Filmmaker Jon M. Chu, motivated by his film Crazy Rich Asians, isn’t willing to let Hollywood whitewash the story about the Thai cave rescue mission. So he’s making his own movie.
Chu has teamed up again with Ivanhoe Pictures — the SK Global company working on Crazy Rich Asians — to develop a feature film, EW has learned. Ivanhoe has even begun the process of shopping the project around to studios for distribution.
“I refuse to let Hollywood #whitewashout the Thai Cave rescue story! No way. Not on our watch,” the director tweeted on Wednesday. “That won’t happen or we’ll give them hell. There’s a beautiful story [about] human beings saving other human beings. So anyone thinking [about] the story better approach it right & respectfully.”
While Chu clarified “[it’s] a bit early [to] truly discuss” the movie, he remarked, “the biggest lesson I learned [from] making #CrazyRichAsians is that we must tell our stories especially the important ones so history [doesn’t] get it wrong.This one is too important to] let others dictate who the real heroes are.”
On June 23, 12 boys from Thailand’s Wild Boars soccer team and their coach were trapped deep inside a cave after rising waters flooded the area. The highly publicized rescue mission took 18 days to complete and resulted in the death of a former Navy SEAL.
News of Chu’s film on the subject comes after Discovery Channel set a documentary about the rescue to air this Friday, and producer Michael Scott from the faith-based Pure Flix Films already began preliminary work on an “inspirational” scripted film.
Chu has directed Now Me See Me 2, Jem and the Holograms, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and is set to direct a movie adaptation of the musical In the Heights. But Crazy Rich Asians is significant in that it represents something rarely seen these days in Hollywood — a predominantly Asian cast. Kevin Kwan, the author of the source material, even told EW how some studios “wanted to change the heroine into a white girl.”
“We have the power to not only MAKE history but be the historians that RECORD it too,” Chu continued tweeting. “So that it’s told correctly and respectfully. Couldn’t just sit here watching how others would “interpret” this important story.”
Responding to user comments, he added, “Those days of letting [whitewashing] happen are over. Never again. We have arrived. And we aren’t playing.”
Variety was the first to report the news.