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‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Co-Writer Adele Lim Quits Sequel Over Pay Disparity

Crazy Rich Asians co-writer, Adele Lim | Photo: Washington Post


Warner Bros’ has lost one of its co-writers for its film adaptation of Kevin Kwon’s “Crazy Rich Asians” over what The Hollywood Reporter reports as a pay disparity.

Adele Lim, a veteran television writer told THR she was offered significantly less than co-screenwriter Peter Chiarelli to work on the sequel to “Crazy Rich Asians”, a blockbuster hit that was lauded for bringing Asian American narratives to a mainstream audience and boosting the profile of underrepresented Asian American actors in Hollywood.

“Being evaluated that way can’t help but make you feel that is how they view my contributions,” says Lim, who believes that women and people of color often are regarded as “soy sauce” — hired to sprinkle culturally specific details on a screenplay, rather than credited with the substantive work of crafting the story.

(L-R); Henry Golding, Constance Wu and executive producer/author Kevin Kwon arrive at the premiere of “Crazy Rich Asians” at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, in Los Angeles. The first time “Crazy Rich Asians” author Kevin Kwan realized the magnitude of his lavish Singapore-set story, he was in Canada. | Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Richard Shotwell/Invision

Despite Lim’s declining to give specific figures, THR reports its sources revealed that Warner Bros.’ starting offers were $800,000 to $1 million for Chiarelli and $110,000-plus for Lim. Warners explained to Lim’s reps that the quotes are industry-standard established ranges based on experience and that making an exception would set a troubling precedent in the business. The talks escalated to studio chairman Toby Emmerich, who backed his business affairs department’s stance.

Regardless of the whole misunderstanding, Lim still admits to co-writer, Chiarelli being “nothing but incredibly gracious” and insists that ‘what she makes shouldn’t be dependent on the generosity of the white-guy writer’.

Even though director Jon M. Chu had hoped to keep the entire creative team intact prior to Lim’s exit, work is still in progress for the coming sequel.

Although slowly moving forward, Chiarelli while writing with Chu, delivered the first draft of a 10-page treatment to the studio in late July, and they’re still exploring how much of the source material — Kwan’s trilogy includes 2015’s China Rich Girlfriend and 2017’s Rich People Problems — to adapt.


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