10 Things You Don’t Know About #CrazyRichAsians (with video)

Friday, 17 August, 2018

Here are 10 things you don’t know about Crazy Rich Asians the movie:

1) Author Kevin Kwan Optioned His Book for Only $1
The Hollywood Reporter (THR) has a great cover story on CRA, here is an excerpt about why Kwan ended up optioning the book for just $1.

“I met with, I think, six producers in one day,” says Kwan. “It was like a beauty contest.” Many had renminbi signs in their eyes. “They were interested in getting into the Chinese market, and I was like, ‘This is a 
movie with worldwide and domestic potential — that just happens to star Asians.'”

Color Force’s Jacobson and Simpson, known for the Hunger Games franchise, saw it the same way. “It feels so mainstream and accessible — anybody can relate to being rejected by in-laws,” says Jacobson. She and Simpson vowed to secure financing from a company with Asian ties, and UTA steered them to Ivanhoe Pictures, Penotti’s then-brand-new company with offices in Singapore and Hong Kong. While Kwan had lucrative offers, he optioned his book to Color Force and Ivanhoe for just $1 (with triggers in place for him to earn more as the project got made) in exchange for the right to remain involved with development decisions — a rare opportunity for a first-timer. “To say, ‘I’m going to do this for a dollar,'” says Simpson, “the only other person I know who does that is Stephen King.””

2) (see pix) Real life inspiration for Rachel Chu
See author Kevin Kwan’s Instagram post, “[my dear friend Vivian’s] stories inspired me when I created the character of Rachel Chu and her family. Jon M. Chu, the director of “Crazy Rich Asians,” was one of the cousins Vivian had been talking about for so many years. I never dreamed that he would one day direct the film based on my book, a film with a heroine who is inspired by the women in his own family. Last night, it all came full circle in this photo – the first time Vivian, Jon, and I were all together in one place.

View this post on Instagram

More than ten years ago, my dear friend Vivian in New York started telling me stories about how she grew up in Northern California amongst all her cousins and how close knit they all were. As I moved to the US when I was eleven and had to leave behind my closest cousins, I was fascinated by the stories of her cool American-Born Chinese family, so different from my own, and her stories inspired me when I created the character of Rachel Chu and her family. Jon M. Chu, the director of "Crazy Rich Asians," was one of the cousins Vivian had been talking about for so many years. I never dreamed that he would one day direct the film based on my book, a film with a heroine who is inspired by the women in his own family. Last night, it all came full circle in this photo – the first time Vivian, Jon, and I were all together in one place.

A post shared by Kevin Kwan (@kevinkwanbooks) on

3) (with video) Getting permission to use Gardens by the Bay went right up to the PMO
The producers were having a hard time getting permission to film at the epic beautiful Gardens by the Bay location until CRA author Kevin Kwan visited the set in KL one day and heard of the challenge and mentioned that actress Janice Koh’s (she played auntie Felicity Young in the movie) husband was the CEO of Singapore Tourism Board. Ultimately, it went right up to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) of Singapore to get the OK. Watch the producers talk about it in this segment of Oscars video (timecode 9:30).

4) (with video) Location for Young’s family home was a shithole (literally :)  
Finding a location for the Young’s family home was very hard as a home like that doesn’t exist in Singapore. A location was found in KL (where 65% of the film was shot). After watching the beautiful house in the film, you wouldn’t know it was run down, “collapsing on itself” and had monkey pooh on the floor! Watch the producers discussed it in this segment of Oscars video (10:10).

5) (with video) Dumpling & mahjong scenes are new and not in the book
(*** NOTE:
Unfortunately, this video is no longer on YouTube.)
The dumpling scene and the mahjong scene aren’t in the book and I quite like them both. Here co-screenwriter Adele Lim talks about these two scenes in this Q&A.
WARNING: Some spoilers!!!! Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim on writing CRAZY RICH ASIANS (6:53)

6) (with video) Coldplay‘s “Yellow” in Chinese
Director Jon M. Chu (朱浩偉) had to work his magic on Warner Bros and Coldplay to get the song into the movie. QZ has an excellent report in “HOW COLDPLAY’S “YELLOW,” IN CHINESE, ENDED UP ON THE “CRAZY RICH ASIANS” SOUNDTRACK” that is worth reading in full. Here is an excerpt, Read the rest of this entry »

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Fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life – New quote I love

Saturday, 2 December, 2017

I’m adding this to my long list of Quotes I Love,

The wider world that perceives fashion as sometimes as frivolity that should be done away with in the face of social upheavals. The problems are enormous. The point is, in fact, fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life. I don’t think you can do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization. Thats what I think.” – Bill Cunningham (1929-2016) from the documentary Bill Cunningham New York (low quality YouTube video excerpt)

Bill Cunningham: New York (quote on fashion) (Low quality YouTube excerpt)

I’m also watching this GREAT 2012 DP/30: The Oral History Of Hollywood interview and enjoying it so much!

DP/30: Bill Cunningham New York director Richard Press, producer Philip Gefter

3:05 Thanks to the filmmaker for his persistent in his 8 years effort to get Mr. Bill Cunningham to be featured in the doc. Bill is dearly dearly missed. The world is poorer without his special eyes in curating beauty for us and his charm and his insight.

6:01 “I basically stalked him [in 2001].” How cute! Again, so glad the filmmaker being creative to start the ball rolling. P.S. Thanks for another great and important interview.

Dec 2nd, 2017 update: I couldn’t get the song in the above Bill Cunningham New York clip out from my head so I ended up looking up the song. Have a listen. Enjoy!

Coldplay – Viva La Vida (starts at timecode 1:09)

Viva La Vida Lyrics (by Coldplay):

“I hear Jerusalem bells a-ringing
Roman cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can’t explain
Once you’d gone there was never
Never an honest word
And that was when I ruled the world”


Fashion Exhibits – Thinking of Bill Cunningham

Friday, 3 November, 2017

If things work out and time permits, I’m looking forward to visit a few museums’ fashion exhibits featuring the likes of Mariano Fortuny (checking out Fortuny‘s famous Delphos gown up close). And I’m real excited and ready to be overwhelmed by a massive Christian Dior collection! With these fashion thoughts in my mind, I can’t help but imagine what if the late Bill Cunningham was still alive, how cool would it be to be a fly standing on the shoulder of Bill and listen to his thoughts and insights when he check out these exhibits! Miss you still Bill!

P.S. As part of my research to write this post, I found an hour long interview with Bill. Enjoy.

(Hour long 2003 interview with) New York Times Photographer Bill Cunningham

Bill Cunningham: Words of Wisdom (a nice excerpt I found online last year)

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Christian Louboutin – Great minds of our time

Monday, 1 August, 2016

I was introduced to the luxury footwear designer Christian Louboutin thanks to my late French friend Laurent as he happened to know Christian as a family friend. Here are a few videos I am watching today.

An Audience with Christian Louboutin: Full-length video | NET-A-PORTER.COM (published Nov 25, 2011)

Christian Louboutin Addresses FIT Graduates (published May 23, 2014)

Christian Louboutin Interview | NET-A-PORTER.COM (published Nov 13, 2009)

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I wrote and shared this entry in memory of Laurent Jean Philippe Ravalec, my late and awesomely unique French friend, where one of our last video chats (which I documented here) happened in November 2015 just a day after the horrible Paris attack.

Talking to my French friend Laurent about Food (published April 7, 2012) is another video of us chatting about our common love: food!

Laurent, I miss you my friend!


Priceless: Tommy Hilfiger Defending my “Fashion Honour”

Wednesday, 13 February, 2013

2013 Tommy Hilfiger at Fox LA defending my "Fashion Honour"

I LOVED & enjoyed the chance to ask Tommy Hilfiger @tommyhilfiger a question. (Tommy’s Facebook) And then it turned into a super #epic moment (at 2:07 of the clip) for me to watch Tommy defending my “Fashion Honour” at Fox LA Google+ Hangout! Thanks +Maria Quiban +Tony McEwing +FOX 11 Los Angeles for the #awesome hangout!

FOX 11 Google+ Hangout: Tommy Hilfiger Talks About His New West Hollywood strore


Bill Cunningham – Great minds of our time

Sunday, 8 April, 2012

Bill Cunningham New York - Pix 01

I’ve only “known” the great photographer Bill Cunningham for a few days from watching the documentary “Bill Cunning New York”. From this one documentary alone and the testimonies from many people in the doc, I believe his visual contributions and the examples he set (ethics as a reporter and his work over the years) has taught me personally a lot. See also NYT “Bill on Bill” and also “The Picture Subjects Talk Back”.

I am delighted to add Bill to my list of Great minds of our time along the likes of Richard FeynmanRonald Coase & Steve CheungBill Buxton, and Warren Buffett.

Have a watch of “Bill Cunning New York” and you will see why. The film is on Netflex (US),  iTune, Amazon, and on DVD. Here is the Bill Cunningham New York Trailer

Additional Links:

March 7, 2012 Guardian, “Bill Cunningham – New York’s king of street style

Check out Bill’s NYT Video “On the Street”

Movie reviews: Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Roger Ebert

Bill Cunningham New York - Pix 00

Bill Cunningham New York - Pix 02

Bill Cunningham New York - Pix 03

Bill Cunningham New York - Pix 04

Bill Cunningham New York - Pix 05 Read the rest of this entry »


Bill Cunningham New York – Wow!

Wednesday, 4 April, 2012

Ready to be wowed by Bill Cunningham New York over dinner! Here is a trailer.


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