The crazy rich talent of Jon Chu
The ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ director talks about Spielberg, Hollywood diversity and the making of ‘In the Heights’
Jon Chu’s path to Hollywood eminence began with his biggest failure. Jem and the Holograms, a musical that Chu directed, grossed just $2m (R27m) in 2015 and posted one of the 10 worst opening weekends in Hollywood history.
“I remember sitting there feeling very empty,” says Chu, 41. “I cleared my slate and started to look for whatever those next projects were going to be. I told my agents and managers: ‘I’m not going to make money for you for the next five years, so buckle up.’”
His time in purgatory didn’t last long. In 2016, Chu agreed to make two movies, Crazy Rich Asians and In the Heights. Crazy Rich Asians, released in 2018, grossed more than $238m (R3,2bn) and turned into a global phenomenon. Chu credits the success, in part, to the months of marketing that typically accompany a release in theatres. The many magazine covers, billboards and talk-show appearances helped to turn the cast members into stars. ..