Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu took to Twitter Thursday, demanding that a self-proclaimed casting associate remove a post where he claimed to be in search of “new lead roles” for China Rich Girlfriend, the sequel to the 2018 film, as well as an adaptation of the final installment in author Kevin Kwan's trilogy, Rich People Problems.
The false information was provided by a man named Alan Baltes, who incorrectly stated that the two upcoming films were casting Asian actors between the ages of 20 and 40. These auditions would be conducted live via Zoom, and required a $99 “submission fee” from Google Pay or Venmo.
Chu later discussed the scam with Variety, and explained that he was particularly frustrated because this was a “direct attack” on Asian actors‘ newfound confidence in the possibility of a career in Hollywood in wake of the success of Crazy Rich Asians.
"I kept reading it, and when it said '99 dollars,' I was like, 'This is f—ed up,'" Chu said. "There's so many scams like that in L.A. anyway and to actually target, specifically, Asian actors, was very frustrating."
"Asian American actors finally get the opportunity or the hope that there are roles and parts out there," Chu added. "People have this light inside of them to pursue this dream that they never thought was possible before, and to take advantage of that and know that you can take $99 for a fake audition is just disgusting."
Chu is currently waiting to finish directing In the Heights, based on the musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the film's theatrical release was pushed back to June 18, 2021. Both sequels of Crazy Rich Asians were expected to begin shooting sometime this year, but the production schedule has certainly changed.