Adele Lim, who co-wrote the screenplay for the box office hit Crazy Rich Asians, is no longer involved with the upcoming sequel, EW has confirmed.
After the commercial success of the original movie, which grossed $238 million worldwide last summer, Warner Bros. began developing a follow-up that would continue the story of a Chinese-American economics professor (played by Constance Wu) who visits her boyfriend’s (Henry Golding) family in Singapore and finds out they’re outrageously wealthy. While Lim was on board to pen the upcoming project alongside Peter Chiarelli (with whom she co-wrote the first movie, based on the novel by Kevin Kwan), she chose to exit the project after reportedly being offered significantly less money than her white male co-scribe.
“Being evaluated that way can’t help but make you feel that is how they view my contributions,” Lim told The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported the news. After her departure and five months of searching for another writer of Asian descent (Lim is a Malaysian native of Chinese descent), the production company Color Force came back to Lim in February with a higher offer closer Chiarelli’s, who had offered to split his fee with her. Lim turned this down.
“Pete has been nothing but incredibly gracious, but what I make shouldn’t be dependent on the generosity of the white-guy writer,” Lim told THR. “If I couldn’t get pay equity after CRA, I can’t imagine what it would be like for anyone else, given that the standard for how much you’re worth is having established quotes from previous movies, which women of color would never have been [hired for]. There’s no realistic way to achieve true equity that way.”
Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu is on board to helm the sequel, and presumably a third film to make it a trilogy. (Kwan wrote two sequel books, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems.) Lim is currently working on the Disney animated movie Raya and the Last Dragon, starring CRA cast member Awkwafina.
Representatives for Warner Bros. and Color Force did not immediately respond to request for comment.