By Vivian Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
With Thanksgiving over and Christmas on the way, there’s no denying that the holiday season is officially here! Excitement is brewing in the air and Hollywood is no exception.
On movie castings
The upcoming romantic-comedy “Crazy Rich Asians” has been green-lit by Warner Bros., which means pre-production and casting are currently underway. Based on the popular novel by author Kevin Kwan, “Crazy Rich Asians” follows Rachel Chu, a Chinese American economics professor and her boyfriend, Nick Young. When the couple attends a wedding in Nick’s hometown of Singapore, it is revealed that Nick is viewed as the country’s most eligible bachelor as the heir to a massive fortune. Hijinks ensue. According to Kwan, the book aims to “introduce a contemporary Asia to a North American audience.”
Director Jon M. Chu, who’s best known for directing several installments of the “Step Up” movie franchise and the musical documentary “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” spoke with Entertainment Weekly about how casting will take more time, effort, and energy to do this film adaption justice.
“We’ll have to look in places that we don’t normally look for in a movie,” said Chu. “Normally you go to agencies, and they tell you who could fit, and you go and meet or greet them or have them coming in and audition. In this one, a lot of the big agencies don’t necessarily know where to find the big, hunky Asian actor … Maybe they’re in theater and haven’t crossed over yet. [Or] maybe they’re doing commercials and haven’t crossed over yet.”
Kudos to Chu and the production team for their commitment to casting an all-Asian cast, as well as looking far and wide for just the right actors. The film is only in the early stages of production, but I can already tell that “Crazy Rich Asians” is going to be a groundbreaking movie for Asian Americans — for both viewers and those currently making inroads in Hollywood.
When Asian Americans become Nazi sympathizers
Do you remember who Tila Tequila is?
Chances are no, so let me refresh your memory.
Tequila, whose legal surname is Nguyen, became popular during the rise of social media in 2008 when she was the most popular person on MySpace — she had approximately 1.7 million followers at the time. A popular MTV reality show named “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila” soon followed and, for a while, Tequila was a relevant name in pop culture.
But Tequila hasn’t done many notable things since and has largely been out of the public eye with the exception of some outlandish statements she’s made. In 2012, Tequila told celebrity gossip site TMZ that she was “fascinated with Kabbalah,” and was converting to Judaism. Then, in December 2013, Tequila posted a photoshopped image of herself with a Nazi armband and SS cap on, while standing in front of Nazi camp Auschwitz. Calling herself “Hitila,” Tequila wrote a Facebook post titled “Why I Sympathize with Hitler: Part 1.” You can probably guess the contents of the post.
Now, in 2016, with President-elect Donald Trump soon to be in the White House, Tequila recently tweeted a picture from the alt-right, white supremacist National Policy Institute conference, in which she and two white guys did a Nazi salute. It’s probably worth noting that, at the time Tequila tweeted this photo, her Twitter bio read as: “Alt-reich queen! Literally Hitler!” Or it did until Twitter suspended Tequila’s account for violating the platform’s anti-hate speech policies.
The irony of Tequila being Asian American is lost on no one. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Tequila said that an invitation to the conference was extended because she brings “a little bit more diversity to the [white supremacist] movement.”
It’s a hilarious statement given that Nazi sympathizers aren’t known to be champions of diversity.
With this quote, however, it seems more apparent than ever that Tequila is now stepping into her new public identity: the troll. As in, deliberately pissing people off to get a rise out of them, often done online. And with Tequila’s previous “fame” all but extinguished, it comes as no surprise that she’s taken on trolling to maintain relevant in the public eye.
Tequila seems to be fond of alliteration. Perhaps she should consider changing her stage name to Tila Troll?
Vivian Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.