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'Crazy Rich Asians 2' resumes production with a new screenwriter

Chinese Australian writer Amy Wang is replacing Adele Lim and Peter Chiarelli as the sequel's sole screenwriter.
Constance Wu stars as Rachel in "Crazy Rich Asians."
Constance Wu stars as Rachel in "Crazy Rich Asians."Sanja Bucko / Warner Bros.

More than three years after the release of the hit romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians,” its sequel is now officially in production — with a new screenwriter replacing the writers of the first film, who left after a dispute with Warner Bros. about the pay disparity between them.

Chinese Australian writer Amy Wang previously directed “The Birch” on Facebook Watch, the social media company’s television network, and won a Cannes Lions award in 2018 for her narrative short “Unnatural.” She will be the sole screenwriter for “Crazy Rich Asians 2.”

Based on the bestselling novel by Kevin Kwan, “Crazy Rich Asians” became the top-grossing rom-com in a decade, grossing almost $175 million in the U.S. It was also the first major Hollywood film in recent history to star an all-Asian cast.

After the original film’s blockbuster success in 2018, Warner Bros. had given the go-ahead for the movie adaptation of the next two books in Kwan’s trilogy, “China Rich Girlfriend” and “Rich People Problems.” But production halted in 2019 when screenwriter Adele Lim left the project due to the discrepancy in her pay compared to her co-writer, Peter Chiarelli.

Lim’s offer reportedly started at $110,000 while Chiarelli’s started at almost $1 million, The Hollywood Reporter first reported. After five months of searching unsuccessfully for a replacement, the production studio made Lim a new offer to more closely match Chiarelli’s, who had also offered to split his salary with her. She declined.

Director Jon M. Chu released a statement of support of Lim after the incident, praising her for “standing up for her own measure of worth” when she felt she was being undervalued.

“I am, of course, frustrated that we all can’t do the next one together, but I think the conversation this has started is MUCH more important than ourselves (and the movie sequels, frankly), so who am I to get in the way of that,” Chu wrote.