Former Disney star Brenda Song said in an interview released Wednesday that she wasn't given the opportunity to audition for "Crazy Rich Asians" because her "image was basically not Asian enough." But the blockbuster's director swiftly denied the claim on Twitter — and said he "feels horrible" she believes "this is the reason."
"A lot of people don't know this, but I never got to read for 'Crazy Rich Asians,' ever," she told Teen Vogue. The star explained that she asked her managers if she could audition for a part in the 2018 film or get a meeting with those involved, according to the outlet — but the actress said her team was told by the film that she wasn't right for a role in the project.
"Their reasoning behind that, what they said was that my image was basically not Asian enough, in not so many words. It broke my heart," she said. "I said, 'This character is in her late to mid-20s, an Asian American, and I can't even audition for it? I've auditioned for Caucasian roles my entire career, but this specific role, you're not going to let me do it?"
Jon M. Chu, the romantic comedy's director, refuted Song's claim on Twitter in replies to several tweets about the story.
"??Nope. I love @BrendaSong and that sucks if anything of that nature was ever communicated. It's gross actually," he tweeted Wednesday night. "The fact is, obviously I know who she is and didn't need her to audition. I'm a fan of hers! Nothing more nothing less. Bums me out she thought it was anything but."
He also added in another tweet that the words would never come out of his mouth and reiterated that he feels "horrible" that she "thinks this is the reason."
He also appeared to allude to the allegation in a tweet about the movie's casting process.
"One of my favorite memories of making #CrazyRichAsians was when we opened the auditions to anyone in the world with our open call," he tweeted. "We watched hundreds &hundreds of videos from very talented people from all around the world. Made us tear up many times."
Song has yet to respond to Chu's comment, Entertainment Tonight reports.
Constance Wu and Henry Golding, alongside a supporting cast including Awkwafina, Ken Jeong and Harry Shum Jr.
"Crazy Rich Asians" was thesince 1993's "The Joy Luck Club" to feature an Asian-American ensemble, and it has been celebrated as a turning point for Asian-American representation in Hollywood. The hit became the most in nine years since 2009's "The Proposal."
Ais in the works. It will be based on the second installment of the "Crazy Rich Asians" trilogy, "China Rich Girlfriend."