After Brenda Song claimed she wasn't allowed to audition for Crazy Rich Asians, director Jon M. Chu denied her comments

By Ale Russian
November 21, 2019 10:30 AM

Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu is disputing Brenda Song‘s claim that she wasn’t allowed to audition for the hit 2018 movie due to her heritage.

Song was a fan of the book the movie is based on and asked her team to reach out to the production to book an audition for the romantic comedy. But in an interview with Teen Vogue, the Dollface actress claims she was blocked from doing so because she wasn’t “Asian enough.”

“A lot of people don’t know this, but I never got to read for Crazy Rich Asians, ever,” Song, 31, said. “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.”

Crazy Rich Asians was lauded for its impressive Asian-American cast, including stars Constance Wu and Henry Golding, and Awkwafina in a breakout role.

“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 continued.

Chu quickly denied Song’s claim in a tweet reply to Entertainment Weekly‘s coverage of her comments.

“🤷🏻‍♂️would these words ever come out of my mouth? Nope makes no sense. I feel horrible she thinks this is the reason,” Chu wrote. “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!”

PEOPLE is out to the film’s studio Warner Bros. for comment.

Chu later tweeted an article on how the movie opened up auditions to anyone interested worldwide, and how enriched the process became because of it.

“One of my favorite memories of making #CrazyRichAsians was when we opened the auditions to anyone in the world with our open call. We watched hundreds &hundreds of videos from very talented people from all around the world. Made us tear up many times,” Chu wrote.

After the alleged missed audition, Song said she took some time off and returned home with a changed mindset.

“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.’ I am so grateful for every job that I’ve done,” she said. “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.”

Crazy Rich Asians went on to become a huge hit, raking in $174.5 million domestically and $238.5 million worldwide with a sequel already on the way.

Meanwhile, Song went on to star in Hulu’s Dollface. She is also known for her roles in ABC’s Station 19, New Girl, Scandal, The Social Network, and Disney’s The Suite Life of Zach & Cody, Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior, and Phil of the Future.

Awkwafina and Constance Wu in Crazy Rich Asians

Awkwafina previously spoke about how the film is opening Hollywood’s doors to diversity in a recent cover story for Harper’s Baazar with fellow Asian actress Margaret Cho.

“I thought that I had a good fan base, and then Crazy Rich Asians came out, and I was like, ‘Oh, okay!’” she said. “Growing up, I really had only you [Margaret Cho] to look up to. Your existence meant so much to me because it showed me what was possible.”

She continued, “After Crazy Rich Asians, people would come up to me crying — it was almost a bittersweet joy for them seeing a movie like that and realizing how important representation is.”

The impact the film had extended to actors from diverse actors who were also trying to leave their mark.

“Asian-American actors have told me that before Crazy Rich Asians they couldn’t get one audition,” she explained. “Now they’re getting tons. It helped open the door for movies like The Farewell.