Jon M. Chu, director of the box office smash “Crazy Rich Asians,” staunchly denied the claim that Brenda Song was told she’s “not Asian enough” to audition for the Golden Globe-nominated romantic comedy.
In response to an Entertainment Weekly tweet about her claims, Chu said he was a fan of Song’s and didn’t need her to audition because he already knew who she was.
“Would these words ever come out of my mouth? Nope makes no sense. I feel horrible she thinks this is the reason,” Chu said in the tweet. “The fact is I love Brenda Song and am a fan. I didn’t need her to audition because I already knew who she was!”
Chu expressed similar sentiments in another tweet:
In an interview with Teen Vogue, Song, a former Disney Channel star currently on Hulu’s “Dollface,” said she was never able to read for “Crazy Rich Asians.” According to Song, her managers were told by production that “she wasn’t right for a role in their eyes.”
“Their reasoning behind that, what they said was that my image was basically not Asian enough, in not so many words. It broke my heart,” Song recalled. “I said, ‘This character is in her late to mid-20s, an Asian American, and I can’t even audition for it? I’ve auditioned for Caucasian roles my entire career, but this specific role, you’re not going to let me do it? You’re going to fault me for having worked my whole life?’ I was like, ‘Where do I fit?'”
Early on Thursday morning, Chu tweeted that he had an open audition for “Crazy Rich Asians,” a fact that star Constance Wu has previously corroborated.
Song, with roles in “Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior” and “The Social Network,” has been active in the industry since the early 2000s. Several Twitter users referred to Song as the original crazy rich Asian during the time of the project’s release, for her portrayal of London Tipton in “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.”
Song did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.