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Jon M. Chu wants everyone to know the rumors aren’t true.
On Twitter last night he refuted a claim from actress Brenda Song that the actress was told she wasn’t “Asian enough” to audition for Chu’s blockbuster film, Crazy Rich Asians.
In an interview with Teen Vogue, Song said she never got to read for the film—which has two sequels in the works.
“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,” said the former Disney Channel star.
“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?’” she added.
Song said she learned a valuable lesson from the rejection.
“I got myself together and said, ‘Brenda, there is only one you, and you can’t change who you are. You can’t change your past,’” she said. “I am so grateful for every job that I’ve done. All I can do is continue to put good auditions out there, do the best that I can—that’s all I can ask for.”
After seeing Song’s comments, Chu, 40, said it “sucks if anything of that nature was ever communicated” and expressed love and respect for Song.
“Would these words ever come out of my mouth? Nope makes no sense,” he tweeted. “I feel horrible she thinks this is the reason. 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!”
??Nope. I love @BrendaSong and that sucks if anything of that nature was ever communicated. It’s gross actually. The fact is, obviously I know who she is and didn’t need her to audition. I’m a fan of hers! 🤷🏻♂️Nothing more nothing less. Bums me out she thought it was anything but.— Jon M. Chu (@jonmchu) November 20, 2019
Song has yet to reply to Chu’s tweets.
Crazy Rich Asians—which earned nearly $240 million worldwide—went on to star Constance Wu, Henry Golding, and Awkwafina. It also earned two Golden Globe nominations.
Maybe we’ll see a sequel with Song in it, but it seems she already has a bright future ahead. She’s since starred in Netflix’s Secret Obsession and Hulu’s Dollface.
Alexandra Samuels is a political reporter at the Texas Tribune and contributor to the Daily Dot, where she started as an intern covering politics in the summer of 2016. She enjoys Marvel movies, baking, and reading murder-mystery novels.