on the book.