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Interview – Kevin Kwan – ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ – Author


Posted February 5, 2018 by

Interview – Kevin Kwan

Kevin Kwan’s outrageously hilarious debut novel Crazy Rich Asians put him on the international map. And soon, we will have the pleasure of seeing Kwan’s book come to life on the silver screen. The film is well into production, with director Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2, Step Up 3D, Now You See Me 2) at the helm, Constance Wu in the lead as Rachel Wu and Michelle Yeoh starring as the Young matriarch.

The story follows Rachel Chu, a young woman who spends summer in Singapore at her boyfriend’s house, but little does Rachel know that her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, is from a ludicrously wealthy Singaporean family and considered one of the country’s most eligible bachelors. Rachel is completely out of her depth among the glitz and glamour of Nicholas’ life especially when she is introduced to his formidable mother, who has very set views on who deserves to have her son’s heart.

With its eccentric characters and delightful descriptions of the insanely rich, it was not a surprise that the book became a worldwide bestseller and spawned two equally successful sequels, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems.

We caught up with Kevin Kwan to discuss the book, the film and more before his appearance via video link at the upcoming Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai (1-10 March, 2018).


The Crazy Rich Asians film is set to be released in August this year. Tell us how you’re feeling about the prospect of seeing your book translated to the silver screen.

I’m really at a loss for words to describe how I feel. It’s beyond my wildest dreams, and every day I feel like I have to pinch myself. Last week, I had the privilege of watching the scoring of the film. It was incredible to sit in this enormous recording studio at Warner Brothers in Los Angeles, listening to composer Brian Tyler conduct a full orchestra comprised of the top musicians in the world, using millions of dollars’ worth of priceless instruments, to perform the exquisite soundtrack.

How much involvement have you had in the production of the film? And, will you get to cameo?

I have been very involved in the film from day one, especially in all the major creative decisions. I helped to select the screenwriters, the director, and also played a part in the casting and advising the production designer and costumers for the film. As for whether I make a cameo, you’ll just have to see the film to find out!

Interview – Kevin Kwan

Can we expect to see the sequels, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems, on the big screen in the next few years?

I certainly hope so, but it’s really all in the hands of the film-going public and the fans. If the film does well at the box office, everyone on the team – from our producers to our wonderful director Jon M. Chu to our amazing cast – is excited to make the sequels.

Which books and films inspired you the most while writing the trilogy?

I’m very much a cinephile, and I’m profoundly influenced by films when I write. So many movies I’ve seen over the years inspired me as I wrote the Crazy Rich Asians series. Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love, Wong Kar Wei’s In the Mood for Love, Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother, and Vittorio de Sica’s The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, are a few that come to mind.

There aren’t many role models for aspiring writers from Asian countries writing in English. What kind of pressure do you feel being one of the successful few?

Honestly, I don’t give that aspect much thought, because to feel like I have to be a role model to anyone would be creatively paralysing. The only pressure I’m under is trying to meet my writing deadlines!

Crazy Rich Asians kevin kwan

Has the success of Crazy Rich Asians and its sequels changed your life? How so?

It’s changed my life in wonderful and unexpected ways. I’m able to focus all my time now on creating work and telling my stories. I’ve also met and become friends with some other amazingly talented writers, artists, and filmmakers. The downside is that I have far less time to relax these days, and I feel like I have perpetual jet lag.

Kevin Kwan cast

What is next for you? Are you planning on expanding on the trilogy? Or do you want to move away from this plotline completely?

The Crazy Rich Asians trilogy is complete, and I have no plans to revisit it. My latest challenge is focused on telling a completely original story in an entirely new way – for a television audience. I’ve been developing and writing an hour-long scripted drama series for STX Entertainment.

Kevin Kwan will be will be speaking via video link at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 1-10. Tickets available here.


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Louis Skye
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