Less than a week after Adele Lim announced she had left the CRA sequel, director John M. Chu showed support for the Crazy Rich Asians screenwriter. In a Twitter statement, Chu said he was "proud" of Lim for demanding equal pay. But his response still leaves a lot of unanswered questions about the Crazy Rich Asians sequel.
On Monday, Sept. 9, Chu tweeted a lengthy statement that started with the line, "For those of you who are asking, you bet your ass I stand with Adele." This was the first time Chu had responded publicly to the news that Lim had exited the CRA sequel after she was reportedly offered around eight times less money than her co-writer Peter Chiarelli, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In his statement, Chu wrote that he was "proud that she was able to stand up for her own measure of worth and walk away when she felt like she was being undervalued." He also stated that he had tried to help with the negotiation process once he found out Lim, best known for her work in TV prior to making her feature film writing debut with Crazy Rich Asians, was unhappy with her salary offer. “Unfortunately, by the time we came up with several different ways to satisfy everyone’s needs, a lot of time had passed," Chu wrote, "and she declined the offer."
Chu stated that he would love to work with Lim, who he referred to as his "sister and co-conspirator" again in the future and "respected the hell out of her." He also wrote that this experience made him want to push harder for equal pay.
“I agree with Adele that parity for women and people of color is crucial to the continued enlightenment of our industry and we still have a long way to go,” he wrote, before noting, "I am sure won’t be simple answers but I know we must try to figure it out to keep the needle moving."
Following Chu's statement, Crazy Rich Asians star Gemma Chan also showed support for Lim tweeting that when it comes to the issue of equal pay, "We can and must do better, faster." And her co-star Awkwafina also shared Chu's statement on Twitter, expressing her support for Lim.
What Chu didn't address in his statement is what happens next for the Crazy Rich Asians sequel, which will be an adaptation of Kevin Kwan's sequel book China Rich Girlfriend. Chu did not say whether someone else will be hired to take Lim's place as a writer for the film. A question many fans of the movie want answered since Lim was the only Asian writer associated with the film. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that, for now, Chiarelli was writing the script with input from Chu, but it's still unclear if that is the final solution.
Chu instead ended his note by leaving room for Lim to return to the movie if she so chose. "Sometimes we all have to do what's best for our own self worth," Chu wrote. "That said, the door is always open for Adele and if there's another shot at making it work I know we are all for it but that's a personal and private conversation between ourselves."
Lim is currently working on the screenplay for the upcoming Disney animated film Raya and the Last Dragon starring Awkwafina, which will be released in November 2020. But, after the writer declared she was leaving the CRA sequel, she also made it clear she has no bad blood with Chu, tweeting on Saturday, Sept. 7, "I have only love for @jonmchu and the cast & crew of #CRA. It was/is a movement and I’ll always root for its continued success."
Perhaps there's hope for Lim to return to the franchise, or maybe Chu and the producers will hire another writer to help with the script. While Chu's statement may have cleared up any rumors of animosity between the filmmakers, it still left many questions about the future of the sequel unanswered.