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From Bestseller to the Big Screen: Warner Bros. Acquires ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

Warner Bros. has acquired the distribution rights to “Crazy Rich Asians,” based on Kevin Kwan’s novel published in 2013.

The film is set to be one of the few major studio movies featuring an exclusively Asian cast. Based on Kwan’s own personal life, “Crazy Rich Asians” follows the stories of rich Chinese families living in Singapore. The central storyline focuses on Rachel Chu, a Chinese-American economics professor, who visits Singapore with her boyfriend Nick Young, whose family is extremely wealthy. The novel quickly became a bestseller with nearly one million copies printed worldwide.

Director John M. Chu, who has been the director for “Now You See Me 2 and “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” will direct the project, and the screenplay will be written by Pete Chiarelli ("The Proposal”). Kwan is set to executive produce the film along with Ivanhoe Pictures head Robert Friedland. Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson of the production company Color Force — in partnership with Ivanhoe Pictures president John Penotti — will produce the film.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kwan said he is looking forward to seeing his words come to life in a groundbreaking film. "I am beyond thrilled that the amazing films my fans around the world have been waiting for is finally happening," Kwan said. "I have such tremendous respect and trust in Nina, Brad, Jon and Warner Bros, and I know they are going to create an incredible, history-making movie."

Kwan initially confirmed the film's development last year in an interview with Asia Society. The rights to the film "attracted a heated bidding war," according to Variety — which comes at a time when Asian Americans continue to call for better representation in Hollywood.

This past summer, "Fresh Off the Boat" star Constance Wu criticized the casting choice behind "The Great Wall" starring Matt Damon for "perpetuating the racist myth that [only a] white man can save the world."

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"Not blaming Damon, the studio, the Chinese financiers," Wu wrote in a tweet. "It's not about blame, it's about AWARENESS."

Production for “Crazy Rich Asians” is set to begin spring 2017 in Singapore.

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