In a lengthy post on social media, Chu wrote that he stands by Lim and her decision to part ways with the Warner Bros. project. He said when he learned that Lim was unhappy with her initial offer, he — as well as studio executives and producers — made an effort to reach pay parity between the two writers. Lim ultimately declined the offer.
Chu said while he is disappointed that Lim will not be a part of the “Crazy Rich Asians” sequels, he added that he plans on working with her again, calling her his “sister” and “co-conspirator.”
The film — set mostly in Singapore and starring an international all-Asian cast including Constance Wu, Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh — grossed $238 million worldwide and $174 million at the domestic box office.
“These things happen in negotiations, and I’m proud that she was able to stand up for her own measure of worth and walk away when she felt like she was being undervalued,” Chu wrote.
He added, “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. What I discovered personally through this process is there are still things to debate amongst ourselves (like value of experience [vs.] lack of opportunity, tv [vs.] film writing, work experience [vs.] life experience, creative contribution valuations etc) which I am sure won’t be simple answers but I know we must try to figure it out to keep the needle moving.”
“Crazy Rich Asians” was Lim’s first feature film; she had worked as a writer for television for over a decade before signing up for the rom-com, based on Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novel. Chiarelli is the screenwriter for 2009’s “The Proposal,” starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. In interviews with the University of Washington in 2013 and 2015, Chiarelli said that he initially shopped his script for that film under the pseudonym “Jennifer Kirby.”
Chu defended Chiarelli in his post, calling him “a creative force” and a “pro in the business for many many years.”
Over the weekend, Lim posted to Twitter her continued support of Chu and the “Crazy Rich Asians” films.
“[I] have only love for @jonmchu and the cast & crew of #CRA,” she wrote, using the abbreviation for the film. “It was/is a movement and I’ll always root for its continued success.”
Warner Bros. declined to comment on Chu’s statement. A rep for Chiarelli did not immediately return request for comment.
Read Chu’s full statement below.
For those of you who are asking… pic.twitter.com/1SoFLrUBbF
— Jon M. Chu (@jonmchu) September 9, 2019