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A very Asian tale “Crazy Rich Asians” opens

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A very Asian tale “Crazy Rich Asians” opens | The Thaiger

“The last high-profile Hollywood film with an all-Asian cast was The Joy Luck Club released in 1993.”

By The Star, Asia News Network, Kuala Lumpur

It was a sweltering night in Singapore and the production of Crazy Rich Asians was in the last leg of filming. Director Jon M. Chu was sweating buckets and it’s not entirely because of the humid weather.

Chu, who has worked on big budget Hollywood sequels like G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Now You See Me 2, said Crazy Rich Asians presented a whole new set of challenges for him.

Check out the Hollywood premiere of Crazy Rich Asians.

“Sometimes dressing people up for a wedding takes a lot more effort than filming ninjas on a mountain,” Chu shared briefly on the set of Crazy Rich Asians, before rushing back to finish another scene.

Members of the media were observing the filming of an emotionally-charged moment featuring Rachel (Constance Wu, TV’s Fresh Off The Boat) screaming into the night. In the scene with her were Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh and veteran actress Lisa Lu.

Some context: The ladies were all dressed to the nines for a high society wedding. At a later interview, Wu did not want to talk about how she prepared for that screaming scene.

“It’s just actor stuff. If I have to tell you, it would be like I’m telling you how to fix a car, it’s just boring,” 36 year old Wu said with a laugh. Mind you, she had to do that scene over and over again just to get it right.

The truth is, there is nothing boring about what her character Rachel goes through in Crazy Rich Asians.

A very Asian tale

For the love of money

Rachel is an Asian-American economics professor living in New York with her charming boyfriend Nicholas Young (Henry Golding). One day, Nicholas invites her back to his country, Singapore, to attend his best friend’s wedding.

It is only then that she finds out that her boyfriend is from a wealthy and well-connected family. Just how wealthy is this guy? Think crazy rich.

Based on the book by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians is said to be inspired by real families and wealthy personalities in Asia. Kwan goes into specific details on what the rich do when they have too much money. From buying a hotel just to get rid of a snobby manager to hiring the Vienna Boys’ Choir for a wedding, nothing is off-limits for the ultra-wealthy characters in the book.

However, Kwan won’t divulge who these actual crazy rich Asians are.

“Nicholas is from this old money family. Wealth is passed through generations. He is very acutely aware that he is the heir to the riches that his family holds,” Golding, 31, said about his character.

It’s one thing to be rich but to be dating someone who is not from the same exclusive social circle? Oh, the madness.

A very Asian tale

Financial security

56 year old Yeoh steps in as Eleanor, Nicholas’ mother and respected (think feared) matriach of the Young family. Eleanor makes it clear that she does not approve of Rachel. To be fair, she’s just like most mothers with an only child who is set to inherit the family fortunes; tiger mum becomes (over)protective.

So, Eleanor hatches a plan to sabotage the relationship between Rachel and Nicholas.

“Eleanor would do anything for her son. She would die for him. And the thing is, she’s not afraid to tell him all that,” Yeoh laughed while explaining her character’s motivation.

But that’s not the craziest thing about Crazy Rich Asians. The fact that Hollywood is making a contemporary romantic comedy featuring Asians in leading roles is something unheard of.

Wu noted: “We’ve never had a studio movie with an all-Asian cast that was not a period piece.”

A very Asian tale

Rich in diversity

The last high-profile Hollywood film with an all-Asian cast was The Joy Luck Club released in 1993. Wu lamented that Asians don’t often get to be seen in a Hollywood film with a modern setting.

“Like, why don’t we see Asians using cellphones? It’s a way to include Asians in the current conversation by showing them in a contemporary context. We are here. Our stories matter and that to me is really groundbreaking,” she said.

Other Hollywood cast members in Crazy Rich Asians include Ken Jeong (The Hangover), Awkwafina (Ocean’s 8), Gemma Chan (Transformers: The Last Knight) and Sonoya Mizuno (La La Land).

From this region, expect to see the likes of Ronny Chieng, Pierre Png, Carmen Soo, Tan Keng Hua and Fiona Xie on screen. Hollywood newbie Golding described filming for Crazy Rich Asians as “insane” (his pun, not ours). Producer Nina Jacobson said they were looking for someone like Cary Grant to play Nicholas.

“There’s a sense of class and elegance to Nicholas. At the same time, he’s also down to earth. It was hard to find all those things.”

“Henry did amazingly well on his screen test and he had all those qualities that we were looking for,” Jacobson explained why the studio went with a newcomer.

While Golding has made Malaysia proud, his casting also stirred some controversy. There were those who noted how Golding was not “Asian enough” for the role seeing that he is part European.

Instead of dwelling on the backlash, Golding said he is proud to represent a part of South-East Asia that is mostly unknown to his Western counterparts.

“We have such a melting pot of identities in South-East Asia and that is something to be proud of. It’s really important that we make this film. We’re breaking boundaries and that is the most important takeaway,” he said.

Value for money

Despite its very specific setting, Jacobson believes Crazy Rich Asians has stories that will resonate globally.

“We have a great universal story for anyone who has been rejected by their in-laws or people who have their foot in two different cultures,” she said.

She also identified with Rachel as someone who is fascinated by a strange yet familiar new world.

“When I first read the book, I couldn’t put it down. The expectations on Nick from his family was relatable. The story felt fresh and new. It took me to somewhere that I wanted to go,” Jacobson said.

Will Nicholas’ love for Rachel triumph over his family money?

Yeoh said you can’t live on love alone: “When you’re in love, you say you don’t need money or you don’t need anything (else). When love cools down and reality sets in, then what? Love is not bread and butter. You have to be sensible.”

Yeoh saw Crazy Rich Asians as more than just a story about unimaginable wealth.

“It’s also about the responsibilities of a family. Many people depend on them (Nicholas’ family) for their livelihood. It’s not just about them getting rich, it’s also about the community.

“It’s good to have money but it’s what you do with it that really counts,” she concluded.

And that token of wisdom is priceless.

STORY: The Nation



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K-Pop dominating YouTube records – BTS and Blackpink

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K-Pop dominating YouTube records – BTS and Blackpink | The Thaiger
BTS, Blackpink, YouTube, Boy With Luv

Last week’s Blackpink single-day YouTube viewing record has been beaten by fellow K-Pop supremos BTS notching up 78 million views for their “Boy With Luv” music video within its first 24 hours of hitting the video site. (Three days later it’s on 129 million with 7.8 million ‘likes’ and still going…)

K-pop rival Blackpink managed 56.7 million for “Kill This Love” just beating out Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” with 55.4 million. Just behind was another BTS song “Idol” which had 45.9 million views in its first 24 hours on YouTube.

The new record of 78 million clicks in just one day will be a high bar to jump over as musicians around the world ponder the K-Pop phenomenon and, in particular, the global popularity of BTS – who sing mostly in Korean.

The new BTS video also racked up 2 million comments over that initial 24 hours period.

The Korean septet of RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope Jimin, V and Jungkook performed live on Saturday Night Live to broad acclaim, including all their sharp dance moves whilst singing totally live with a live band backing them (along with a few mic problems) – a rarity in modern music performance.

The new Boy With Luv music video, a collaboration with Halsey, is an ode to the golden era of cinema with references to the movie ‘Singing in the Rain’.

K-Pop dominating YouTube records - BTS and Blackpink | News by The Thaiger

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BTS smashes YouTube records with ‘Boy With Luv’ music video

The Thaiger

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BTS smashes YouTube records with ‘Boy With Luv’ music video | The Thaiger
BTS, Halsey, Boy With Luv, YouTube, record

A YouTube record has been surpassed. No… SMASHED.

Korean pop kings BTS’ video for their 2018 “Fake Love” received 35.9 million views in its first 24 hours, making it the biggest 24 hour debut of 2018 and the third biggest 24 hour debut of all time.

But that’s nothing compared to the impact of the new BTS release, a collaboration with American singer Halsey. “Boy with Luv” has amassed nearly 60 million views in its first 12 hours on its way to ??? by the end of the first 24 hours. Over 100 million?

And the song is mostly in Korean language, not English, so the worldwide popularity of the video has record industry executives choking on their double lattes this morning.

The video clip is a lush, highly stylised retro world of American diners and cinema frontages, paying homage to 50s Hollywood musicals. In their first major comeback for 2019 the South Korean septet have stuck to their formula of vibrant international pop with every member taking the spotlight at some stage during the video.

BTS smashes YouTube records with 'Boy With Luv' music video | News by The Thaiger

BTS now occupies 3 slots on the top 10 all time 24 hour debut list, with their 2017 video for “DNA” in the top ten as well with 22.3 million views (it’s now at 695 million).

The “Boys With Luv” video exploded on YouTube immediately after its release, receiving over 4.8 million views in its first hour.

BTS also hold the second and third slot for the most “likes” in a single day, with their videos ‘DNA’ (#2 with 2.3 million) and ‘MicDrop, Steve Aoki Remix’ (#3 with 2.3 million).

Although the song is officially titled as a collaboration with Halsey, YouTubers are wondering where she is most of the video by her vocals can be heard throughout the choruses. She has also been credited as one of the writing team (along with Hitman Bang, RM and Jungkook) in the credits under her real name ‘Ashley Frangipane

“Boy With Luv” is the first single in the long-awaited new album from BTS “Map of the Soul – Persona”.

BTS smashes YouTube records with 'Boy With Luv' music video | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand swelters under the Songkran sun

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Thailand swelters under the Songkran sun | The Thaiger

Temperatures are soaring around the country, right on time, as the Songkran holiday kicks in. People are heading home for the annual Thai New Year break whilst the tourists are flooding into the main hot spots for the water fights.

The annual celebration is meant to provide a ritual washing of Buddha images, ‘gentle’ splashing of family and friends and an ushering in of the country’s wet season. But in recent decades the ‘gentle’ splashing has ramped up and turned into massive water fights in many parts of the country. Tomorrow there will little chance of remaining dry if you venture outside.

Here are a few survival tips for Songkran HERE.

As the temperature rose to 42°C in Lampang and Tak, several other provinces cited 41-40°C yesterday morning, the Thai Meteorological Department warned residents in the north, northeast, centre and east of very hot weather with possible Songkran storms between April 13-17.

“People must beware of stormy weather and gusty wind and stay away from big trees and unsecured billboards, the agency said.

At 5am today the temperature was forecast for Loei and Kanchanaburi at 41°C while Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phetchabun, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon Ratchathani and Nakhon Sawan were set for 40°C.

Bangkok will reach 37°C whilst Phuket will be hot and humid with 33°C and a sweaty evening only getting down to 27°C. Chiang Mai will swelter in 40°C heat.

Songkran, for real, starts tomorrow although expect some early starters to get the water pistols out this afternoon and tonight in places like Khao San Road in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Bangla Road in Phuket.

Thailand swelters under the Songkran sun | News by The Thaiger

 

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